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.



  1. I didn't realize you were starting today!!!

    BSP and I want to descend upon you all invasive like when you don't want to go out, and bring you dinner and cocktails. We miss you (one thought) and we don't want you to go through this alone (another thought).

    email or call me when you're ready - or even when you're not. I/we'd love to chat.


  2. Thanks so much, this means a lot to me right now.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately depending how you look at it, if the offer on the house firms up, I have a move I have to do before December so that's going to keep me occupied... and I can do it very leisurely-like under the cloak of darkness ;-) Maybe I'll even get a cloak and walk around very Lur from Omicron Persei 8 - like.

    Maybe we could get that mutual friend of ours to host a dinner! lol


  3. Thank you so much for your brave, detailed diary and photos of your treatment and its effects. Your tips on care during treatment are excellent.

    I'm starting my treatment today. I was scared when my dermatologist described and prescribed this medication yesterday. Now, I'm really frightened. But you're right. It's best to deal with the facts and go with the best course of action even though there are significant drawbacks. What's the alternative?

    I hope that your skin has continued to improve without any recurrence of AKs or pre-cancers.

    1. Thanks for your comment and I see you're probably just under 2 weeks into it. I hope it's going as well as can be expected. Just know you WILL get through it.
      Once done, you'll have followup visits and likely have to go for spot treatments again for the rest of your life. I've asked whether full treatment is necessary again but my dermo says "not yet". The thought doesn't scare me as much as it used to.
      Hang in there and if you have any questions, please ask! I'll try to be better in checking my email ;-)