Basal Cell Carcinoma and Mohs

September 26th, 2007

The call came in. The spot I wrote about last week is indeed cancerous.

This is what I know. I know that basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. I know that 97% of the time it’s totally treatable. I know that it has a tendency to spread, which means I might be looking at more of them and years of having to get them cut out. I know that basal cell carcinoma isn’t life-threatening. The worst that will happen is it will spread and eat away at my face. I know that I’m going to absolutely NEED health insurance for the rest of my life. I’m still SO pissed off at myself. I knew that my excessive sun exposure would come back to haunt me. I just didn’t think it’d happen this soon. I’m only 33-years old.

On November 6th, I am to have a procedure done called Mohs (named after the doctor who came up with it). It’s new. It’s a high precision, outpatient, surgical procedure designed to get everything in one sitting and to keep scarring at a minimum. Because it’s so detailed, procedures can take anywhere from 3 to 8 hours. The tests and labs are run while I’m there. I was told to bring a book. (Read about the procedure here.) Doctors who specialize in Mohs are specifically trained to do so. And since the spot is on my face, right above my upper lip where a mole might be, my regular doctor suggested we get a specialist. Thank goodness for decent insurance! Because Mohs is really expensive. If I didn’t have health insurance, I’d be left with no other choice but this guy:

It’s times like these (yes, they do happen!) I am grateful to be living in New York City because I found a really skilled doctor to take this on. It is my face, after all. I feel I am in excellent hands. If there’s one thing New York is known for its competitiveness and when each competition comes to an end, you’re left with only the best. (You’re also left with some hacks, but let’s not talk about that.)

So, kids, wear sunscreen. Emory will be dipped in it every day of his life until I am dead and gone.

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15 Comments »

15 Comments on “Basal Cell Carcinoma and Mohs”

  1. Melanie said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    I hope your doctor isn’t Dr. Z! But seriously, I hope everything goes well.

  2. LazyLightning said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    Oooo no! Wishing you the best.

  3. jenblossom said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    Hope this is quick, painless, and minimally invasive. :)

  4. Jonathan said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    But seriously, I hope your doctor isn’t Dr. Z

    There are a lot of nightmare stories about him floating around.

  5. mihow said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    NO, dudes, it’s not Mr. Z! Promise. This woman is the Mohs wizard. She’s Mrs. Mohs. Mohs Magnificent. Mohs Def.

  6. scbob said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    I’m back in on Monday to have the rest on mine removed as well. (GENES in play here) It was also diagnosed as basal cell. However, unlike New York, we don’t got much choices here in State College, Pennsultucky. So, I’m having mine removed in the local barber shop where I here they be good with the straight razor. Hey, maybe we can get a package deal on this MOHS thing.

  7. Jonathan said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    Phew! Glad its not Dr. Z

    My mom just had some skin cut off her for some sort of carcinoma. no stiches or anything. just iodine, a local anesthetic and a band aid.

    She’s way way way tougher than me.

  8. mihow said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    That NY bit reads snotty. I didn’t mean it that way. I always think that if a doctor can afford to work/live/practice here, he or she must be good. :] Sorry, folks. That’s not to say that there are awesome doctors everywhere. In fact, doctors who wise up and get out are probably the best. :] heh

  9. tobyjoe said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    “I always think that if a doctor can afford to work/live/practice here, he or she must be good…”

    …at manipulating the insurance industry, taking handouts from pharma, and cutting corners on operations (not the surgical kind – the business kind).

  10. nervous and small said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    yeeep!!

  11. mihow said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    I do believe Tobyjoe just bitch slapped me. ;]

  12. stfarmer said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    My ex-wife had a Basal Cell surgery. It was under her right eye (near her cheekbone). I went with her for the outpatient surgery. She was really upset after she left the office because of what it looked like immeadiately after the surgery. She wouldn’t even look in my direction.

    Now, you can’t even tell she ever had the surgery. Her dermatologist was also a plastic surgeon.

  13. mihow said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    stfarmer, once again you’ve made me feel a lot better. Thanks.

  14. Kent said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    Your going to be OK, it’s amazing how the doctors can repair facial areas that have been affected by basal cell cancer. I’ve had it appear on my nose 3 times, the last two times I had the MOHS procedure done also. This last time was more severe than before, the MOHS surgery took a large part of my nose off and the cosmetic surgery that followed the next day was intense. They took a large flap from my forehead and pulled it down to form a new nose. It sounds a lot worse than it really was.

    Not sure what your policy on url’s is but I have several pictures of the whole procedure, from surgery table to healing almost 10 months now. You can see these at
    http://www.basalcellmohs.com/mohs/gallery_index.html
    Just beware, these are raw. But my point here is that you are going to do just fine, look what they did to me, I think you’ll feel better.

  15. mihow said at 2:12 pm on September 26th, 2007:

    Kent, thank you for sharing your story. And, yes, you have made me feel a lot better about the procedure! You look fantastic! They did an amazing job. So glad to hear your healed so nicely. Brings me a great sigh of relief. Thank you again

    (P.S. URLS are always welcome. In the future if you want you can use Textile and make it clickable. Put quotes around the words you want linked and a colon right before the url. So, (“) insert text (“): http://

    Get rid of the parenthesis and spaces. (if this works, I’ll be amazed.


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