I’ve written before about my experiences with Mohs micrographic surgery for skin cancer but since skin cancer is such a common occurence among senior citizens my report may be of help to other old folks. (Yesterday, in the waiting room, there were three old men, one with a bandage on his nose, another on his forehead,and the third on his right arm.) I had had a biopsy of a lesion on my right cheek several weeks ago and it came back with a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. I was told to bring someone with me to drive me home after the surgery since the pressure bandages under my right eye would be likely to obscure my vision. They were right about that!

The doctor first drew a circle about the spot where the biopsy was done, as well as a line indicating the direction for the final sutures.  The nurse injected me with anesthetic, draped my head with a hole to allow the procedure, and turned on a bright light overhead.  Doc then came in and proceded to remove tissue, quite painlessly.  Nurse applied great big pressure bandage and sent me the waiting room to await microscopic exam on the removed tissue.  By this time, my coffee in the waiting room had cooled down and was very welcome.   I had brought food with me but had no appetite for it.

About an hour later I was called back it with the happy information that the edges were clear of cancer and I could be sewn up.  Back to the drape and the lights and more anesthetic and Doc proceded to stitch me up.  All I could feel was a little tugging.  It seemed there were lots of stitches and the final suture line was measured  at 3.5 cm.  More pressure bandages, good-bye, go home, come back in a week for suture removal.

At home I was to strictly limit activites for 24 hours.  Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes each hour for the rest of the day.    “If surgery is performed on head, face, or neck, AVOID STOOPING OR BENDING, AVOID STRAINING WITH BOWEL, MOVEMENTS, SLEEP WITH AN EXTRA PILLOW TO ELEVATE YOUR HEAD.”  I could take Tylenol if needed for pain.  No Ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil, Excedrin or any products containing aspirin.   I did not feel my discomfort needed medication.

After 24 hours remove pressure bandage, wash with gentle soap and water, apply Vaseline and a bandage.  ONLY IF a bloody crust develops over the wound site, add one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to a cup of water and clease the would with this solution.  My surgical site really looked quite messy and bloody, as if blood had oozed from each stitch. and  I was afraid to wash it, fearing it might bleed.  But I did, and it didn’t, and I proceeded with the peroxide solution which helped the appearance considerably.  On with Vaseline and a bandage, and that is where I am right now.

I can finally wear my glasses and see what I’m doing on the computer.  For the time being, I am content with my progress and, God willing, stitches will be out in a week.  Thanks for listening and may your Mohs go as well.