Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Blue Light Special

I had an appointment with the dermatologist this morning. Routine visit. A year or so ago I had a little basal cell carcinoma cut out and so now I go annually to get a "body check." My plans were to go in, get a couple of small places looked at, and get out. I had a to-do list all mapped out: doctor, bank, fill the car up with gas, buy thread, get car washed, pick up a book at the library....the list was pretty long. The best laid plans.

First of all you have to understand that the dermatologist is absolutely wonderful, has the most beautiful skin you've ever seen on any man, and will certainly be celebrating his 14th birthday this year. Maybe 15th. He looks quickly and talks fast. He immediately froze 4 places; one on my hand, one on my arm, one on my back and one on my really low back (yes, you could classify that as my backside). That's my first time for freezing off one of those questionable spots. It didn't hurt as bad as childbirth and that's all I've got to say about that.

Then he said, "we have to do something about all those pre-cancerous places on your face." Huh? What places? To say that I am a normal 62 year old woman should tell you immediately that my close-up vision is not good. I put in a contact to put on my makeup. Then I take it out to sew. I put it in to go shopping. I take it out to read. One contact. Because I can see a mile away but nothing on my nose. It seems he saw lots of little red spots under the skin on my nose and cheeks, under my eyes and on my forehead. Sun damage that would someday turn into cancers that he would have to cut out one at a time over the next however many years God gives me on this earth. He assured me I wouldn't like that.

So we discussed options. Or he discussed options. His preferred method of treatment is the "blue light." I felt like a K-Mart Special. He put something on my face that is supposed to be a natural substance but is really some kind of acid. Then I waited an hour and went back in. The nurse put sun glasses on me - you know the kind like you wear in a tanning bed? No I don't get in a tanning bed. Any more. But that kind. And then she put this space helmet down over my head - no kidding, it was sort of an old fashioned hair dryer helmet but updated to Space Odyssey Year 2098. They turned it on for 16 minutes and 41 seconds and I am not kidding. That's the exact time she told me. And then she left.

So I'm sitting in the dark with my eyes closed and sunglasses on and a space helmet over my head. When I get nervous or scared or bored I have to have something to do to keep me from running screaming so I sing Jesus Loves Me. Not out loud. But over and over. You can sing Jesus Loves Me a lot of times in 16 minutes and 41 seconds. Finally it goes off and the nurse comes back in to remove it.

She turns to look at me and her eyes widen. Uh Oh. And she says, "was your face peeling like that when you came in?" Uh Oh. I reply, calmly, "Since I can't see my face I don't know what you're referring to but...my...face...was...not...peeling...when...I...came...in. She says "I'll get you a mirror and I think you're going to need some pain pills." Uh Oh. She brings me a mirror and my face is peeling all over like you do a week after a bad sunburn. I ask if this is the norm. Still calm. Until she says "I've never seen anyone do this." Uh Oh. I ask for the doctor, the 14 year old one. He's so cheerful I want to slap him. He says....oh it's gonna' be fine...it will just take a little longer than we first thought....you're skin is so fine and so thin that you just started the process a little sooner than normal but look at it like this. Lots of women pay a lot of money for a mid-level chemical peel for cosmetic purposes but your insurance company is gonna' pay for yours because it was for medical purposes. And you're gonna' look really good....in a week or two. A week. Or Two. It's a little swollen now but it will go down. No kidding. That's what he said. It's peeling but you just wash it and rub it with a washrag and that will come off. No kidding. That's what he said. It won't last but a week. Or two.

Picture a white haired, very fair skinned woman after being in the sun for several hours with no sunscreen. That's me.

I have a pretty tough schedule this week (according to my sister my normal schedule rivals her 40-50 hour work week and she'd rather work and get paid for it thank you very much). I'm doing physical therapy 3 times, had quilt guild tonight and a quilt group Wednesday, a luncheon, the theater, a two day women's conference, etc. Need I say more?

I called a friend in Little Rock because Jerry and I have theater tickets with she and her husband and was bemoaning my fate. I wasn't sure I could go looking like this. She said, "Oh Marlene I went to our high school reunion bald after my chemo. It's no big deal." The blue light special was now over. It's gonna be no big deal!

37 comments:

Molly said...

You are a hoot. I hear you about the youngsters they're turning loose from medical school these days!Still have their braces and only shaving once a month! But, on the positive side, they're up on all the latest treatments---like your unexpected "tanning" session!
What a way to start your week! But aren't you glad they caught it early?

Tracy P. said...

Oh good grief. Now you've got me thinking I should be going back to the dermo for a check. Basil cell--yeah, me too. They've already taken half an eyebrow, and I don't have too many more of those to give.

Oma aka Meme said...

oh my- and your are so cheerful about it all- I have to go to a doctor tomorrow but I think he maybe be just a bit older--
praying that all turns out good in the end- hugs Meme

Marie said...

My goodness, what an ordeal! I hope your face feels better soon! My boss pays big bucks for those chemical peels, not to mention the botox and lazer re-surfacing, and to think you've gotten it for free! Wau to go Marlene!!! ((((hugs))))

Janet, said...

Wow, you've had quite a visit to the doctor. You are so good spirited about it, hope all goes well. I just hate it when a medical person says uh oh.

Michelle said...

Oh, my! I would have been very nervous....and you aren't going to believe this either, but when I get very stressed,or upset, I sing Jesus Loves Me over and over and over. It calms me.

Have a great week!
Michelle

Amelia said...

Perhaps the nurse thought, "Oh no, we are going to get sued".

Here is hoping your skin heals within a few days and not weeks.

Can you put any make up on it all?

Gene Black said...

Marlene, God gives unexpected blessings. Let's hope a "free" chemical peel was one of them. Can you moisturize or is it wash and dry only?
If you can moisturize, carry some with you ALL the time and every time you go to the bathroom, add some moisturizer. It will help with appearance and will feel better.

I hope your spirits are high. Take care of you!

Christine said...

Only you could turn something like that into one of the funniest stories I've heard. You poor thing. But just imagine how soft your skin will feel in oh, a week or two? :)

Milah said...

Marlene,
I wonder what would have happened if you weren't singing Jesus Loves Me? I shudder to think about it!
I'm praying you heal quickly!
Blessings!

Connie W said...

All I can think of for a reply is,
"Oh Dear!" and that I hope the healing process is as short as possible. Does it continue to hurt like a sunburn? Here's a little hug for you (h)
Connie

Salem Stitcher said...

A week. Or two. You crack me up. But your friend is right. It's no big deal. I think I would have slapped the doctor though.

Linda said...

Keeping you in my thoughts & prayers! So glad to see amongst it all you have your sense of humor :D
Linda

Needled Mom said...

Yikes!!! It does not sound like a fun day. I had my dermo appointment yesterday too and just got one spot frozen off. I had a squamous cell carcinoma removed in November so I am on 6 month check-ups. I wish it was yearly. I guess it is all relative when you discussed the situation with your friend, but one to two weeks???? I hope it will be as beautiful as they say it will be.

Memaw's memories said...

Marlene, I just realized you are in Arkansas. Which lake are you stitchin on? We used to camp on Greer's when my kids were kids, and now I go to Norfolk with friends.

I guess your peel will be like a bad haircut. It will get better. You have a great outlook.

Lori said...

I had an anesthesiologist once I swore was only 12 so I hear ya sister! In fact, under the influence of some pre-sedation medicine I asked him if he was old enough to doing the job he was doing. I think I'm probably lucky I woke after that question!

You poor thing but what a great friend to put things in perspective like that. I need a reinder like that on occasion as well.

Have some fun with it and come up a really good farfetched story to tell people if they ask you what happened.

Have a good week!

Lori said...

I had an anesthesiologist once I swore was only 12 so I hear ya sister! In fact, under the influence of some pre-sedation medicine I asked him if he was old enough to doing the job he was doing. I think I'm probably lucky I woke after that question!

You poor thing but what a great friend to put things in perspective like that. I need a reinder like that on occasion as well.

Have some fun with it and come up a really good farfetched story to tell people if they ask you what happened.

Have a good week!

Jacquie said...

Oh, that's not funny, but it's funny! I hope it gets better soon!

Tonje said...

Oh, my... that sounds a bit scary... Hope you heal quickly! You have a fun way of writing about it though...

Tonje said...

Oh, my... that sounds a bit scary... Hope you heal quickly! You have a fun way of writing about it though...

Carol said...

How DID we turn out so much alike? I am a 62-year-old, white haired, very fair skinned woman about ready to visit a dermatologist for the first time. (Now I'm really scared to go.) I can see all the way to Arkansas, but have to use a magnifying mirror to see my face. BUT, I sing both "Jesus Loves Me" and "Rock of Ages" ( my cows especially enjoy "Rock of Ages"). If you get your face back, maybe I'll see your doctor-if you go with me. A duet might be a stronger prayer.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Priceless!! still laughing at you! Carol- I can just hear the two of you singing together just like when you were kids!! And I want anesthesia if I do that not to mention 2 weeks off work. And you to come take care of me-you know cook, clean ect. :) sister Sherry

Becky said...

Mildred ~ I'm visualizing you laying there singing Jesus Love Me with your space helmet on. How funny!! Girl, I a couple of weeks you will look like a spring chicken with your new face. YIPPEE!

Valerie said...

I am sure this was not as funny at the time as it is with us reading this. You are so funny and know how to make a terrible thing sound so funny. I hope your face gets better soon.

Mainly a midwife said...

You are too funny! You should post some before (peeling face) and after (glowing new skin in two weeks) pix!

Angie said...

Your 'free' face-peel might not be so bad. Just think in a week or so you might look even younger than the doctor! It would have had me a bit worried too to hear "Uh-oh"

love, Angie, xx

Karen said...

Oh, wow! What a trip to the dermatologist. Did they give you pain medication after all that? Hope your face recuperates quickly. I went to a dermatologist once for a spot on my forehead I wanted checked. The doctor was a very pretty woman. She looked at my skin and told me that I had beautiful skin. It made me feel good but I also wondered if she was eyeing it for a skin transplant for someone!

Suze said...

Get a hat with a veil and go on about your business. Be mysterious and let people wonder. Worked for Greta Garbo. If anyone asks about why you are wearing the hat just say "I am not ready to talk about it yet"

sarahross said...

Oh Marlene, I laughed out loud just imagining...Hope you are good as new (or better according to your Doc) soon!

Linda said...

OH I would laugh if it wasn't so NOT funny for you. That is something that would happen to me. Maybe in a week ...or two we can laugh!

Lena . . . said...

I would have been scared to death. But if you look at the positive side, in a week you'll look 20 years younger!

Rhondi said...

You had quite the ordeal! growing olde stinks sometimes. LOL

Dawn said...

You are so strong and so funny to be able to tell this like this!

(We sung 'A Mighty Fortress is our God' in a stuck elevator once. Helped pass the time just like singing, 'Jesus Loves Me' would too.)

Hang in there, girlfriend. You are one of the most beautiful women I 'know'.

Lelia Chealey said...

The way you described everything was so funny, but I really loved how you sing Jesus Loves Me. I will remember that one. I sing it to my grandbaby all the time and she just smiles but never thought of singing it to myself.
You're beautiful...peeling face or not. :)
love ya,
Lelia

lani said...

We need to become blog buddies it was like reading my own blog....I love when we can see humor in all bcuse there is so much gloom and doom,...God Love ya..and thank you for visitng my blog....and I'll be back ...God Bless Lani

MARCIE said...

You are such a good sport Marlene! I have been thinking about getting one of those chem peels. Maybe I should see your dermatologist!

Vicky said...

You have got to be talking about Dr. Stibeck - it's a crime to look that young when I know for a fact he's almost as old as I am!

I've had several pre-cancerous spots removed also. They finally told me that they didn't want to remove the all or they wouldn't have a place to check the progression (that was a different doctor).

It was nice to see you the other day and I'm sorry I didn't recognize you right off!