Posted in Cancer, Horror, Melanoma, Photos on December 18, 2010|
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I thought I should share this photograph since I spoke a great deal about this woman during the cancer scare last year. This is Dr. Barbera Honnebier (pronounced HONEY-BEAR), the plastic surgeon that specialized in children’s maxillofacial reconstructive surgery at the time, but took my case on like *excuse my language* a fucking superhero. My only explanation for her existence is a gift from the universe. I don’t even think she’s human. I’m in love with her. She let me keep my very own face on my head that another doctor wanted to Frankenstein back together using pieces of skin from my shoulder. She’s magic. Just look at her. “Thank you” doesn’t even cut it.
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of Zelda Rubinstein, “THIS HOUSE IS CLEAN!”
The lymph node results came back and those suckers were cancer free, ever last stinking one of them.
I’ve had this song in my head ever since:
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The toughest decision I had to make Monday morning was what pajamas to wear. I played Solitaire in the waiting room with mom on one side and my Ben on the other. I had them wrapped around each arm like kiddie pool floaties. When they called my name I made my last dad joke, “Nope, nobody out here by that…”
The nurse was sweet with a faint, dark mustache and I enjoyed her gentle presence despite the fact that she couldn’t find a vein. We ran out of time because the radiology department was waiting on me, so they sent me on my way with cotton balls taped up and down my arm like a walking preschool craft project.
It was there that I met the woman who would inject piping hot radioactive tracer into my face four times. It felt like a cattle prod and was okay because in my head I thought of it as punishment for leaving a corn poop in their restroom. She stuck the needle in and offered a warning, “Solution” as the tracer oozed. She said “solution” four times and I kept thinking, “Solution for what? This is more like… a problem, lady.”
The real problem is that the only hospital gown they had readily available had a hole in the boob. Nothing a little scotch tape couldn’t solve. I tossed and turned in a tunnel for a little while and a brilliant computer found my sentinel lymph node. The radiologist marked the magical spot on my neck with an ‘x’.
We traveled back to the room where the woman with a mustache tortured me with many needles and met for a little pre-party with my oncologist, plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurses, and my favorite, the woman who could properly administer an i.v. I think I told her I loved her and I was stone cold sober and sincere.
I don’t remember a damn thing after that. I woke up guzzling Sprite and confessing too loudly that my boyfriend is better at taking clothes off than he is putting them back on. Sorry, dad.
I’ll have the lymph node results back on Monday and stitches will come out.
I have to tell you now that I’m afraid the whole thing is going to split open and slide right off my skull.
Cross your fingers if you have them!
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I love to hate the movie, Twilight, so much that I’ve seen it twice already. One of my favorite characteristics of Stephanie Meyer’s Mormon vampires is how they dazzle in the sunlight instead of bursting into flames.
As funny as it sounds, it’s actually helped to think of myself as a vampire in order to combat the skin cancer blues. I feel like the sun is crossing me off its hit list and it’s difficult not to sprint across the street during my lunch break to each shady patch of refuge, tackling bankers, the homeless, and poor, defenseless shrubbery in the process.
My visit with the second plastic surgeon, Dr. Honeybear, was a dream come true. Before we talked facial reconstruction she asked me how I was feeling about all of this in a thick, Russian accent. I guess that’s the difference between the male and female approach to medicine. Okay, that and false eyelashes. However, I didn’t mind the tiny breeze that followed every blink. Barbie could have used one for a Chinese New Year costume fan.
I demonstrated to her in a mirror made by Botox Cosmetic how I’d been imaging the aftermath. I stretched my face out to one side, Joan Rivers style, my tongue hanging out lifelessly like road kill. She laughed and assured me I won’t come out looking like I’ve got a face lift on layaway. I trust her…sort of.
There are upsides to the situation. I’ve connected to many people through the Melanoma Research Foundation’s message board. We’ve compared notes and they’ve warned me to get my hands on some downers before that radioactive injection.
The word on the street is that when the radiologist says, “it’ll feel a little bit like a bee sting” they actually mean “it’ll feel a little bit like Satan pissing into an open wound.”
I’m the youngest on the message board by far, and I’m finding I have more in common with women in their 50’s than I thought. I just wish they lived close enough to hug so hard I lose all circulation to my limbs.
Just a couple more weeks…
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Here’s a beastly souvenir from my first visit with a plastic surgeon who could be working in tandem with my oncologist. Yeah, that’s a balled up tissue in my fist.
I know that’s depressing, so I did you a favor and included my suggestion of a Michael Jackson skin graft and the note for PE class that the front desk nurse so kindly provided.
Sorry, Coach Frisbee! No more squat thrusts for this little lady.
The dotted area notes the 1 cm of skin they’ll be removing along with the tumor. And the arrows note the directions from which the remaining skin will meet with donor material they’ll harvest from around my ear. My only other option is a skin graft alone using donor material harvested from the area just above my collar bone.
It’s sort of like if you had to order pizza with diarrhea topping or vomit topping.
I’d use my butt skin, but the color just isn’t a pleasing match. My butt is so white it’s see through and I don’t want to be the world’s first glass bottom face. Can’t you just imagine them all mocking me in their bikinis, feet dangling into my salivary gland?
We haven’t scheduled the big surgery day just yet. I have to meet with another doctor on Thursday whose last name is pronounced “Honey bear”. I guess it’s better than “Dr. Pooh”.
I’ll be writing about this here just in case someone my age is searching for common ground. I wasn’t able to find anyone online with a similar case under the age of 60, let alone female.
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