Saturday, October 6, 2012

Shaving while using Efudex


Several men have written and asked about shaving while undergoing treatment. 

I usually shave in the shower anyway as I find I get the closest shave that way and I use nothing less than a triple-headed disposable razor. 

I continued this during treatment and didn't have many issues other than my chin area as it was VERY sore. I found that the razor helped with exfoliation of dead skin cells. You may have to play around with different shave creams/gels as some of them can sting. Foam seemed to be less irritating than gels for me.

Not shaving was not an option, as I needed to get to the skin surface with the Efudex for it to work.

Forget about steamy, hot showers. At times, any water against your skin may hurt like crazy.

I found that Dove Body Moisture Wash (Body Shampoo) was mild enough and thick enough to use for shaving in the shower. 

Noxema, which I use occasionally - stung like crazy. I couldn't use it.

It may take a while, but it's possible, and if you're like me, feeling better about how you look really affects how you feel overall. 

The important factor with shaving is to TAKE YOUR TIME. Small strokes, lots of rinsing. 

This also has the plus factor of reducing the amount of peeling you do during the day, as you may be shaving off chunks of dried, but now waterlogged, dead skin.

You may reach a point during your treatment where you step out of the shower and be shocked at the visage staring you back in the mirror. Thick, grey, waterlogged, dead skin.

This is mentioned elsewhere here, but I would use the time in the shower to GENTLY pat and rub as much excess skin off as I could. I hate to use the word "rub" but using your fingertips in small, gentle, circular motions. Trust me, it'll hurt if you're being too aggressive!

If there was ANY resistance to the skin coming off, I let it be. You don't want to remove skin that isn't really ready to come off with a little bit of help. One day of overdoing it and you'll know what I mean.

The thickness of the skin that would come off was disturbing but exfoliating in the shower made me look better and gave the cream a new surface to work on, rather than sitting on top of already dead skin.

Alternatively, if you have an electric razor, you could go that route, but I'd definitely give the "pre-shave" lotion a miss. 

Be aware of this...
This will probably occur whether you're shaving or not, but -
You will probably notice that within a few minutes after getting out of the shower that your skin will become very tight, dry and painful. As I got further along in treatment, I couldn't wait to get something on my skin, even if it was I'd do the Efudex, which would "loosen" things up. I'd then wait 2 hours (or more if I could) and then lightly coat things with Aquaphor, which helped immensely.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First time here?

You may find it easier reading about the treatment in chronological order from the beginning. There's a link to the right called "Treatment Journal from the Beginning".
(For some reason, I can't get Blogger to list entries in any order other than latest being first)


Follow-up - 3 months after treatment finished

I went for my follow-up appointment with the dermatologist yesterday.

Every time I see him (his clinic is at a hospital) he's with an intern or Doctor in training as I see the other person first and rehash history AGAIN (which is all written in the file in front of them) and then He comes in. It's always been a different Intern/student.

I told the intern to please listen to something I had to say... and to remember it:

"If you ever have to prescribe this stuff to a patient, please, I beg you... listen to their concerns and prescribe them something for pain in case they need it, as well as something to help them sleep, I feel like I was left out there hanging and ended up taking drugs that weren't specifically prescribed to me for this condition".

"Like Tylenol 3?" He asked.

"No - like oxies left over from a back injury". He seemed surprised.

I showed him a photo taken during treatment and all he could say was "wow".

"Now you know why I was taking oxies".

So then the Dr. came in and said that I'd hit a "home run", that he couldn't see any spots that needed further attention at the moment, and to come back in 4 months.

The red patches that deepen every morning when I put sunscreen on my face will apparently fade over time. He didn't give a timeframe.... it's been 3.5 months now but I've discovered a tinted moisturizer with SPF20 in it that helps blend everything together on days when I don't want to look quite as patchy.

If you've been following from the beginning, you probably know I'm not particularly pleased with this Dr, so I have an appointment with another one in May, where I'm hoping I'm not just someone in and out of the office like a revolving door. Where you can ask questions without being given the impression that you are taking up their time, which is of course, MUCH more valuable than your time. Or if you're going through treatment you can actually speak to a human over the phone.

I've got 4 months before I see my guy again. Perhaps I'll write a letter and just give it to him and ask him to read it. That way I can make sure that he knows exactly how he could improve his practice. It's not like he's going to be less busy than he is already.