Happy Wednesday, Friends! I'll confess I've been a long time admirer of Hugh Jackman and not just because he's easy on the eyes. While he's obviously talented, I've been equally impressed with the way he conducts himself during interviews. I've seen him become emotional when referring to his father's dedication as a single parent and then light up when he describes his relationship with his wife. Refreshing, right? Imagine my surprise, when I recently learned that we have something in common...
This past week, HJ was all over social media but not for his latest movie. The actor posted several selfies with a bandaged nose after being treated for basal cell carcinoma. It was reported to have been his fifth skin cancer removal in three years. Interestingly, the week prior, I'd had my fourth basal cell surgery also within a three year period. While I'd considered sharing my experience before, there was something about HJ's humility in sharing his photos while urging fans to wear sunscreen and receive annual screenings from a dermatologist that inspired me.
First of all, let me assure you I am okay. While basal cell carcinoma is skin cancer and should not be treated lightly, it is the most common and has a cure rate of almost 100%. Early detection is key. I am very thankful that my recent excision was the smallest spot yet. Mine was also on the side of my nose and in fact, my bandage looked very similar to HJ's.
Does it hurt? With the biopsy required for diagnosis, my past Mohs surgery and recent excision, local anesthesia was used and the initial shots burned. The actual procedure didn't hurt but there was swelling and discomfort after and some pain involved until the stitches were removed.
At this writing, it has been exactly two weeks since the surgery and one, since the stitches were removed. The scar is still red, a little puffy and tender to the touch. In all honesty, I went back and forth about posting this photo. You can see how thrilled I am to share the selfie by my facial expression. However, my hope is the information and updates will be helpful for someone. While it will take some time for this scar to fade, the scar on my chin from surgery three years ago is only slightly visible.
Now for some facts:
We've all heard it before--if a spot develops or an existing one changes, have it checked. Just do it--sooner rather than later. I tend to research and am the world's worst at googling medical symptoms. Let me tell you, three years ago, when I had three different BCCs, each one looked different and not one of them looked like the pictures online. Get checked! Find a dermatologist you really like and visit yearly or more often if suggested. You should literally be checked from head to toe. My mother recently visited a dermatologist with an office sign stating that multiple visits would be required, if more than 3 spots needed to be checked. Considering the reason for the visit, that is just wrong--run, don't walk away from such nonsense! Wear sunscreen, even if the sun isn't shining and even if you are not fair skinned. If you garden, or exercise outdoors, wear a hat. Click the link for more information on preventing skin cancer.
I'll leave you on a lighter note--guess who has been known to join his wife at Zumba class?