Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Extra, extra, I went to the right address in Boston

Traffic watch
"Your skin looks good...for you."

"Your scleroderma looks good."

These were interesting words to hear at my trip to the dermatologist in Boston last Tuesday.

By looks good "for you," that meant only two biopsies. But it did not mean a break from getting multiple areas zapped, alas. As I write this several days later, spots are still blistering and starting to peel, like the end of a bad sunburn. The idea is to leave them alone, but as I've said before, that is easier said than done.

The dermatology practice had a very interesting procedure: Be there no earlier than five minutes and no later than five. When you get to the door, call the number and you will get patched through to an operator who will screen you. Tell the person at the door you were screened. Go into the empty waiting room and go straight to the exam room.

I was told the doctors were told to keep on time. I went into an exam room...and waited about 45 minutes. At least though they did't keep me waiting for an hour in a FULL waiting room like they did at Dana-Farber, where apparently they forgot about me.

I drove myself again. It wasn't bad. It actually felt good to be going some place. You might not believe that a person could go to a wrong address twice, but if you know me, you can believe it.

I previously went to 221 Longwood Avenue Brookline, instead of 221 Longwood Avenue Boston, where the office is...and I did it twice, almost missing my appointment. This time I FOCUSED on going to the right place. I don't even know how I had messed it up. It wasn't that difficult. Ben turned me on to the fivethirtyeight.com podcast. It was a good one and nice and long so between that, and listening to The Daily, from the New York Times, I was pretty well occupied.

Speaking of dermatology, here's something I wrote about being embarrassed about my face.

I took a selfie to show Ben that I was wearing the running hat he gave me.

I took it maybe 100 times (not really) because I didn't like my wrinkles. Maddie has also gotten old (er) but is still photogenic. I took a photo of her doing a "traffic watch" while I stretched.

Post-run selfie
I noticed that you can see the bump on my shoulder. Actually I mean, the bone sticking up. It's from when I crashed onto the tennis court on a break between chemo sessions many moons ago while diving for a ball and trying to protect my Hickman catheter while I fell.

Yesterday it was really too hot to go running by the time I got around to it, but I did it anyway. I have gotten back into it enough so that I really miss it when I don't do it.

I skipped the family birthday party over the weekend. (Two July birthdays, one party!) My first reaction was that I was going, and then I realized I shouldn't go. Too much exposure and all that.

I knew it was the right thing to do but still it made me sad. The other grandma messaged me via Facebook and said they missed me. It was sweet of her. They tried to put me on FaceTime but there was too much going on and it didn't really work. I had a little meltdown. It's surprising the way things just sneak up on you.

I got the results of the biopsies. One, on my chest, is a squamous cell "in situ," just on the skin. I am supposed to treat it for four weeks with Efudex. The one on my cheek is actinic keratosis (AK). These could lead to skin cancer and also need to be treated. I have treated it multiple times and it doesn't go away. I'm supposed to treat it for two weeks again. When it works, they get all red and irritated.

I wrote about the side effects of Efudex but I'm still going to do it. First I have to wait for the biopsied spots to heal.

Oh I forgot to say that the scleroderma to which she was referring was the hardening of my skin. Without ECP, it still seems to be OK, knock wood.

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