Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 20/21 - Still think a tan looks healthy?

I read today that WAY back 9 days ago I said that this whole thing hadn't been as bad as I expected.

What a difference a week or so makes.

Okay, I admit it.

It is now as bad as I thought it'd be. I don't know how some patients have gone 30 days or more of doing this.

Yesterday, I was again, ready to give up. These first two photos are from Day 19. Yes, that spot to the left of my nose down towards my mouth is as cranky as it looks.

I'll be honest, the pain itself isn't what is killing me... it's that it's constant. 24 hours a day. It really wears you down.

I don't know what is in this Aquaphor stuff, but it feels
like there's sand in it when I apply it. Yes, it brings some relief, but it just dulls it.

With a bad sunburn, it lasts maybe two days and then its done (or so you think!)

If you're using Efudex for the first time, make sure you give your lips a wide berth, unless you're told to apply it to them. Two nights ago, a chunk of skin fell out near the corner of my mouth. Wow, that was painful. I'm sure it was not 100% healthy skin but I could have done without it. Perhaps once this is all over, I'll revisit applying it closer to my mouth for a few weeks. One problem area at a time. Right now everything is sore. Especially the area around my nostrils (another area you should give a wide berth to!) You know that cracking you get with a cold and blowing your nose too much? Multiply that by about 10. But much like having my experience having my wisdom teeth removed, one spot hurts more than all the others, which can be distracting. In this case, it's my forehead.

Then there are the bloody spots that are now occasionally popping up on my forehead. Those, I'm used to. I can also feel that I'm in for another big peel in a few days. The tightness is incredible, and even biting into food is, if you pardon the expression, an eye opener because you get a shooting pain from the skin on your forehead stretching. So obviously, smiling for a photo is out.

I've noticed that my nose and eye area is swollen, which may or may not be the reason my vision feels a little wonky. I recall reading about someone else with this side effect.

Tomorrow is the 3 week point (of 4) for my forehead. Two weeks for the rest of my face. By the end of another week, I expect that my entire face will be red. Every day brings a spreading of the existing red, or spots popping up on my cheeks. Strangely, the area where my moustache would be hasn't got any. Strange because I only started wearing that once I hit my 30's, after most of the sun damage would have been done (I'm guessing, based on my scalp and it being relatively clear)

One thing that has been interesting is watching how others treat you differently when you look like this. Not that salespeople these days in Canada could ever be classified as friendly, but its even worse. Putting your change on the counter rather than putting it in your hand, being very terse and not very friendly, even when they have always been before (like at the local coffee shop). People that look like they're going to hold the door for you, look back and see you coming, and then run off so as not to have to have any interaction with you at all.


  1. Pretty privilege - you take it for granted until you don't have it anymore. I'm sorry the world is fundamentally unkind - it comes from fear and ignorance and isn't personal although of course, it feels like that, because it is of course, happening to you.

    I'm sorry you're in so much pain - please remember, let us help you, anyway we can.

  2. I am a 46 year old woman, and I too am on day 19 of 28 days; and yes people treat me like I have a plague. But, I figure it is a great experience for me since it is not permanent. It helps me realize how people with anomalies are treated. I am putting it on my face, neck, chest, arms, and hands. So, I guess I look a little like a real zombie. My daughter who is very supportive (she is turning 18 on Halloween) said it is kind of good timing with halloween coming up.

    1. Hang in there Donna! The last week or so is the worst, but the good thing is that once you finally finish, initial healing progresses fairly quickly.

      It's great that your daughter is being supportive and trying to instill some humor into the situation! (re Halloween). It really is an eye opening experience with regards to what Kit referred to above as "pretty privilege".