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About That Surgery . . .

By Wyatt Earp | November 27, 2009

DSCN3304It started by fighting Philadelphia rush hour traffic at 6:30am. I had to be in the office by 7:30, so it was an early start. We arrived at the doctor’s office, opened the door, and saw a packed house. Apparently the doc performs many of these Mohs surgeries during a average day, and there were six or seven other patients in the room with us.

Strangely enough, the staff moved quickly. The doctor’s assistant took me into my room, put me on the chair and explained how they were going to cut me open like a Thanksgiving turkey. The doctor came in and made a few magic marker lines around the cancer and left the room. His assistant gave me the local, courtesy of three needles to the forehead, and we were off the the races.

When the doctor came back, he moved quickly. Since the cancer was so close to my eyes, I couldn’t see a lot, but I heard everything. That’s not as nice as you would think, especially when you can hear them cutting into your face with a scalpel and snipping off parts of my skin. There was a lot of blood, enough for the doc to ask if I had high blood pressure. When I said no, the assistant asked, “Are you stressed?”

Um, no, I just love having surgery for skin cancer. OF COURSE I’M STRESSED!

Once the piece of cancerous skin was removed, the assistant bandaged me up and took me back to the waiting room. I looked like I do above, and was startled that the bandages were so large. The techs had to scan the removed skin for cancer cells before they decided if they were going to sew me up or go back and cut some more.

I was lucky. All of the cancer was removed from the area, and they could start the plastic surgery. The doc said that he was going to borrow some skin for the plastic surgery. I wanted to say, “Feel free to take some of it from my stomach,” but self-control got the better of me. Then came the good news. For the plastic surgery, they have to make the original wound about three times larger than the original incision. My original cut was round, which does not heal well. The doc needed to make it “fish-shaped” for the skin to line up properly. So again, they sliced.

I’ve also got an uncovered pic of the wound below the fold in case you’re interested.


Yeah, that’ll be a kickass scar!

Once that was done, the doc had to cauterize the wound. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than smelling your own burning flesh. It was pretty nasty, but necessary to stop the bleeding. Once that was done, the doc stitched me up – an even dozen closed the wound – and bandaged me high and tight before sending me home.

As I said, the doc didn’t prescribe any painkillers, so Tylenol will have to do. The pain is noticeable, but not unbearable. At times it feels like there is a knife in my skull, but that feeling comes and goes. Guinness would help, but my paperwork says I can’t have any alcohol for two days. The wound has to be cleaned and dressed twice a day until the stitches come out – next Wednesday – and I cannot get the area wet. Showers are now an adventure, as I can’t get my head or face wet.

The good news is that the cancer is gone, and that trumps anything else I have to deal with. The doc’s name is Stephen Greenbaum, and he is absolutely awesome! Probably saved my life.

Topics: Cancer | 34 Comments »

34 Responses to “About That Surgery . . .”

  1. Wagonsux Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Get rid of the Tylenol and take a couple Advil, then you can drink Guinness till you puke.

    Best of luck to you.

  2. USAdmiral Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 7:43 am

    WOW. Bitching scar. I can see your street cred going way up. It is all easy now.

  3. AJ Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Shame that they couldn’t do anything about the rest of the face while they were doing the plastic surgery….

    You got lucky. My father was scheduled for prostate surgery, to get the radioactive pellets implanted. The pellets are made the day before, and must be shipped and implanted almost immediately. Schedule surgery date: 9/12/01. Needless to say, surgery was delayed several weeks.

    In the meantime, heal quickly, the blogging world needs you.

  4. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    There’s a scar?
    Oh yeah, I see it now.
    (Blue eyes distract me.)

    Glad you’re feeling better.

  5. Morgan Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Thank God the cancer is gone, Wyatt, and don’t worry, the stitches will be gone before you know it (that I know).

  6. MUD Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I would outline those stitches with a magic marker and never wear a hat. MUD

  7. RT Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    1. Cancer-free…most important part of the news.
    2. That is going to be a cool scar.

  8. John D Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Glad to hear you have that behind you. And it looks like you kicked the big C’s ass, which is great news. Chicks dig scars, so you may find yourself transformed into a babe magnet. Just tell ‘em you got it when you were captain of the fencing team at Heidelberg U.

  9. proof Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Heidelberg? Nah! I’d tell ‘em it was a broken bottle in a bar fight! …against three Hell’s Angels and a midget! If they ain’t buying you drinks after that story, nothing will!

    Glad you came through relatively unscarred!

  10. joated Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Street cred? Hell, your standing with the hockey crowd just went up several points (or is that goals?). And the ladies will love it!

    Good to hear they got it all.

  11. Wyatt Earp Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Wagonsux – I’ll try that. Thanks!

    USAdmiral – It really complements my appendectomy scar.

    AJ – Would have been nice if they could do something about my hideous disfigurement. AKA the rest of me.

    Mrs. Crankipants – Thank you. *blushes*

    Morgan – I get them out on Wednesday, and have a hockey game Wednesday night. Perfect timing.

    MUD – After skin cancer? A hat will be a constant accessory from now on.

    RT – Yeah, just like the ones Frankenstein had. I thought I was ugly before . . .

    John D – I was the captain at Yale. Heh.

    Proof – And a midget. Nice touch, sir!

  12. Wyatt Earp Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Joated – Thanks. I can say I took a puck to the face. That’ll explain the rest of me.

  13. Loaded Dice in Vegas Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    May St. Michael always watch over you……

    May God keep you and your family in the palm of His Hand……..

    God Loves His Warriors………

    God Bless the United States……

  14. Rob in Katy Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Haven’t you learned, you can’t believe a thing that you read these days… go for the Guinness or might I also suggest some Young’s Double Chocolate Stout :)

  15. Assrot Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Glad you got through it okay. I can imagine what that feels like without pain killers. The doc didn’t give me any either and my MOHS surgery was actually in the left corner of my left eye.

    Luckily, I have pain medication for my wreck of a back. I took them for a couple of days and then switched to just Tylenol.

    It’s been just over 2 months for me now and I can’t tell I was operated on. The eye they operated on looks just like the other eye (crows feet and all). My vision even improved. It turns out the cancerous bump was putting pressure on my eyeball that affected my vision.

    I hope you heal okay and everything goes well for you. Stay safe and make sure you come home everyday with the same amount of holes you left with. I’ll say a little prayer for you.


  16. CaptainAmerica Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Yo dude: That is the best scar you could ever get… FOR A COP! The Admiral is right, your street cred just went way up. M’fers will be surrendering to you on looks alone now.
    Yeah boy! A scowl and a scar like that- I’m thinking INSPECTOR material just by showing up!

  17. PhillipC Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I’m really glad you made it through the surgery well, and they got all the cancer.

    The bad news is, I don’t think that scar will be more than a small whitish line in about a year or two. That’s some nice work on the stitching, and I think you’ll heal up really well. I say this not as a medical person, but as someone who has a LOT of scars.

    Capitalize on it while you have it.

  18. Wyatt Earp Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    LDIV – Thank you very much.

    Rob – Okay, but if I bleed out, I’m haunting your house!

    Joe – I’m just glad the cancer is out. At least for now. That was the important part. Everything else is secondary.

    Captain – Exactly what I was going for.

    PhillipC – My appendectomy scar is still pretty gnarly a year later, but they used 12 staples, so . . . I don’t care about the scar, but it’ll be nice when the stitches come out. It’s embarrassing walking around with these bandages on my forehead.

  19. Rick Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Thank God the cancer is gone now.
    Take care.

  20. crazypolitico Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    That’ll be a great thing when interviewing perps. Just tell them that the scar may be nasty, but nothing compared to what the scumbag looked like after you head butted the truth out of him.

  21. Woody Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Glad to hear the good news Wyatt!

    See, I told you. You ARE an oak!

  22. Rob in Katy Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Well, if you are just going to be a sissy and all, wait a few days and try a Young’s!

  23. dragonlady474 Says:
    November 28th, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Good deal! I’m glad to hear things went well.
    As for the scar, they sell some over the counter creams now that makes scars less noticeable.

  24. cbullitt Says:
    November 28th, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Are you stressed? Don’t you love “funny” doctors?

    You know, of course, there will be “Frankenstein” humor from those who think they can get away with it.
    Hang in there, Wyatt.

  25. Snigs Says:
    November 28th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Scars give you character. ;) Not that you needed any more of that.

    Glad you breezed through it Wyatt and all is going well now. (Oh and burning tooth smells worse than burning skin. Trust me.)

  26. Rob in Katy Says:
    November 28th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Just wait until you get a very funny proctologist…

  27. Glenn Cassel AMH1(AW) USN Retired Says:
    November 28th, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Glad to see it is over with. Nice set of stitches! They used staples on me for my kidney removal. After a couple of months it shouldn’t be too bad. They always look bad for until the swelling goes down.

  28. Easily Lost Says:
    November 28th, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Glad it’s over and you are on the road to recovery.

  29. Wyatt Earp Says:
    November 28th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Rick – Thank you.

    CP – Miranda? I got yer Miranda right here!

    Woody – No, but my skull is made of wood . . .

    Rob – Me likey!

    DL474 – Yeah, Code Monkey already sent me a coupon for one.

    cbullitt – I don’t think it was a joke. I think he expected me to be fully relaxed.

    Snigs – Don’t say that. My dentist appointment is in two weeks!

    Glenn – Yeah, my staples after the appendectomy were much more brutal than this. I took a photo of those, too.

    E.L. – Thanks. I’m glad the cancer is gone. Hopefully.

  30. Glenn Cassel AMH1(AW) USN Retired Says:
    November 29th, 2009 at 2:25 am

    We may be on to something, here. Pictures of our surgical scars and staple/stitch tracks. Mine was two months old when I laid it on the boss. As an Air Force type would do, he freaked out. My two youngest grand-daughters are fascinated by the big one.

  31. Maggie Mama Says:
    November 30th, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Are you now going to “talk like a pirate”?

    Heal fast!

  32. Wyatt Earp Says:
    November 30th, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Glenn – We can start a scar blog!

    Maggie – Aargh! Thank you. :)

  33. Glenn Cassel AMH1(AW) USN Retired Says:
    December 1st, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Blogger or Word Press? Pick one. I will put my belly shot up first! No kidding!

  34. Democrat Cancer Mailing Offends NJ GOP | Support Your Local Gunfighter Says:
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    [...] readers here know where I stand on the cancer issue. I underwent surgery to remove basal cell cancer from my forehead in November, and lost a good friend to lung cancer in January. Every time I look [...]