Tag Archives: squamous cell carcinoma

Surgery Blog

I got the kids dropped off a little later than I had planned, and my little boy wasn’t very happy about going to school today. I got caught in the tail end of rush hour traffic, but made it to my appointment on time. I had downloaded all the paperwork and filled it out last night, so I was in the waiting room about three minutes before I was called back. When I made the appointment, they had said bring a lunch, so I packed myself a nice little sandwich and some fruit. Of course I ran out the door and left my lunch on the kitchen counter and my cell phone in the charger.

The doctor came in and took some photos and removed the lesion. It was quick and easy, but they have to look at it under the microscope to see if they need to take some more or if they can stitch it up. That may take about 40 minutes. Even though it was a procedure with a local, I do feel a little shaky. Maybe it is the epinepherine. The doc is very nice and I asked her about the keratoacanthoma vs. basal cell carcinoma. She said that it is not uncommon to see a combination of basal cell and squamous cell lesions. The keratoacanthoma falls into the squamous cell camp. I told her the lesion was 7 – 8 weeks old and she said it wasn’t a basal cell. It would take a year for a basal cell to get that big. So now I’m sitting in the waiting area with several people who appear to be in their 70s. One man is watching a show about cattle mutilations on the History Channel. Surely Hogzilla is next.

They had to take another piece, so I went back in to the exam room and the doctor scooped out a little bit more, just a couple of millimeters or so thick. She confirmed that it was definitely squamous cell, no basal cell at all. Now I’m back in the waiting room and the other people are watching The Price is Right. I hope this huge bandage doesn’t frighten the children.

I went in to have stitches. The doctor showed me the incision with a hand mirror. She had taken out a not quite quarter-sized circle about a quarter inch deep. She had drawn around it with a marker, explaining that she could just sew the edges together, but it would pucker, so she was going to cut a little way up and a little way down so there is a what amounts to an extra triangle on top and one on bottom (as my friend pointed out, it’s just a dart). I tried not to laugh out loud when the nurse told me not to lift anything heavy until the stitches come out in a week (my two-year old isn’t buying the doctor’s orders bit).  I have to go back next week to have the stitches removed, then that should be the end of it.

Lesion of Doom

Okay, it isn’t really that bad. The doc said there was no point in a biopsy: the lesion needs to go and they always analyze it after surgery, anyway. She thinks it is probably a basal cell carcinoma. Sounds kind of scary, but the mortality rate for non-melanoma skin cancer is about 0.44 per 100,000, and most of those are from squamous cell carcinoma. I was at much greater risk having children, where the US maternal mortality rate is about 17 per 100,000. I already have the article halfway written, in my head. Obviously, I can’t finish it until at least next Thursday. That gives me time to go buy some magazines…
Over the weekend, we went to Austin. We saw Hamilton Pool (and a rabid raccoon), McKinney Falls, the Austin Zoo, and the sleeper attraction: Kiddie Acres. It has been around for a long time, and shows its age a little, but it is a lovingly tended family owned business. And it is perfect for little kids. My daughter loved it so much that we went back a second day. They had a boats-that-go-in-a-circle-in-a-water-trough ride that reminded me of when my cousin and I used to go to Peppermint Park when we were little. While waiting for one of the rides to finish, one of the parents said to me, “This looks like the kind of amusement park they always have in horror movies.” I don’t know; there weren’t any creepy clowns. But what a great idea for a setting (mayhem on the midway, anyone?). We also saw a two story limestone house on a trailer being moved (veeeerrrrrrry slowly) down the road. On the way back, we saw it was being relocated to a ranch with a big sign that said “Wedding ” on the gate. Sounds like a writing prompt. We drove home via San Marcos and saw Wonderland Cave and its attendant attractions, then stopped at the Snake Farm just outside of San Antonio. The animals looked healthy, but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the huge old hog in the petting zoo. He was in a roomy shed bedded with lots of hay, but I wasn’t sure that he was able to stand up. I hoped his name wasn’t Wilbur.