Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 9

Happy Halloween!

Things are progressing well now, as is the pain.
I find its at it's worst in the morning as you start moving your face/forehead muscles. It's like having ground glass rubbed into an open wound. I'd gladly advocate having Botox done before doing Efudex... but I admit that having this stuff on my forehead means I don't move it around as much.

As the day goes on, it gets better painwise, and I find that some of the redness tames down a bit.

I'm SO glad I started doing this in the fall and not at the beginning of summer. Even sitting in sunlight through the car window is very painful.

I started putting the Efudex on the rest of my face and ears two days ago, and I'm off to the Drs. tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 6

Things are starting to happen now.
For a while there, I thought maybe I got a bad batch of Efudex.
Not too much burning/pain but I can feel and see something happening.
I was nauseous yesterday and today. I'm not sure if it was something going around, or from the cream/ointment I'm putting on twice a day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 4 and 5

Now that I have a couple of official followers (welcome/いらしゃいませ!)I guess I'll have to be better at keeping up.

Day 4 - yesterday

About the same - the spots on the side of my head are getting more prominent but the worst pain was from where I knicked my scalp shaving. ;-) Others have said that once they get into this, they have to stop shaving.

Day 5 - Thursday October 27th - Only 25 days to go!

The mottling on my temples is getting redder, and a few spots have cropped up right where I expected. The areas around the spots that were previously burnt off are clear so far, so I guess all the nasty stuff was killed off in those areas. Pretty amazing when you look at it and think that this is all sun damage. The AK spots (actinic keratosis or "solar" keratosis) spots on the top of my head aren't as rough/scaly as they were before.

I tried taking some photos this am but no luck... I had to get to work. Perhaps I'll work on it tonight or tomorrow. Other than that, just the occasional itch and a dull headache. Others have talked about a burning sensation (like sunburn) but I haven't experienced that yet. I'm not feeling great today and am quite nauseous. I can't be sure if its from the cream or perhaps the flu bug that seems to be going around. Time will tell.

Two more days until I start doing my entire face - for 3 weeks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 2 and 3

First off, yesterday....Day 2 was a non-event. Thus, the reason for no post.

No apparent reaction other than a few itchy spots.
You never realize how much you touch your face until you have a chemical on it that you want to avoid getting on your hands and then transferring it to other surfaces, eyes, mouth.

Even today, Day 3 has been good. I was out digging some plants out of the garden (yes...wearing a hat!) but have noticed my skin is a bit dry. I just put on the evening application and can't be 100% sure... but it looks like I'm getting a reaction on my temples... particularly the right side. Kind of a reddish mottling beneath the surface.

We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 1

With apologies to Hello Kitty...

All the procrastinating is done. Bargaining finished. The calendar more or less cleared.

This morning, I did my first application of Efudex. Only 29 days to go!

I was awake at 4:30 am. No, I didn't do it then. Like anyone wanting to avoid the inevitable, I waited until the last minute. But I did find time to go over the literature again. Hey, I couldn't sleep anyway!

- treated area may become unsightly during treatment and in some cases for several weeks after treatment
(Yes, any of us that have seen the photos of others online can see this)

Side Effects
- skin irritation, burning, redness, dryness, pain, swelling, tenderness, or changes in skin color,
- eye irritation, trouble sleeping (as if hearing you have any kind of cancer is ever a
real ZZZ-inducer!)
- irritability (from the lack of sleep no doubt),
- temporary hair loss (meh... it could be permanent for all I care),
- abnormal taste in the mouth

For those out there that have to go through this, I know you're scared. Heck I'M SCARED. However, doing something about it is better than not doing anything and things getting worse.

I would have killed to be able to put a moisturizer on today (dry indoor air) but thats a no-no.

So I put on my gloves and spread the Efudex on. Its consistency is a little odd and its hard to get it to spread evenly. Practice will make perfect I guess. The good thing is that it doesn't appear to be greasy and doesn't appear to have any scent, pleasant or otherwise.

I think it's important to realize that everyone is different and will get a different reaction based on how much cancer/pre-cancer/AK you have on your skin.

This is part of the reason I'll be posting photos. Perhaps not everyday though. No touchups. No Photoshop blur tool, no vaseline on the lens.

The other reason is that if it can motivate anyone into wearing sunscreen to avoid having to go through this, then maybe all the angst and, according to the warnings on the label... pain, will have been worth it.

I suspect that the top of my head is going to be the worst, but I already know that it is the part that needs treatment the most.

Friends have said they don't see anything. I do. I can feel it. It feels kind of dry skin, which is what I thought it was. This is what makes skin cancer so insidious. You either can't see it, or think its something else.


Sunday, October 9, 2011


I start my treatment in 13 days. Frankly, I'm dreading it, but I've been so busy with other things that I've managed to file it away and not think about it too much. Perhaps I've even been a little cavalier about it.

Until tonight.

A friend of my brothers went to the Doctor less than a year ago for a mole that "looked funny". In the 10 months since, he's had surgery, intravenous chemotherapy at least once, been diagnosed with melanoma and was told to get his affairs in order - quickly. The latest chemo treatment he's on may give him an additional month, but he now has mets in 4 major organs and without current treatment - has a few weeks at best. Under 45 with two kids, a wife, and a 2 week life expectancy. About the same time I have before I start my treatment - very short.

Suddenly, walking around looking like I've had a run in with severe poison ivy, a bad sunburn, combined with some blistering/pain/itching, other chemo side affects doesn't sound so bad. Worrying what reactions other people will have towards my appearance seems silly.

Nothing like mortality to put things in perspective.

And here I was, thinking I'd get a good nights sleep tonight!!

So this Thanksgiving, I think I'm most thankful that:
- so far, I appear to be on top of things
- I didn't allow vanity get in the way and procrastinate further on this

If you haven't done so in a while, check your body, or if you have "40's eyesight" have someone check it for you... especially your back or other parts you may not have seen in a while. Take note of anything unusual, especially moles or other raised areas that are new, irregularly shaped, feel scaly, bleed easily or are "funny colored" - and get them checked by a Doctor.