Monday, August 15, 2016

Me and Mean Mr. C

If you don't want to read this, I totally understand...

Last October I posted an article relating to the fact that both my parents died of cancer during the 64th year of their lives. Now that I was in my own 64th year, I was more than a bit concerned. If you didn't see it, and want to see it now, here is a link. 

I scheduled an examination by just about every specialist I could think of. I'm very happy I did that, because I immediately found out I had aggressive prostate cancer, a pre-cancerous polyp in my colon, and ten pre-cancerous spots on my skin. The spots on my skin were frozen off, the polyp was removed, and my prostate was removed. Here is a link (if you haven't already seen it) to the post relating to the prostate procedure.

At this point I'm feeling good! Everything has been taken care of, and I'm out of the woods (relative to my 64th year).  At least that is what I thought at the time.

I recently went to a one year follow-up appointment with my dermatologist. I figured he'd give me a look over and that would be that. Nope! I hit the skin cancer trifecta.
  1. Melanoma
  2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  3. Basal Cell Carcinoma
Melanoma - A mole on my back that had gone from "keeping an eye on it" to a moderately aggressive (as per a biopsy) early stage Melanoma in less than a year. It was dealt with first, because if ignored, it will eventually kill you. The procedure was done under local anesthesia. A pretty good chunk (15 stitches to close the incision) was taken out of my back and sent out for pathology. The results indicated that the margins were clear, and that was that. Two weeks later we dealt with number 2.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma - This was on the right side of my neck (photo below). There was nothing on the surface that would indicate anything. I asked him to look at it because the area got kind of red when I shaved, or scratched there. The biopsy he took came back positive for cancer. Squamous Cell is sometimes referred to as "head and neck" cancer. This is the one I was most worried about, because it doesn't have to travel far to get into the neck muscles and/or the lymphatic system.  This surgery was also done under local anesthesia. The procedure is called Mohs Surgery. They take out chunk of tissue around the biopsy spot, and then do "on the spot" pathology. If the margins come back clear, you're done and they close the incision. If it's not clear (meaning that it has spread) they take out more tissue in the direction the cancer cells were headed. The tech then does pathology on the margins of that piece. Once again, if the margins are clear, you're done. If not, more tissue has to come out. He had to do it four times before the margins were clear. He called it "chasing the cancer." The REALLY good thing is that it had spread quite a bit, but traveled down my neck, instead of deeper INTO it. It took a bit over 2 1/2 hours from start to finish. Lot's of stitches to close it up. Nine days later we dealt with number 3.

Basal Cell Carcinoma - This was on the left side of my neck. The surgery went pretty much the same as with the Squamous Cell cancer surgery. It only took two tries to get it all though. After the margins came back positive from the first try, I asked if he would just go ahead and take out a much bigger chunk out and hope for the best. He agreed, and it came back clean. He closed it up (also with a lot of stitches) and hopefully, I'm done with cancer. 


 Basal Cell before. The red spot is from the biopsy. There was no other indication at all.


 Basal Cell after. 
The stitches come out tomorrow. Geez, when did I become an old man?


Squamous Cell after

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  1. Capillary Thyroid Carcinoma
  2. Prostate Adeno Carcinoma
  3. Basal Cell Carcinoma
  4. Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  5. Malignant Melanoma
  6. Pre-Cancerous Polyp in colon
  7. 10 Pre-Cancerous spots on my skin
        All in five years, and four of them in the last 10 months.
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I almost forgot to mention that the first thing I did was get a complete physical exam. Everything came out perfect. Contrary to the fact that I seem to get cancer, I'm really healthy. Vitals and blood test results were all fantastic. 

There is some good news.  I got a bit of a "neck lift" from the two surgeries!




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51 comments:

  1. Thank God it was all caught! Goodness, your body was under a full attack. Prayers that is all.

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  2. Oh wow, I hope you are done with it too. Sending prayers!

    Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

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  3. Thank you for sharing, it can help save lives. I am happy to hear you are well. Where else can I get such a good education on petroglyphs! It seems that once you hit 50, every 5 years or so, new problems crop up.

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  4. Pat....This is the most wonderful and informative post. It show your determination just to sit back because "everything looks fine." You are definitely your own advocate which we all need to be. I would have had the extra tissue removed, too. Whenever I find a lump it goes bye. The radiologist has become very rude and irritated with me because "I am questioning his ability to make a call...surgery not needed...but I did not care.I grew up in south Florida in bad can everyday. I have to be on top of it. My sister died of it. She was 12 years older than me and she died at 62. I am now 77 and went thru the "date thing" just as you did. Her daughter has had it twice. She is another case where the doctor said oh we do not need to take the breast...we need only to do a lumpectomy. She went along with him and sure enough it returned in a more serious way. This time she demanded the breast be taken. The good news is she has lived a good 20+ years but it's under the umbrella of Mr. C. I am so thankful that you are stable and healthy. I know you are left having to live under that cloud that Mr. C puts over you, but your positive attitude and your humor work in your favor. Please keep doing as you are doing. We want you well and a part of us. It was so good hearing from you. Take Care. Continue to be your own advocate. Keep your humor in tact. genie

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  5. Oh my goodness Patrick! I swung by here after being out of the loop and I see this!

    I am glad you are doing much better, and sorry you had to go through all of that in the first place.

    Thinking of you. Now get back to exploring!!!

    xoxox

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  6. About 15 years ago I had 3 black spots bubble up on my arm. They appeared almost overnight. I went to be doctor, who did a biopsy and a small cut, and they were melanoma. I had the deep cut, and apparently my own doctor cut it all out. I have to be VERY careful out in the sun (I'm blonde and freckled), and I've had a squalus come bubbling up next to that cut, but so far...knock on wood...I'm okay. I completely understand.

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  7. Bless your heart... I'm so sorry for what you are going through and have gone through. BUT--I am glad that you are doing everything you can do to get rid of the nasty "C"..... Hope you live a long and happy and healthy life..... Glad you are healthy otherwise... It truly is HELL to get old....

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  8. Good Lord, man. :( This is just horrible, but I'm so glad you're vigilant and got this stuff taken care of. That's a lot of cancer and cancer is a grade A DICK, so kudos to you for showing it who's really boss. You take care of yourself and keep on checking up on it. Sorry you've been through so much crap, but man, I'm in awe of your positivity and ability to kick its ass every time. Get better soon!

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  9. Hopefully that's the last of it. I've lost my mother, a brother, and a nephew to cancer.

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  10. Well, sheeit. ..You dodged the bullet three times there pal.. Good goin'. This getting older is weird, eh? I mean, sometime you feel like you can still hump up than mountain over there, other times, if you were me, you'd be wondering where your spouse gone decades was, and if you had to get your own been. .

    Glad it all did well, pal...
    remember, it's all gravy, every moment of it.

    Mike

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  11. We are sure glad you came through all that okay Pat, we were sending prayers your way as soon as we saw some info from Paula. Thanks for sharing the information. My Dad (Terry) had a battle with Mr. Basil 7 years ago and he is past due for his follow up. He will call tomorrow. Keep doing good, we all love you!

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  12. Dear, dear Pat,

    I believe strongly in our medicine. I know that the doctors will do for you a lot and beyond. I want to tell you that I am not OK also, every six months I am going to oncologist for mammogram and I think about this six months like the best time of my life. I learned how to live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest. Photography helps a lot.

    I am glad that you wrote this post. Just remember that our body has an incredible power to heal. I wish you get healed soon and go to explore and share your visions of fantastic places. I am with you with all my heart and soul.

    You are an amazing man and never ever give up on your dreams.

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  13. Alex J. Cavanaugh - Thanks Alex! I'm hoping the attacks are over...

    eileeninmd - Thanks Eileen! Have a great week.

    Wayne - I wish I could say it's my pleasure. Yep, it is no walk in the park, that is for sure. Thanks Wayne!

    genie - Thanks so much Genie! I had the same problem with my GI Dr. Last year I met with him to schedule a colonoscopy and he told me I didn't need one for 2 more years. I told him about my parents, and that my older brother had colon cancer, and I should an exam more ofton. The Dr. still was against it, saying that I should only have one every five years. I told him that it wasn't his call, how often I had them is up to me. Besides, my insurance would pay for it. I told him I'll get it somewhere else then. He had one of his staff verify it with my insurance. He then did the colonoscopy and found a pre-cancerous polyp. Afterwards, he told me I should come back in three years for another. Geez, that is what I told him!

    More Kato Noel - HEY There! Long time no see. It hasn't been a lot of fun, but I haven't let it slow me down much. Have too many places to see and things to find. Thanks so much. I hope you are doing well. I'll be over to see what you've been up to.

    trav4adventures - Scary stuff isn't it? We know someone who had it on the bottom of their foot! I'm also very fair. When I'm out and about, I'm always wearing sunscreen, long sleeves, and a hat. My doctor said that is great, but most skin cancer is caused by exposure that usually took place decades earlier.

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  14. Wow - it's a good thing you keep on top of these checkups. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

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  15. Betsy Adams - Thanks Betsy! Yep, growing old ain't no bed of roses.

    VEG - That's what I said! It is certainly a "grade A dick!" The only thing we really have control over is our attitude, so I chose to have a positive one. Too much to do and see out there, to have a bad attitude. Thanks for the supportive words my friend.

    William Kendall - I hope so also William. Thanks for saying that. I'm sorry to hear about your losses. The more I learn about cancer, and talk to doctors about it, the more clear it becomes, that we are a LONG WAYS from having a cure for it.

    Should Fish More - Yep! Getting old isn't for the faint of heart. You are so right Mike, it's all gravy...

    Brian - Thanks so much Brian! You make sure he makes that appointment. Thanks so much!

    Kaya - Thanks so much Kaya! You are so right about living in the moment. The moment is the only guaranteed time we have. Positive thoughts for your good health are heading your way at this very minute. Thanks again for the supportive and nice words.

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  16. Al - Thanks Al! Stitches out tomorrow and I'll be ready to go.

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  17. Shit, Pat, it really hit you all at once! I tend to believe that some of us were born to have bad luck! We were probably naughty people in our previous lives! I sure do hope you are well now, although I can imagine how your life is disturbed now and the peace is gone :( Let us hope this was the end of trouble for you and cancer should just kindly sod off!

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  18. How scary! Glad you are doing well!

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  19. Of course we want to read about it and thank you for sharing! I'm sorry that you've gone through this but so happy that you keep beating it. I thought my dad was the luckiest man alive after beating bowel and then bladder cancer but I think you're luckier! Here's to no more cancer!

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  20. That's a lot of "C" to put up with there. Glad you have such good medical care and that you stay on top of it and do your follow-ups. Roger has had squamous cell carcinoma and colon cancer, so we really do get the challenges these things present. Stay healthy there, Pat, and take care.

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  21. Glad you're clear and healthy!

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  22. DEZMOND - Yep, I could have used a little time in between these things. Not very considerate of Mr. C. I'm not going to let this stuff slow me down much. Thanks DEZ.

    Ms. A - I only let it get me down once, and only for about an hour. Luckily, I'm in good shape, and very good health overall. I shall stay the course!

    Mandy Southgate - Thanks so much Mandy. I appreciate it. I may have had more types of cancer, but I'd do it all over again, rather than have the cancers your dad did. Cheers to him!

    robin andrea - It sure is! Nice to hear that Roger has those things behind him. I will stay healthy and you two do the same.

    Lady Fi - Thanks so much! I am also glad!

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  23. Well - all one can say is that you really got them - and luckily you have had them removed with good result. Melanomas (when untreated) can as you know be extremely dangerous, but treated in time all can go well. If it can add to you hopes: My father had one removed in 1969 and lived until 2003 and died of something totally different.

    Especially congratulations with having everything else in order - that is no mean feat at our age (I'm 66).

    Take care!

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  24. visualnorway - Thanks so much Rune! When a friend found out that I have had 5 different cancers, he asked if I was trying to set a record. I plan on living for a long time. You also take care.

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  25. Thank goodness for good doctors and for getting there on time. You have years and years ahead of you to get out there and explore. Also thanks for the reminder that I have to call for my annual derm. appt. Bill visited his while we were in Florida -- he has had Moh's twice as well as that other major cancer you've had, I think I commented about that before .

    Hang in there -- I'm so glad they got it all.

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  26. Way to look on the bright side! An unintended lift. They say being positive can impact a person's health. I'm glad to hear you've had everything addressed and are feeling good. That's a lot of cancer. Just like you, I'm out and about in the sun at all times. I'm pretty toasty brown right now. But, I love it so. Sigh. In other news, I just watched The Big Lebowski again. My favorite scene is the bathtub/private residence. I always notice your icon!

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  27. If anyone would beat cancer, it would be you! Because you're an upbeat person:) Happy for you , you caught everything in time! Now, am gonna look at your post below!
    Oh, friendly reminder: SEASONS is resuming this Sunday - hope you see you there!

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  28. Oh, my! Be well, my friend.
    I go to my yearly physical in a few weeks which, among other tests, will include a check on my "Air Tight Integrity."
    Turn on your side, bring your knees to your test and relax, my behind!
    No pun intended.

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  29. I hope you are all on the mend and they got it all... This has been a long medical year with me. I am just returning to normal duty with my leg and now, next month, I have a prostrate biopsy scheduled.

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  30. Sallie (FullTime-Life) - Thanks Sallie! Yep, those annual appointments are very important. I'm hanging in, you do the same.

    Sharon Wagner - Yep! The power of positive thinking. Thanks Sharon. I watched the Big Lebowski a couple of months ago also.
    Love it! The dude abides...

    jeannettestgermain - Thanks for the nice words Jeannette! I'll be there!

    Al Penwasser - Thank Al! Make sure your doc includes PSA in your blood test. That's the only way to be sure. Hey, it was a good pun!

    Sage - I am on the mend! Glad your leg is getting better. Don't stress over the biopsy, more uncomfortable than painful.

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  31. Holy shit Patty, what a scare. Thank God they got it out. Very scary. Doesn't take much does it, sneaky shit.

    You're very lucky mate. But also great that you've been so proactive about your own body. Doctors should take more notice of their patients, as you've said so before. (A reminder again that I need those 'south' checkups.)

    So glad you're okay mate. Thinking of you and your family and hope you're feeling better. Despite that cloud, which must be a frightening reminder, it's pretty good to be alive...

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  32. My goodness, Pat. I'm just so grateful that you are a man of incredible strength. Your tenacity and body are as powerful as your heart. So glad you've successfully addressed all the C business and can get on with your love-filled life.

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  33. Pat-- I'm so sorry to hear this, but thank you so much for sharing with us your struggles. Sometimes when we're blogging we don't know what other blogger's struggles are. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself. I hope and pray for your complete recovery.

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  34. i am glad for your diligence! and i am grateful for good doctors and quick care. may you remain cancer free - and i know you'll be watching it...

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  35. Us men of a certain age need to keep a very keen eye on our health, which is not what we are good at doing!

    Keep an eye on my blog for some rock art.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Darwin, NT

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  36. Anthony J. Langford - Thanks so much Anthony! We must be proactive. I've now had 5 different types and there were no indications at all, that I had any of them.

    Rawknrobyn - Yeah! That's right! just kidding. Also very fortunate. Thanks Robyn!

    msmariah - Thanks so much! I am on my way!

    TexWisGirl - Me too! You are right about me watching it. Thanks so much!

    Stewart M - Thanks Stewart! You couldn't be more right about what you said. Can't wait to see your post on rock art.

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  37. Glad you made it through with flying colors, Pat! Guess it's about that time for a check-up myself. Not that I have a history, but I am fallin' apart.

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  38. Man, you've been through the ringer! I totally admire your positive outlook and sense of humor about the neck lift!! I go in next week for basal cell on my lower back. All those stitches I see in your photo has me a bit worried!!

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  39. Vid Digger - Me too! It's never too early! Thanks...

    Spare Parts and Pics - Thanks Pete! After the local, you won't feel any of it. Totally painless!

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  40. Pat, I am SO happy to hear that everything went well and that after your complete physical exam, everything came out PERFECT! What great news!

    I think it's awesome that in all that you've been through this year, you still remain positive and humorous.

    Wishing you the very, very best!

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  41. Ron - Thank so much Ron! The power of positive thinking... Wishing you the best as well...

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  42. I hear you and this is very helpful. I've dropped my HMO primary Doctor for the third time. Just trying to get one to recognize that a dermatologist should be on my referral list. I've spent a great deal of time outside in my life. Years as a kid with horses and later as a career with making art out of doors. It seems when your with an hmo, their only concern is by the book appointments. Not the reality that differing bodies have different needs.

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  43. Pasadena Adjacent - I hear you! It doesn't seem right that somebody else has to give you permission to see a specialist. I changed my plan several years ago, and now I can see any specialist I want. My monthly premiums are higher now, and I have a co-pay, but to me it's worth it.

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  44. Pat, I am so sorry about all of these misfortunes. On the other hand, it seems like your positive spirit has taken care of your body AND your mind throughout this process. I'm sure that you are inspiring many with your accounts, so thank you for having the courage to share so willingly of yourself. Take care and stay Pat! 🙂

    Nevine

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  45. Nevine - Hi Nevine! I really appreciate all the nice words.

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  46. Good gravy, that's crazy. How fortunate that trying to stay on top of all of these spots you notice and are able to take care of them promptly. Cancer really is such a horrific thing. I really hope you get at least 10 years of peace now. :)

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  47. Baby Sister - Oh yeah! Too much gravy! Ten years would be nice. Believe it or not, I'm really healthy (other than being cancer prone!)

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  48. Hi Pat

    For reasons I won't go into, I haven't checked out your blog for some time, but I remember seeing this post on my own dashboard and thinking "shit! I hope he's OK". I had a basal cell lesion removed from my forehead a few years ago, but all that sun exposure does catch up on you, and I've got quite a lot of actinic keratosis in the same area. Ah! The perils of growing old. I had assumed that you and I were the same age, but I turned 70 this summer. Jesus! I can now be described as "elderly"! It happens to us all.

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  49. Dennis Hodgson - Hi Dennis! Nice seeing your comment. I am doing okay for an old guy. My mom never said a thing to us about the sun. I wish she had. These days, when I'm out in the desert now, I dress like a Bedouin. I REALLY try to limit my exposure. It's not always easy though. I hope all is well with you.

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  50. This is a really important post. I'm truly glad the medics seem to be keeping on top of this - but also that you posted pictures. I would never have known this to be cancer - and now know a little more of what to look for. By being so careful with your 64th year, you may have saved more lives than your own. Best wishes - and hopes nothing more will emerge. You have needed to be brave in so many parts of your life - and in this latest segment too.

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  51. Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy - Thanks for the nice words. Life isn't always kind to us, but we make the best of it. I wish people really would get themselves checked out every year. Especially men, because most of them avoid the doctor like a plague. Thanks again...

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