2018 is off to a great start! *dramatic eyeroll* It is actually one of the most annoying starts to a new year I’ve had. Besides still being married (despite two years of actively attempting to get divorced), going through a breakup after an amazing year long relationship, and allowing my child to have overnights with his father for the first time in about two years (this is harder than it sounds), I also started a new skin cancer treatment on my face. Yay!
I actually am pretty excited about the treatment. There is something so gratifying about killing cancerous cells in your body. The area I am treating has been causing trouble for about 6 years now. It started with a tiny little dry spot on my lip sometime around 2012 It was on my left upper lip, close to the vermilion border. It was simply a dry “patch” that would not go away. I picked and scratched it off, and it came back practically overnight. I lubed it up with every lotion on the market, it remained dry. When I went in for my annual exam that year we chose liquid nitrogen for treatment. This took care of the dry spot, although it did leave me with permanent loss of pigmentation on the treated area. This "white spot" has grown to annoy me over the years, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing. I fill the area in with a nude lip liner if it’s particularly pissing me off that day. Moving on to 2014, the year I completed a six week course of imiquimod treatment on my face. This area on and around my lip reacted strongly to the targeted immunomodulator. I was, again, happy to be treating these lurking asshole cancer cells. Since completing the imiquimod treatment, the area was of no concern until October of last year. This time it began as a dry patch of skin on and above my left upper lip. I used all the lotions, creams, ointments, eczema + psoriasis treatments, yet the area remained extremely dry and scaly. I exfoliated, to the point that I contracted a secondary infection (this is my luck, folks) which ended up looking like poison ivy and then briefly resembled a cold sore (which I have not previously had) so I treated the area for those things as well as with a round of antibiotics. The infection and/or irritation eventually subsided, but the dry patch remained. Without a history of skin cancer, this area may have been overlooked for quite some time. These symptoms are not the typical when you think of skin cancer, this is why I like to share my experience and help educate others, and maybe even save a lip or a life. I went in for my annual skin exam and told my dermatologist all the things about the patch. We decided to go with a topical treatment that I had not previously used. She prescribed fluorouracil, which is a topical chemotherapy cream. It is sold and recognized by the names Carac, Effudex, 5-FU, etc. I’m currently about halfway through the six week treatment and look forward to sharing more about my experience soon. Despite my whining, I am so very grateful that all I have lost at this point is some pigmentation on my lip. Things could always be much, much worse. I've not yet had a scalpel near my face, and I hope to avoid that for as long as possible.