GRAPHIC/TRIGGER/FYI WARNING: I will be sharing images of moles/freckles/basal cell carcinomas in this post so please don’t read on if you don’t want to see them.
In my previous post, I shared my experience of discovering that the insect bite I got 4 years ago was actually skin cancer.
I was told at that appointment that somebody would be in touch imminently to offer me an appointment to have the freckle on my arm removed and sent for biopsy, and a surgical incision and punch biopsy taken of the Basal Cell Carcinoma to figure out how they would treat it moving forwards. The options for that would be further surgery to remove it completely, or to be prescribed chemotherapy cream to treat it, and that was about all I knew.
There is a plethora of resources out there on the internet, and I am so grateful that there are. When I called my parents to tell them, my dad told me to stay off the internet and don’t research – it will just make me panic. But it actually did the opposite! I panicked by the doctor breaking the news in the way she did – telling me I had skin cancer BUT IT’S NOT LIFE THREATENING and asking if anybody was with me that day for support before giving me minimal information about what it all meant (I left with a stapled leaflet about Basal Cell Carcinomas and the knowledge that there’s a 99% likelihood I have skin cancer, but IT’S NOT LIFE THREATENING, that was it!!!)
After researching for the rest of that entire day on the internet, I discovered that what I have (or technically – suspected have as we did need that biopsy to confirm it after all) is not only super common, it is super treatable and basically a minor issue. An issue yes, but one to panic over, no. So the internet was VERY helpful in all of this; thank god for modern technology and for people taking the time to publish their experiences on forums.
I didn’t really have any idea what to expect having never had anything like this before. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to drive to and from the appointment as they would need to give a local anaesthetic to numb my arm, and obviously, I need my arm to drive, so James drove me. I went to the Dermatology department at Salford Royal for a 9am appointment on a Sunday morning. Naturally, it was a ghost town, I was the only one in there! I sat and waited for a few minutes before being called into a room, where 3 nurses greeted me and confirmed the procedure. Pretty impressed with the whole thing up to this point to be honest, very efficient (but alas – as you can probably expect – this was all very shortlived)!
I confirmed that I was there for a removal and biopsy of the freckle on my arm, and a punch biopsy to determine further treatment of the Basal Cell Carcinoma on my back.
Just a reminder of what both of those looked like in a small, subtle plug to get your body checked if anything doesn’t seem right (especially having now received the results which I’ll come onto in a future post!).
The procedure itself was honestly, so straightforward and simple.
The anasthetic hurt a bit – not so much in my arm but on my back – but it was nothing to write home about. I couldn’t feel anything other than some slight tugging, but being a bit squeamish I did ask to face away from any of the needles and operating equipment, and to be able to face away from them going in on my arm.
Both procedures took about 20 minutes tops, and aside from having to confirm my date of birth 50,000 times (there’s some weird legal thing where any time they are about to operate or touch something they’ve removed out of you they have to get you to confirm your identity – I don’t know, didn’t really understand it, but just kept confirming), everything was pretty straightforward. When it was done, I couldn’t really feel my entire left side for a good few hours (the Basal Cell Carcinoma is also on my left side so my entire top half of body and arm were numb) but other than that, no issues.
The rest of the day was fine, the anasthetic wore off after a few hours and I was just left with two small cloth coverings and instructions to have the stitches removed after 10 days. Pretty straightforward, and all good up to now!
Next up… the results (and the 500 week wait for them!)