My Skin Cancer Journal

This Journal was started in 1995 ~ 

Last update  on Oct. 31, 2023
Most people won't read this journey all the way to the end, but if you do I pray it will help you in your own journey. Thank you for reading mine!
As far back into my childhood and adult life as I can remember, I have had countless sunburns. I have had some so sever that it hurt to wear clothes or lay down. One time when I was about 14, I went to the beach in Corpus Christi, Texas with family. After spending all day in the sun and returning to the hotel late that day, I soon found I was in misery. I was burned so bad that cool baths didn't help. Just having clothes or the sheets touch my body was horribly painful. Another time when I was a teenager living in Midland, Texas I put on shorts and a backless halter top and thought I would surprise my parents while they were at work by trimming the edge of the lawn. We didn't own a edger to trim the yard so I did the entire front lawn with a pair of sheers while on my knees all day and my back and head uncovered. My back later that day was covered in huge water blisters from being so sunburned! There are many more times just like those that I burned in the sun, ruining vacations and outings. None of those times did I put on sun screen or cover my head with a hat. Heck no, that would look stupid, I thought.
Later as an adult I would visit the tanning beds in the summer time so that when we went on vacations I would have my body use to the rays and possible not burn as bad. It would work sometimes, but I never tanned! I didn't burn as much, but I had exposed my body to the strong rays of another kind of damage.
In 1997 my beautician found a tiny red spot on the top center crown of my head. It was just a small, red spot! No itching, no bleeding, no scabbing. My MD referred me to a Dermatologist whom I saw for a biopsy. Two weeks later he called me at work to tell me he found cancer cells. CANCER cells! Just that word alone was upsetting. Well, I went back to that same Dermatologist who did a bigger biopsy on the same area with even more stitches. He sent it off to the lab and sure enough, two weeks went by again that he called me at work and said I still had Cancer cells! I was scheduled to see him a third time when right before my office visit, word had traveled to my husband's boss who happened to be head of surgery in El Dorado, Arkansas.
They starting prepping me for surgery as soon as I arrived at the hospital. They did a scalp sweep and took a skin graft off my right thigh to cover the bone. Over a hundred stitches and a metal cap stitched on top of that for protection while healing, I came out of recovery.
When I returned after my release, two weeks later, I wasn't prepared to what I would see in the mirror. I wasn't ready to be told I had a 2 centimeter deep hole in the top of my head and then to be told hair would never grow on a graft.... I just wasn't prepared to see what so many sunburns on my scalp had done to me.  But, my surgeons said they were hopeful they got it all and I was lucky. I am alive!

 Basal cell carcinoma with Extending Melanoma Feelers
Top of my head
November 1997
I will never be able to grow hair in that circle that is about the size of a silver dollar. I will never have feeling there, so I have to be careful not to get hit on top of the head, like a newborn baby's crown. I will always have a dip there in that circle. I have named it my Bird bath. It hasn't always been easy for me to talk or show people. I still catch myself sitting higher up in grandstands or standing so people don't look down and see my head. Even thou many years have passed since this was found, it hasn't ended. I am always fighting the next spot found.
This journal is updated as treatments and procedures happen and can be followed by reading to the end. Each time is dated and what type of cancer was found. As far as freezing on many , many visits through the years, those are so common for me that I have not listed those. 
Basal cell carcinoma with Extending Feelers
Moh's Surgery
August 2010 
I have had somewhere around 100 areas freeze burned, The sweep and cancer on my head, biopsy's on my mouth, forehead and cheek and back. The latest skin cancer biopsy and surgery was this month , (can be seen here ) on a spot between my eyes on my forehead. It was the size of a green pea when removed and was done by a surgeon that my Dermatologist sent me to. That doctor had a pathologist near by and waited for results before closing the hole. I ended up with eleven stitches and black eyes.
Did you know that one person dies from melanoma almost every hour? A common misconception is that you cannot die from skin cancer. Unfortunately, about 8,000 people will die of melanoma in the U.S. this year.
That it takes just one bad burn in childhood increases the risk of developing melanoma later.

Two separate Chemo treatments with Efudex
This will be my journal while treating my pre cancer's on my face. It will be painful and embarrassing. I started my first treatment today (Sept. 15, 2010) and will try to post each day and maybe by sharing my treatment it will help someone else who also suffers from skin cancer. Second treatment started (Aug. 20, 2011). 
 Copyright laws apply for all photos. Please DO NOT copy or you will be reported to authorities!

Efudex is the brand name for fluorouracil, sometime referred to as 5-FU; another brand name is Carac. Technically these drugs are in fact chemotherapy, but they won’t make you nauseous or cause you to lose your hair. What they will do is make the treated area of your skin look and feel completely miserable for several weeks.
The treatment itself will not be very pleasant. The drug is prescribed when it is deemed to be preferable to addressing the individual Basal Cell or Squamous Cell cancers one at at time over a period of years. I have had both!
Fluorouracil  treatment is used for superficial basal cell carcinoma when conventional methods are impractical, such as in the case of multiple lesions or difficult treatment sites on the face or scalp. It is also used to treat actinic keratosis (also called solar keratosis), which can lead to more serious invasive squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated. In its more potent injectable form, fluorouracil is also used to treat breast, stomach, bowel and esophageal cancers.

Fluorouracil (Efudex) and Skin Cancer
Fluorouracil (5-FU) is a chemotherapy compound which has been around for a long time. For topical (on the skin) use, it is sold as Efudex and Carac, and is used to kill cancerous or pre-cancerous skin lesions. Actinic Keratosis, or Solar Keratosis, is a condition in which there are generally many spots, some visible and some not, some of which will become skin cancer if untreated. So, fluorouracil is often prescribed as a method of killing many of the pre-cancerous spots before they become cancer and have to be removed by freezing or cutting.
For basal cell carcinoma, it is recommended that the cream be applied two times per day in an amount sufficient to cover the lesions for at least 3 to 6 weeks. Therapy may be required for as long as 10 to 12 weeks before the lesions disappear, however. To apply this medicine, use a cotton-tipped applicator, or use gloves if applying it with your fingertips. If applied with unprotected fingertips, it is important to wash your hands well after you apply this medicine. Avoid applying to the eyes, nose, or mouth. Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between the cancerous cells and the normal cells. Chemotherapy will kill all cells that are rapidly dividing. The "normal" cells will grow back and be healthy but in the meantime, side effects occur. The "normal" cells most commonly affected by chemotherapy are the blood cells, the cells in the mouth, stomach and bowel, and the hair follicles; resulting in low blood counts, mouth sores, nausea, diarrhea, and/or hair loss. Different drugs may affect different parts of the body.

There will be four phases:
 1. Early inflammatory phase: During the first week of application, mild inflammation occurs.
 2.  Inflammatory phase: During the following weeks, redness, and swelling occur with some crusting  and  burning.
 3.  Tumor disintegration phase: Lesions resolve as the skin exfoliates.
 4.  Healing phase: Over 1 to 2 weeks, new skin grows into the treatment area.
 Day one
September 15, 2010
Cost before Insurance would have been $217.33
Met Deductible with all my medical this month so cost was...$0
Heart beating fast! I'm scared to even apply to my skin. Heck, you either have  to wear rubber gloves or wash your hands immediately. My oldest daughter got me a box of 100 gloves and I will use 2 a day. After taking a deep breath, I applied a small amount to several spots on my forehead, cheeks, jaw, each side of my eyes, most of my nose, and temples. I also treated a spot on each arm. This is not all the areas, just the ones I found. My face was feeling fine until around 9 pm when it began to itch lightly. 
Day two
September 16, 2010
There really wasn't too much noticeable change except that my face is starting to get a little red in spots and it still itches lightly.  The two spots on my arms that I am treating have not itched at all or turned red yet.
You can see how my scar is healing up from my last surgery.
Day Three 
September 17, 2010
Today has been uncomfortable. My face itches a lot, especially around the chin and forehead. It is really red and beginning to take the look of a light sunburn. The itching feels like the time I had a reaction to penicillin. The area around my eyes have bumps and a few on my forehead are surfacing. My nose is ruff to the touch. I did get to wash my face with only water tonight before treatment. That only relieved the itching for about thirty minutes. I expect the next couple of days will start getting worse, which makes me nervous.
Day Four
September 18, 2010
Last night was restless. I must have woke up at least five times because my face was itching. Today it not only itches, it is burning . My face is getting more spotty and dry looking. You can see how my chin is breaking out in a red rash that looks like acne and the rash is beginning to start on my forehead and cheeks. I sat under the carport today in the shade ,watching my grand baby play, and I was miserable in the heat! It seemed like my face was drawing the heat in. I couldn't stay out there very long at all. There has been no reaction to the two spots on my arms.
Day Five
September 19, 2010
Burning and itching is getting stronger. My face is beginning to take on a bad blister made with sand paper.
As I see more changes each day, it scares me more what I will be having to face  in the days to come.  I hope I can do this! There are several blogs like mine that show what others have been through. After tonight's treatment the itching has been worse. I don't think I will get much sleep tonight. Its hard to lay on my back all night trying not to rub my face. 
Day Six
September 20, 2010
 My face is burning a lot today. I called the Dermatologist to see if I can take Benadryl for the itching. He was out sick so I have an appointment this Wednesday at 5:30 am to see him. I haven't worn make-up in six days now and have only left my house twice as far as getting in public. Both times I wore my hat and sun glasses because I am self conscience about my face.  I still am walking early in the morning at around 6 am.. The cool morning air feels good on my face. Its different posting photo updates on here for the world to see because I'm not looking at you face to face. I did get some sleep last night after taking a Tylenol pm. Tonight's picture update shows spots showing up near  my nose cheeks, and across  my forehead. The two spots on my arms are just starting to get in the itchy stage.
Day Seven
September 21, 2010
 When I awoke this morning, my face seemed like it felt better but looking in the mirror made the reality show me  I was wrong. It is really red and spotty. I went for my morning walk and that cool air felt really good on my face. I stayed busy all day here in the house so my mind was not focused on the itching.  The itching has taken over after my second treatment today. I feel like I have the plague. Its just getting uglier and makes me wonder why I would even keep this journal of such ugliness....
Day Eight
September 22, 2010
 I went to the Dermatologist this morning at 5:30. Remember, at the top of this page, I told you about the 4 stages of this Chemo treatment...Today, my Dermatologist said I could STOP the cream! Don't get too excited. God knows I did! I left there just thanking God that I wouldn't have to put that on again and not even thinking about the next phase.
Well, my doctor described the stages just like I listed above. I am on stage 3.  He told me my face responded good. Each red spot is where pre-cancer is on my face. And to think, I didn't even treat the entire face like some people have to do. Anyway, phase 3 will be the ugliest.  Phase 3 is the cancer cells that should die off  after the cream treated them and phase 4 will be the new skin replacement.  I treated 7 days with the cream and hope phase 3 will not be more than a week..I hope! I cant wait until phase 4.   
My face is swollen and it hurts to the touch. It has been the most painful today, feeling like little paper cuts that burn and itch.  Tonight my face doesn't seem as red although it hurts really bad.
Day Nine
September 23, 2010
This morning the burning and pain had not been as intense as the last eight days were. My face hurts more as the day goes by. It feels like someone rubbing sand paper on it. Most of the pain seems to be when I have to smile or open my mouth to eat. The crusted areas and sores are looking better even thou they are ruff to the touch and look very dry. Today is the first day I have felt almost human again as far as my outlook on this treatment. I even put on some mascara and did my hair. I still have more to go through as the days go by.  My skin has already started to exfoliate on my chin and cheeks. New skin will soon start to take the place of the old cancerous skin.  Maybe I will be one of the lucky ones and not have a long phase 3 since I only had the Chemo treatment for eight days. Others, as you have seen on the Internet were not so lucky.  If I have learned one thing from this experience it is to appreciate Sunscreen and protecting my skin from the sun. Just those two small things can save your life! I will continue to post updates so stay tuned!
Day Ten
September 24, 2010
I guess I jumped the gun yesterday when I thought I was feeling better! As the day went by my face hurt worse than I can describe. I had to take a pain pill and a sleeping pill to get to sleep last night. Today I have bruising around eyes and nose. It hurts just wearing my glasses . I know now why they say phase 3 is worse than the treatment stage. IT HURTS! There are areas that I did not treat that are showing up and the pain is getting stronger. This is my face, This is my face on fire!!
Day Eleven
September 25, 2010
Today has been very stressful because my husband was taken to the hospital early this am. Tonight as I post an update, I am sitting in his hospital room. My face has really hurt all day. It seems the air in each room here today has effected the way it feels. I don't think the stress  has helped either and maybe that is why I am in more pain tonight. I also haven't been in public  with staring eyes and today I caught people staring at me as if I had the plague or was catching. The embarrassment and stares are hard to bare for me. I felt like a freak! My husbands health is what matters now so I will except what I feel and move on. With the grace of God, we will  both get through this.
Day Twelve
September 26, 2010
Today is really painful. When will this phase be over? The only way I can wear my glasses to see the key board is with a sterile gauze on my nose so the medal doesn't touch my skin.  My chin is very crusty, which I know sounds so gross, but I feel you should see and know what you will go through in this phase. It is blistered and starting to crack and bleed. The paper cut feeling I am having is starting to look like that now. I am back home now after or weekend at the hospital so I am back in my house cocoon. I am told this phase gets worse looking before the healing phase. 
Day Thirteen
September 27, 2010
Today has just been a repeat of pain. I got in the shower this morning to let the water run on my face. At first it felt good, but then the burning took over. It seems like it just made the pain more intense after a couple of hours. The following photo is a close up of my chin. The rest of my face looks just like this. Its really terrible and gross, so if it will make you sick, don't look. THIS IS WHAT SKIN CANCER CAN DO! The lesions are pre cancer that the Chemo is attacking. So, your not leaving the house without that hat or sun screen, are you?
Day Fourteen
September 28, 2010
Today the pain was not as bad it seems but it feels like the worse sunburn sting. That's better than the paper cut feeling! Anyway, I don't know if you can tell but my chin is peeling. A lot of that crusting has fallen off today. I have rinsed my face with cold water about four times today to help with the burning. My face is taking on a look of hugh hives now that are bumpy to the feel. I will try not to take a sleeping pill or pain pill tonight for the first time in over a week. Should I have to have something it will be only Tylenol now.
Day Fifteen
September 29, 2010
My face is really peeling more today. The forehead is just starting. I haven't had any pain today and the burning has been a lot more bearable. Hopefully, I will be in phase 4 soon. Phase 4 will be the healing phase. I haven't mention the two spots on my arms lately. They itch and look like they are scabbing over now. I feel like I am on the down hill now even thou my Dermatologist says the skin will be red to pink as it grows new skin cells.
Day Sixteen
September 30, 2010
Today was a good day! I didn't have any pain or itching today. I was able to go out in public to the hospital with my husband for his colostomy, but still felt self conscious. My face has been peeling more and more. There are lesions peeling that I didn't even treat. Phase 4 is getting closer and closer.
Day Seventeen
October 1, 2010
Wow...Today is the first day in over a month that I felt like I was back to normal. I am FINALLY in phase 4, the healing phase. There is very little lesion peeling. My face is still red like a sunburn in color. It will properly take another few days to a week before the pink starts to fade. My skin feels really soft. I think that's the new skin.  I wont put another update until middle of next week, so check back. Hopefully I will look better. 
Day Twenty Two
October 6, 2010
Even thou I lost a month of my life I have to admit it was a nightmare going through all the pain and torture of Fluorouracil's chemotherapy treatment. I didn't think I would make it at times. It was one of the most painful experiences, but you have to tuff it out in order to beat that many pre-cancer lesson's.  The eight days of the cream was easier than the second and third phase. I still will have some pink skin that will soon get back to its normal color. The most surprising thing is that my forehead and chin and cheeks do not have as many wrinkles and my skin is very smooth and soft. I want to thank all my family and friends for their  love and support .Thank you for helping me cope each day, I couldn't have done this without any of you. If you have been keeping up with my Cancer journal, I hope you learned an important lesson....Wear protection from the sun. I will fight this battle the rest of my life, but I will wear sunscreen everyday! Don't forget that Skin Cancer is one of the number one cause of deaths and that it only takes one sunburn to damage your skin and put you in that category. 
I will go back to the Dermatologist the 20th of this month for a few Basal Cell Carcinoma's to be freezed. I may have one that he will do a biopsy on, but look how many he wont have to cut, burn, or do surgery on that I just killed from doing this treatment.  I will be having another round and you can read about it in this journey below. 

~ Update Tuesday, October 12, 2010~
 After skin cancer surgery two months ago  and going through the Chemo treatment, my scar was healing nicely, all except this raised area at the bottom of the scar. I noticed it wasn't going away after massaging for the two months daily and using scar cream. It was just getting bigger and was staying sore to the touch and red. I called my doctors office yesterday to make an appointment to check it out. "Can you be here at 3:15 today?" I wasn't expecting that soon and wasn't prepared mentally to be cut on this soon. Dr. Gurley, after examining the bump thought it could be several things.
  • Either the cancer is back
  • It could be a dog ear
  • or it could be scar tissue that didn't heal right
  • or maybe a stitch that caused infection
 None of which sounded good to me!
 Anyway, after Insurance approval and preparing me for surgery, I was faced with those dreaded shots again! Feels like deja vu! They seemed to hurt worse this time around. I guess because the scar was so new and still sensitive. We waited for my face to be numb and then continued on. I like Dr. Gurley. He has a way of making you comfortable by his sense of humor.
 After removal of the bump for biopsy and suturing me back up I was sent on my way. As the rest of the evening moved on and the numbness awakened, I was hit with the worse pain. I wasn't in that much pain last time! My face hurt, my nose hurt, my eyes hurt...I was in pain. What was different this time? After two pain pills and a sleeping pill I did manage to get some rest. Wow.....Ya know, you just don't wake up in the morning and say to yourself you want to have a day like this....
 I need to plan my day better... I will update when I get results....

~Update Tuesday, October 26 2010~
41 days after Treatment
The picture tells it all! My face is smoother, younger feeling, and best of all going through the treatment killed a lot of precancerous spots I won’t have to fight in the further. I will have cancer spots I will have to treat, but at least I got some of them going through this Chemo treatment. If you’re just reading this and seeing the photos, don’t let my experience make your decision difficult. It is painful, ugly, and long...I won’t sugar coat it. But, isn’t it worth it if you can kill just one cancer cell? I will fight skin cancer the rest of my life, so say my doctors, but I'm not gonna give in to it and take a chance it could take my life.  I hope by me journaling my journey in this treatment that it helped at least one person in their fight with SKIN CANCER.
~Update May 5, 2011~
Check back this Summer. I will be taking another round of treatment with Efudex

~August 16, 2011~
Well, its time for round two.  My Oncologist has seen me twice in two months for my breast and finally said I wont have to come back for 10 months so now its time to start round two on my face....this Sunday. I am a bit nervous this round. Its really hot and humid here in Louisiana with record breaking temps of over 100 degrees and some days like today, 111 or more. That will be hard on my face when the pain sets in. I will have to shorten my morning walking and most likely stop all together the second week! We'll see, and when I do I will still walk indoors. Last September when I did this it wasn't so hot and I was able to get in those 6 am walks for up to three weeks.  I'm also nervous about the pain this time. There are several places I will treat across the forehead, both cheeks, and nose. I'm sure that will attack the other places not seen as before. 
This round I will treat where I had cancer surgery between my eyes and nose. That place has been trying to come back. I will see my dermatologist half way threw the procedure to make sure all is going well. I will not be showing a daily photo this round but will post photos now and then as needed. Keep checking back for updates.
~August 21, 2011~
Click here to read Round Two begins

~August 24, 2011~
Three days into this now and the only change is redness in the face, with some itching.  My chin is beginning to look very dry and rashly. I had two restless nights for some reason. I think its the fact that I have to sleep on my back with this on my face. I'm still able to get my morning walks in but its dark when I leave the house.  May have to stop next week. 
~August 26, 2011~
Day five of my treatment with Efudex and as you can see the red and itchy spots are beginning to form. They are on my chin, cheeks, and forehead. I haven't had a good nights sleep since I started. The itching wakes me up almost every hour on the hour. I will have to take a sleep aid soon and I really don't like taking them. If you look back on day five and six from my first time around, I am right on schedule and  still in phase one...Early inflammatory phase: During the first week of application, mild inflammation occurs.
~August 28, 2011~
Here it is , day seven and I am getting close to the end of phase two...Inflammatory phase: During the following weeks, redness, and swelling occur with some crusting  and  burning. The pain has been intense the last two days. It is making me nauseous this round. Sleep is still hard to get for a full night. The pain is like your worse sunburn, if you can remember that. Makes me think back to those many sunburns as a child where I had water blisters from the burns. My nose is starting to swell and it makes it hard to breath at night. I have to put a piece of sterile gauze under the nose rim of my glasses to wear them because it hurts too much for them to touch my face. My doctor says I am right on track and everything is going well. Easy for him to say, I'm the one with the burning face and the ugliness of pre-cancer cells being attacked by the treatment. This next week will begin the next phase and be the worse of the four phases. I don't think I can do this again.

 ~August 30, 2011~
Today makes nine days...nine days that I'll never get back! Yesterday was the most painful day for me and today is feeling more of the same. My face feels like its being cut with tiny razor blades. As you can see from the close up of my chin , Its really blistered and red. My whole face is this way. I hope my face gets to phase three soon.
~August 31, 2011~
Day ten and I am in so much pain. Hard to open my mouth from the stiffness because it causes bleeding cracks. My face shows it all...ugly and so embarrassing. This cant be over soon enough for me!
~September 2, 2011~
Today is some better. I am not in as much pain as the last two days. Its beginning to ease some. The redness is still there but under the many brown and cracking sores. They seem to be the first signs of phase three...Tumor disintegration phase: Lesions resolve as the skin exfoliates. I can eat today without having to cut my food in tiny bird size pieces just to get it in my mouth.  My nose and eyes are still swollen. Once the skin exfoliates it will have new pink skin underneath and will be on its way to recovery. For every red spot you saw in the last posting, those were pre cancers.  I can safely say I am half way done and hopefully in two weeks will be able to
face the world again.  
~September 4, 2011~
Day fifteen is finally a better one. I had two bad days of infection which swelled my eyes to almost shut and my cheeks the size of big lemons. The pain has finally stopped yesterday. Peeling has been a lot. My face looks like it was a chemical burn of 3rd degree or more. Very, very red and dry. There is no moisture. I tried to apply Eucerin but had to remove almost immediately because it burned so bad.  This round was truly different from the first time I treated and very hard on me. I am in  phase four...Healing phase: Over 1 to 2 weeks, new skin grows into the treatment area.   
~September 7, 2011~
Day eighteen and still red. My face is still peeling and pink skin is showing. I am able to walk out doors again and the early morning air feels really good on my face. I will call the doctor today to find out about a moisturizer. I need to get one soon and start applying it to keep the dryness down. I will post a new photo soon so check back ...
~September 11, 2011~
Day twenty seven and I finally left my home! Yea! This has been a nightmare! My skin is peeling only lightly and looks like a light sunburn.  There is some discoloring on the forehead which can be seen in these photos. It will soon fade. It is still dry and I am using a moisturizer at night by Eucerin.  After two rounds with Efudex I can still say ...IT WORKS ON PRE CANCER CELLS.
Will I do it again... properly not. My Dermatologist says I need to treat any area I find and that I will fight this the rest of my life. I have been through freeze's, burn's, biopsy's, surgery's,  and chemo.   Well have to wait and see what the future holds...
Cryotherapy for skin cancer
If the cancer is very small and only affecting the surface layers of the skin, it may be possible to remove it by freezing it. 
This is called cryotherapy or cryosurgery It is used to try and kill abnormal cells either cancer or precancerous. My doctor uses liquid nitrogen on precancerous skin issues to freeze and kill the cells. The skin will later blister and shed off. This procedure will sometimes leave a white scar. More than one freezing may be needed as in my case. I have had so many freeze procedures that I quit counting them as the years have gone by. Yesterday I had eleven areas done by freezing. Talk about on fire when I left my dermatologist office. I won't sugar coat it...its painful! Three of the eleven areas were flagged for three months from today to have biopsy's if the freeze did not work. They are ...
  I always get emotional after I leave my dermatologist office because I am over whelmed with the never ending process that effects my body. I ask my doctor every time I see him, "How many more?" His response is always the same..."You will fight this the rest of your life."
I can not blame anyone but myself for what I have done to me by being unprotected all those times in the sun, getting sun burn after sun burn and then laying in tanning beds when I was older. How foolish! I wish I could go back and undo the wrong but I can't. Its too late! But if your reading my journey and fight, and looking at all the photos of what it has done to me....then its not too late for you! Take time to put on sunscreen or a hat! Don't lay out in the sun to get a tan or in a tanning bed to look good to your peers. Your only hurting yourself .
This is what skin cancer can do...either pre-cancer, Basel cell, or melanoma....Cancer is cancer, call it what it is!

December 31, 2012 update:
Right Shoulder Biopsy done this morning at 6:30. .who does that? Who rings in the year with a doctors appointment? Da! Me!
I will know the results next week some time. In the meantime, I'm ringing in the New Year with the hubby, dinner, and a show.
Happy New Year 2013

~March 30, 2018~
Its been awhile since I have updated my journal. Things haven't changed as far as two to three checkups a year and many more pre cancer spots were frozen. I will be going to a new Dermatologist after all these years this July since my long term doctor is retiring. 
~April 4, 2018~
New Dermatologist after all these years of seeing Mine that had finally retired. I really like him...Dr. Josh Mandrell in Ruston, La.
He is up to date on all the new equipment. Did 2 Biopsy’s and 4 freeze burns . One of the freezes are close to my eye and the beginnings of a black eye are showing. The big one on my leg and forehead were the two biopsy’s . 
When will it end? Now I just wait for the results.... 

April 9, 2018- got a phone call that both biopsy's came back Basal Cell Carcinoma with feelers. This means the cells are out of boundaries. Surgery is scheduled this next week.

~April 14, 2018~
Two weeks ago today, I went to my new Dermatologist. Going to the dermatologist is not anything new and I never know what to expect every time. This day it was four precancers that were feezed burned and two biopsy's, one on my forehead and one on my left arm. The freezes were on both cheeks, right eye in the corner, and on my right leg. Two days later, the nurse called and tells me both Biopsy's came back. They are both Basal Cell Carcinoma's with margins so I need to come back . The doctor wants to do Mohs Surgery.
  Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Mohs surgery is also known as Mohs micrographic surgery. The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove as much of the skin cancer as possible, while doing minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Mohs surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic. Mohs surgery is an improvement to standard surgery (local excision), which involves removing the visible cancer and a small margin of surrounding healthy tissue all at once. Mohs surgery allows surgeons to verify that all cancer cells have been removed at the time of surgery. This increases the chance of a cure and reduces the need for additional treatments or additional surgery. 

So, this morning I drove to Ruston, Louisiana for surgery. Areas cleaned and prepped. After deadening with several bee sting shots to numb the area, Skin is removed and about 3 centimeters. Covered with a bandage and then wait while the skin layer is being examined in the lab. Doctor returned with good news, that the area was clean from cancer cells. Both areas are coitized and burned and then stitched inside and outside. Surgery was done in a couple of hours. I finally was released and will return a week from Monday to remove the stitches.


I will be seeing this new doctor every three months for a while. One day, hopefully. I wont have anymore   basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, as well as some Surgery's, Biopsy's, and other more unusual skin cancers.
October 5, 2018

Two weeks ago after seeing my Dermatologist's , I sat in his parking lot fighting back the tears again. I will not cry.... I will not cry.... I've been through this so many times. This visit there were seven. Four were freeze burned and three were biopsied. Its that same old waiting game again.

  I can’t get off this Ferris wheel. Goes round and round, stops at the top, and finally moves a bit... Then back to the top and gets stuck.  Then the phone rings and I hear the nurse say to come in for surgery and as always the rest seems like a fog. Two of the three Biopsy's came back Basel Cell Carcinoma with malignant feeler margins.... so I’m stuck on this Ferris wheel for now

Mohs Surgery was scheduled and this morning my sweet husband went with me to Ruston, Louisiana to the hospital. Its never the same and yet it is. I dressed I my hospital gown and sat in the surgery chair.

The room is cold and instruments and medical equipment surround me. The Doctor comes in and we talk about the pathologist report on the two biopsy's. I'm then lowered down to a table position and my eyes taped close. You know the drill, Mrs. Hall. Couple of big sticks and we will start on the one under your eye. Cant feel anything now except the pressure of the tugging and the strange feeling while the blade cuts the incision. Doesn't hurt thou. My Doctor slices two layers, thin, like that of an onion skin. Then he cauterizes the area. The next step is to get those layers to lab to test the margins. I wait on the table all alone. The room is still cold and the silence surrounds me. Its peaceful. 
I imagine what it would be like laying in a morgue, waiting my turn. Its weird, right? But in that room alone for over thirty minutes, I wait, very still....and its so quite. The door opens suddenly and my Doctor pops in long enough to tell me good news..."I got it all and Ill be right back to close you up and do the one on your chest."  He is gone only a minute or so and he and his nurse drape my eyes again and the Ferris wheel moves to the top again...

The  shots, the cut, the wait, the stitches. The wheel starts to move and the ride comes to a stop. We will see you next Friday to remove all your stitches.

My husband is in the waiting room and as I come back through the doors, he smiles, and I give him the good news. I wont get that hour and a half back in my life that time stood still in that cold and silent room. But at this moment, as I look up at his eyes, I know he had my back, the doctor had my health, But God held my hand and he heard and answered my prayers today.

Yes, I will continue to fight this. day alter day, Month after month. There will be other Mohs Surgery's, more freezes, and a lot of Ferris wheels to ride on. But I wont be alone.

June 3, 2019

Here I am again in my so familiar spot of my life. Another biopsy came back, in all places, dead center of an old one located on my back. I’m sitting here waiting in this sterile room, with only the sound of my heart pounding in my ears, as I wait for another surgery. My mind wonders of the what if’s, the why me’s, and the how many more’s. Then as I ask God to hold my hand, he takes control, and the peace in this room surrounds me...
“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. “ Phil 4:13 — at Northern Louisiana Medical 
All margins were clear

August 15, 2019

Today I had my first treatment with Levulan Kerastick topical solution and then put under the Blu-U Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy.
I was so nervous of the unknow and all the stories I had read on the internet. It wasn't a pleasant appointment because even thou I had a 10 am appointment, it was 12:30 before I was even put in the Blu-U room and then I was told my doctor was in surgery and I had to wait another thirty minutes. Finally, he came in and freeze burned 7 areas on my face.
He also explained that now the drug company that makes the Levulan Kerastick topical solution was getting way too many complaints about the pain the drug was causing when you apply the drug and wait the three hours or more and then under the light for fifteen minutes. So now they have approved to leave the procedure up to the Dermatologist and patient. You can choose to flip the incubation time to fifteen minutes after applied and one hour under the light. Results will be the same except less pain.
I had the new way. My doctor did both arms today. Felt no pain, nothing bad. Two tubes were used for my arms, waited the fifteen minutes, sat under the light one hour. Then, sunscreen was applied and I left wearing long sleeves. Sunlight seemed a little bright to my eyes and the heat outside a little strong, but other than that....nothing. I had no pain and felt fine. You can see how bright the light is and where I held my arms.

Some people never read my whole journey I have been through. They never get this far down on the page.
 From 1995 to 2019, I have shared and hoped that my story, my ugly and embarrassing photos would help someone who is searching the internet for what they are going through or an answer to a question. But most important, I hope it saved that one person to stop getting in the tanning bed to look good at the prom. To stop that one person to stop laying in the sun on the beach or pool for hours with oil all over them. To stop someone who says they wont wear a hat because it will mess up their hair. To stop saying they don't have to cover up because they tan and never burn. I will always take precautions in the sun and with my grandchildren I will protect them in the sun and still teach them they can still be in the sun. But....I will not continue my fight with treatments, procedures, freezes, and surgery's. You can read My story...
 To everyone on their own journey, I pray God will heal you. I pray he will take everyone's Cancers away. Ask him. He is there with you. Never stop believing. I haven't, I'm just done and turning it over to my Lord and Savior now.
Thank you for everyone's prayers and support all these years.
So we begin again. Its like I never stopped 
September 23, 2020

Squamous cell carcinoma

September 23, 2020 I saw Dr. Heard, my new dermatologist for my three month body check. As we talked, I pointed the spots out that I already knew were on my face, arms, and chest. It’s like playing dot to dot on a road map, while the doctor freeze burns each one plus some he finds. All in all, this visit ... 25 burned and one biopsy near the left side of my nose and cheek. He did the scoop method after numbing the area. Bandage it up and he tells me he will see me in three months.

In a few days, I get the call from his nurse and without her even finishing the first sentence, I knew ! It’s Squamous cell carcinoma , Mrs Hall.

The Doctor wants to schedule a Mohs surgery. Seems like every time a biopsy is done they call me with bad results....

So this past Monday, October 19, I go in for Mohn’s surgery. Dr. Heard numbed and cut the area open and after taking the one thin slice for the pathology to be done, he left to read the slide for margins. He was gone for about 25 minutes and returned to the room with good news ... “Got it all, only one layer.”

Another one bites the dust!!!!

He stitched me up I will return to his office in eight days to remove stitches and then return again in December for my three month dot to dot road map tour.

June 8, 2021

Since my last surgery I have gone to Dr. Heard every three months for many more areas to be treated with Liquid Nitrogen. So many and too many to keep up with these days. This past week I went in for the normal follow the spots and freezes for fifteen areas and one needed a biopsy. When I checked my records online yesterday, I read the results. Basel Cell Carcinoma. I had already suspected that would be the results. I will get the call this week with more details of another Mohs Surgery. This one is on my forehead to the left.  I'll update then.

July 26, 2021

 Surgery day

Surgery went well.. 
update.... August 27, 2021
Stitches while in the first two weeks did not go well. One came undone and caused infection and so I was put on an antibiotic. Went back two days later because I woke up to the surgery area wide open and bleeding. They put suture strips on it to try and close it back. That didn't work. They came off four days later. Now here it is a month has gone by and it's still open and bleeding. 

January 9, 2023
Haven't updated on my journey in a long time. I've been to my dermatologist several times and just like last week I always leave his office with countless precancerous burned off. I had a couple of biopsies done towards the end of 2022 , one which was Basel Cell and the other Squamous. I'm still going in every three months. Last weeks visit was 15 burned off. Face, neck, arms, and hand. 

April 21, 2023

Yesterday was my three month regular trip to see my dermatologist. This trip was only twelve freeze burned and then two biopsies. One biopsy had a plug so now I do the waiting game for the phone call. Just another regular visit.... will update when I get the call.
Right cheek 
Left temple 

April 27, 2023 results 
 Just as I suspected...Will schedule Mohn's surgery for # 1 results 

May 15, 2023

Today I had a Moh's surgery for the biopsy on my right upper cheek that came back with invasive squamous cancer cells. I had a feeling about the biopsy that day, that it would come back not good. 

So today I was scheduled at 10 a.m.   Dr. Heard had a busy surgery schedule and before he started on the Mohs we talked about the other Mohs that was about in that same area.  He gave me several shots, which took almost instantly. He cut out the first layer and after cortarized and a bandage applied for now. I was a little nervous when he left the room to go to the lab and check the margins.  I waited in the room in silence for some time. My thoughts were on the many times I've played this waiting game for results. It always feels like the clock stops...

Doctor Heard opened the door and with a smile, he said, " we got it all". That's good news. A blessing to always hear. I know there will come a day that the door will open and the doctor will have those ugly words to tell me. I will stay positive, keep advocating towards helping others with my blog posts, and keep holding on to Gods hand to get me through this. 

Today, Dr. Heard got it all. He stitched me up, I think 10 stitches. His nurse bandaged my face and I'll return the 23rd to have the stitches out. 

Black eye from the stitches is almost gone. Go Tuesday to get stitches out. Can't wait... it's hard to sleep on one 

October 31, 2023

Had my regular three month check up with Dr. Heard and as it always goes he gets that can of liquid nitrogen in hand and  together we follow the road map of pre cancers. .. 

Only 12 today, five on my arms and 7 on my face. Good news though is that I didn’t have any this time that needed biopsy’s. 

This year is done and he said he’d seen me in 2024… like I didn’t know that was coming. Story of my life for the last 28 years of fight skin cancer!


  1. Julie said...

    My heart aches for you as I read this! I can not even imagine the anguish you and your family have been through. I have lost one grandfather and am currently loosing the other due to cancer. But that word doesn't scare me anymore and here's why: You mentioned a faith in God - can I persuade you to reference a Bible verse? Genisis 1:29 This is God's original diet for mankind.
    There are many testimonies of people healing their skin cancer (and many other diseases) by adopting a diet similar to this one. Specifically, The Hallelujah Diet. This is what I eat - click on my food log on NM. I could type about this for hours, but I will let you see for yourself. Please see and visit the testimonies section. You will be amazed! One person even had skin cancer in the very same spot (between their eyes) and refused surgery. Instead, they adopted The Hallelujah diet and all of their cancer vanished permanently!!!

    May God bless you richly now and in the future.

  2. Julie,
    Thank you for the kind words. I will visit the site you gave me and read about cancer. I, like you could go on about it so much. I wish I had taken better care of my self when I was younger. We never do until its too late! Thank you also for the scripture. I will be sure and study that. By the way, what is your NM name so I can look at your food log?

  3. I hope the weeks go by fast for you ! I'm so sorry u are having to go through all this ! I pray for you and dad to get well soon ! . I love u both ! you need anything Ill try to get it to u .... Maybe a diet dr p. good luck with this ! I love u !

  4. I hope so too. I dont want to get to be a scary monster for my grandbaby. I may take you up on that DP in the weeks to come. I luv U !!! :-)

  5. Wow Betty, you are amazing. I am praying that you get well VERY SOON! I am so proud of how my little sister can blog such interesting topics. It took your experience with skin cancer to open my eyes. Because of you I don't think I can enjoy basting in the sun again, and you know how I have always enjoyed tanning. This doesn't seem so important to me anymore. Get well & keep up the great blog!!! I am looking forward to reading it each day during your experience with that cream. I love you very much sis.

  6. Hang in there Sis! I KNOW you can get through this.

  7. u should have had poppa go out with her or told her you couldnt be out in the sun . Im so sorry !
    We missed you at church today !

  8. You look so cute in these pictures......ha...I think you are very brave. I don't know if I could do it. I guess if I wanted to get rid of those nasty cancer thingies than I would.

  9. I wont look so cute in a couple of days! Those cancer thingies are starting to show. Its embarrassing already. I wouldnt put these on here at all, but it might help someone who sees this and has skin cancer.

  10. mom so sorry you are embarrased ! me dad & sis dont care what u look like . we love u !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Oh Man!!!! I hope you are in to much pain!!! I feel sooooooo bad for you. Hang in the Sis! I love you.

  12. Dad & I l are looking at your pictures this morning. Wooooo.....He say's you need to stop...hahah. It looks like it hurts. I hope you feel ok. Hang in there!

  13. tryed to to look at his clip but it keep hanging up . you may have not felt better today but you did look better !

  14. Wow! I looked at the two men from the day 5 post . U was luck ! that 2 man ....MAN !!!

  15. I am sorry you have to tolerate spam and mean comments from SOME people. It only shows there are a lot of ignorant people out there in Web-land.
    Wishing you a complete had quick recovery. Thank you for sharing. It helps.

    JC Steele

    Sorry you had to get out and face people yesterday ! hope your face feels better to night ! I love you !

  17. Betty, I was rereading the comments others wrote & I noticed a type o on one of my previous comments where I said "Oh Man!!!! I hope you are in to much pain!!! I feel sooooooo bad for you. Hang in the Sis! I love you." I did NOT mean I hope you are in to much pain...I met to write..."I hope you are NOT in to much pain"...sorry about that. Anyway, I hope you get back to normal sooooooooooon. It really looks painful. I pray James is going to get better soon. You both have been through a lot. love you.

  18. It is starting to look better. Looks like you are healing.

  19. I'm glad it is feeling better ! maybe not much longer .

  20. your face look real good today !
    where is the first place you are going to go after all this ....Walmart ? hahahaha !

  21. Scott Told me about your journey, My heart feels for you. I did the same for 30 days. 2 years ago. I work in surgery with Scott. He said he was going to send you my journal but it is the same as yours only longer and misreble. I did want to tell you that the "birdbath" can be repaired by a good plastic surgeon and because it is reconstructive, Insurance should pay for it. It would require lifting the scalp from the skull (General surgery under anesthesia) and approximating the edges. It would leave a small linear scar with no hairline gap. It can be done if you choose. I hope you find your new face as clear and cancer free as I did. Elie Suida

  22. Elenor,
    Thank you! I saw your own journal of your cancer treatment. I;m sure, you like my self would never have done the journal if it werent to help just one person. That was hard for both of us! My surgeon did tell me about the surgery for my head,but after I saw the inserts and the deformed look and that it would be that way for at least six months as they kept moving the inserts to stretch the skin....I could'nt do it. It also was thousands of dollars and my insurance would'nt pay for it. May be if I had been told back then i would have done it, but I have lived with my birdbath all these years and have excepted it. As you see in my photos, I do have a bump left at the bottom of my scar between my eyes. I can also live with that. It beats two birdbaths! I hope you will follow and join my blog! Take care and stay cancer free!

  23. so happy that the time went by fast ! Welcome back !!!

  24. Wow Betty, you look great! I am seeing my Dr. tomorrow about the procedure I told you about. I'll keep you posted.

  25. You look normal again! Welcome ya.

  26. Yes, let me chime in and say you look Grrreeeeaatt!! Be Glad when Margie nightmare is over with i know she is in pain also! you two went through a lot trying to get rid of that skin cancer....Love Renea

  27. Wow, Betty! You look so good. I am so anxious to be at that level again. I enjoyed the note Jim wrote you. He sounds like a nice guy & I am glad he had a chance to see your blog. His was pretty interesting too!

  28. Good therapy to document the ordeal! and you're helping others!

    What a rough trial you have had to endure. You're a strong beautiful woman! I've been cancer free for a while now, but knowing there may be more always lingers in the back of my thoughts. I'm grateful that I have a faithful God to see me through!

    Keep your chin up!

  29. I am going today with my Angie to check and see if she has brest cancer. I am praying she will be cancer free......Love

  30. Wow, Betty. You have been through so much. I am so glad you are getting good care though. I appreciate you sharing your story with us. Jana

  31. Wish you a great journey with the strong fight that you are already giving.It is a hard journey but life is hard for everyone be it health or otherwise.Good medicines that must help you.All the very best for life.

  32. WOW Sweetie, I read this part last night and reread it again. I watched the video I found somewheres where the guy was doing same thing.

    I can't even imagine the pain. I had tears flowing as I read about your pain and my heart aches for you.

    As I read your complaints about not being beautiful, I honestly didn't think it was so horrific. You are still beautiful, inside and out. God is with you in this trying time as all of your followers. I'll be keeping tabs. Email me what part of La you are at if you'd like.

  33. I know it is painful! It will soon be over with and you will be glad!!I have to get my appt. he wants me to come in and also get it done. I have one in my hair line that needs to be burned off i keep pealing it off and the next day it will be back again. No, we have not sold the house yet maybe some day. Here Ye Here Ye I have two houses for sale and 5 acres of land all for $175,000 all redone. ha ha Take care!! Love

  34. Bless your heart! You are so strong to go through this and share with others. My prayers are with you.

  35. This looks worse then the other times. I know you will be Glad when this is over. Love

  36. sorry i havent been there for you ! hope its over soon ! love

  37. Give us and update Betty how are u doing? Love

  38. You look great Sis. Glad you can wear makeup again..Can't wait to see you in Dec.

  39. wow, I hope that I can be half as brave as you were going through this terrible treatment! Your sister, Marje, is helping me through these first "dark" days of treatment with levulan kerastick. I was wondering why you didn't opt for it as it is said to be so much quicker. Thanks so much for your blog., you are helping a lot of people!

  40. You are so brave to post your journey with cancer. Your sister, Marje, is helping me as I recover from Levulan Kerastick for mine. I was wondering why you chose the slower working creM over the levulan? Thanks for blogging, you are comforting others by sharing your story!

    1. Thanks for reading my blog, Becki. I hope you will come back and click on follow and follow my blogs. I hope you have an easier time with the light treatment. I have had so many skin cancers that the light treatment wont help me. True, they both kill pre cancers and they both hurt. I think the chemo cream hurts worse because you have to go through the 4 stages , and the worse stage is the one I described as the feeling of razer blades.
      I'm not trying to scare you but the truth is they both hurt and I cant sugar coat it. I did not put that cream on my entire face but spots that needed it and as you see, it ended attacking almost my whole face and worse the second round. My doctor wants me to treat areas from now on as I find them, only thing is I find many. I will be going back to the doctor next week because where I had the two surgery's between my eyes, I have three spots that have come up on the same area. I will update my blog with my decision of treatment.
      Let me and Margie know how your doing. Hang in there, you can do this! I also post on my other blog click here
      about efudex and have guest bloggers write from time to time. Check it out!

  41. You go girl! Thanks for sharing. Phil 4:6

  42. AnonymousMay 10, 2013

    You are a strong beautiful women keep positive as god is on your side .god bless and i will pray for u love janey

  43. Thank you for this Journal, I am soooo scared as I now have squamous cell carcinoma on my skull and will require surgery, but think there is hope after seeing what you have gone through and how beautiful you look today.THANK YOU MARK

  44. I am going to start this process soon. I have had a couple of non-melanoma lesions on my face which resulted in MOHs surgery. I am starting to look like Frankenstein. My dermatologist suggested the fu-5 treatment. I have read a lot of blogs and it is always the same story, complete misery as people work through the treatment, then great results with smiles in the end. I was worried but, thank God for people like you who share their experiences. It gives us an idea of what to expect, and allows us to see the success of the treatment. Thank you for your journal.

    1. Thank you for your kinds words. Hope your treatment goes well. Come back and let my readers and I know how you did.

  45. I have just been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma and a precancerous growth on my lip extending to just above it about 1/2 in. Very worried......

  46. I hope you heal quickly! I wish I had more information about skin cancer when I was young.