Friday, November 18, 2016

Squamous cell city and housemaid's knee

At Mount Holyoke with Ben and Nell
Last Friday I went to Boston to Brigham Dermatology Associates to see dermatologist #5 to get three spots biopsied.

Saturday I had an adorable little visitor.

Tuesday I went to the Mohs center at Faulkner Hospital (also affiliated with Brigham) to have a squamous cell cancer removed from the middle of my forehead and another removed from my right hand. I was lucky because this can take multiple passes but it only took one each. This is the procedure in which you wait about an hour and a half while the doctor studies the specimen under the microscope to see if all the margins are clear.

Wednesday I stopped in to see my nurse practitioner, Melissa, before my 3 p.m. light therapy. I showed her the egg on my knee. She didn't like the way it is inflamed, and since they are very careful with me, she made an appointment for me to see an orthopedist the next day. I wasn't planning to stay over and the logistics got complicated and frustrating but Margaret came and took me to her house and saved the day.

While I was waiting for the orthopedist on Thursday, I got a call from the Friday dermatologist and learned I had three more squamous cells. One on my left hand, needs Mohs. The others, on my cheek and another on my left hand, can be treated with effudex, a chemotherapy cream. It is the second one on my cheek. I also have been treating one on my nose.

Somewhere along the line I think I missed a face fry so that is why I might be getting more on my face. I have one scheduled for February.

I was super careful this summer, wearing sun protection gloves and plenty of sunscreen, so this is disheartening. It is not serious but more of a drip, drip, drip. When the Mohs surgeon was leaving the room I thought she said something about another pill I can take, but she didn't say what it was so I wrote an email to my main dermatologist to ask her about it. Not that I want to take another pill.

Meanwhile the orthopedist came in and said, after looking at my x-rays, that I have housemaid's knee, otherwise known as prepatellar bursitis. He said to ice it and it will eventually go away. I said I assumed I should rest, but surprisingly he said not necessarily. I walked Maddie today but that was all.

I have a little row of stitches on my forehead, I think about six. My local doctor is going to remove them on Tuesday. In the meantime a friend who is a nurse is changing the dressing for me.

It feels like I have a nail going into my head. The good news is that it (sort of) takes my mind off the election. The bad news is that it hurts like hell. Although it does feel better today than the day before so that is good. The election still hurts.

Tomorrow we have a signing at The Odyssey for the book "On Being Italian: A Story of Food, Family and Faith,"  to which I contributed about a dozen stories.

Someone who will remain anonymous told me that because of the way the bandage covers my forehead, I look a soldier wounded in the Revolutionary War.

I might either have to cut bangs or pull a hat down low. Or more likely just go as I am and assume people will understand...or look the other way.

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