Jul 20, 2013

An encounter with skin cancer

Last June 15, 2013, I went to my dermatologist to have my mole removed.  I’ve been planning to have this surgery for a long time but due to many reasons It has never become my priority.  I eventually decided to have it done because this mole was painful sometimes, especially if it does not like the soap I’m using or anything that touches it. So there I was on the table fully conscious as the doctor injected anaesthesia on it after which she prick it with a needle to test if it still hurts.  She kept on asking me if I feel anything when she did it, I kept telling her that it hurts a bit but it is tolerable. So she did her thing, performing the incision to remove the mole and we decided to have a skin biopsy on the skin sample. Then she stitches it with a thick strong surgical thread just to ensure that it will not break open, by the way it’s three stitches.  My mole is located on my upper trunk (on my back).   She have prescribed that I take 500 mg. Cephalexin three times a day for one week to aid in the healing of the wound.  She told me that she will just call me if the result of the skin biopsy is already available.  After eight days I went back to the clinic to have the surgical thread removed.  After that I forget about it but then last July 12, 2013 her secretary text me and told me that my doctor ask for me to visit her in her clinic because of the result of the skin biopsy.  I became worried because she told me before in her clinic during the incision that she will just call or text me if there is something to worry about with the result. I did not get there right away because during that time my son got admitted in the hospital because of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.  Life sometimes tests you…but of course you just have to be strong. So I finally got there the day after my son got discharge from the hospital on July 16, 2013 and got the news. 
My dermatologist explained that the mole that was removed is consistent with Basal Cell Carcinoma, a type of skin cancer but there is nothing to worry about.  She inspected the scar and prescribed Imiquimod cream to be applied every other night for three months.  She said that skin cancer is different from other cancer because usually when it is removed it is already cured but there is also a possibility of recurrence.  She advised me to visit her clinic every six months so that she can inspect my skin if ever it will reoccur. 
close up picture of the scar
I had this mole for more than fifteen years and I only found out now that it was cancerous, but of course I had my doubts because unlike my other moles it’s colour is more like flesh and sometime it forms a crust over it and got easily irritated.  I read on the internet about this type of skin cancer and here are some of the facts. 
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. More than two million cases of this skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year.
This skin cancer usually develops on skin that gets sun exposure, such as on the head, neck, and back of the hands. BCC is especially common on the face, often forming on the nose. It is possible to get BCC on any part of the body, including the trunk, legs, and arms.

People who use tanning beds have a much higher risk of getting BCC. They also tend to get BCC earlier in life.
This type of skin cancer grows slowly. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Treatment is important because BCC can grow wide and deep, destroying skin tissue and bone. 

Basal cell carcinoma: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome

The only way to diagnose any type of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC), is with a skin biopsy. Your dermatologist can perform this procedure during an office visit.
A skin biopsy should not cause anxiety. To perform a skin biopsy, your dermatologist will remove the entire growth or part of it. Your dermatologist may send this to a laboratory or look at it under a microscope. The findings will be communicated in a biopsy report.
If the biopsy report states that you have BCC, your dermatologist will consider many factors to determine which treatment will be best for you. There are several ways to treat BCC:
Excision: This is a surgical procedure that your dermatologist often can perform during an office visit. It involves numbing the area to be treated and cutting out any remaining tumor plus some normal-looking skin around the tumor.
Like the skin biopsy, this removed skin is examined under the microscope. This may be done at a laboratory or by your dermatologist. The doctor who looks at the removed skin needs to see whether the normal-looking skin is free of cancer cells. If not, more skin will need to be removed. This is a common way to treat BCC.
Curettage and electrodessication: This treatment consists of two steps. First, your dermatologist scrapes away the tumor. Then electricity is used to destroy any remaining cancer cells. The two steps are then repeated.
Mohs surgery: Named for the doctor who developed this surgery, Mohs (pronounced "moes") is a specialized surgery used to remove some skin cancers. It offers the highest cure rate for difficult-to-treat basal cell cancers. Your dermatologist will tell you if Mohs is right for you.
If Mohs is recommended, this is what you can expect. The surgeon will cut out the tumor plus a very small amount of normal-looking skin surrounding the tumor. While the patient waits, the Mohs surgeon uses a microscope to look at what was removed. The surgeon is looking for cancer cells.
If necessary, the Mohs surgeon will continue to remove a very small amount of skin and look at it under the microscope. This continues until the surgeon no longer sees cancer cells.

Cryosurgery: This treatment uses liquid nitrogen to freeze cancer cells, causing the cells to die.
Radiation: This treatment usually is reserved for BCCs that cannot be cut out, or when surgery may not be the best choice. A patient may need 15 to 30 radiation treatments.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT): This treatment uses light to remove early skin cancers. PDT is a two-step process. First, a chemical is applied to the skin. The chemical remains on the skin for some time so that it can be absorbed. Then the skin is exposed to a special light to kill the cancer cells.

Medicated creams: Creams that contain a drug, such as imiquimod or 5-fluorouracil, can be used to treat early BCC. A patient applies the medicated cream at home as directed by his or her dermatologist.
Pills: While extremely rare, there are reports of BCC spreading to other parts of the body. Patients who have BCC that spreads may be prescribed vismodegib. This medication also may be prescribed for patients who have advanced BCC that cannot be cut out or treated with radiation.

Nearly every basal cell cancer can be cured, especially when the cancer is found early and treated. 

BCCs are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars. Usually caused by a combination of cumulative UV exposure and intense, occasional UV exposure, BCC can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow, but almost never spreads (metastasizes) beyond the original tumor site. Only in exceedingly rare cases can BCC spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening.  BCCs are easily treated in their early stages. The larger the tumor has grown, however, the more extensive the treatment needed. Although this skin cancer seldom spreads, or metastasizes, to vital organs, it can damage surrounding tissue, sometimes causing considerable destruction and disfigurement — and some BCCs are more aggressive than others.
When small skin cancers are removed, the scars are usually cosmetically acceptable. If the tumors are very large, a skin graft or flap may be used to repair the wound in order to achieve the best cosmetic result and facilitate healing
People who have had one BCC are at risk for developing others over the years, either in the same area or elsewhere on the body. Therefore, regular visits to a dermatologist should be routine so that not only the site(s) previously treated, but the entire skin surface can be examined.
BCCs on the scalp and nose are especially troublesome, with recurrences typically taking place within the first two years following surgery.
Should a cancer recur, the physician might recommend a different type of treatment. Some methods, such as Mohs micrographic surgery, may be highly effective for recurrences. BCCs and other skin cancers are almost always curable when detected and treated early

Jun 9, 2013

My travel to Cebu

Last April I went with my son to Cebu for our long planned summer trip.  I search for hotels in Tripadvisor and Agoda. I decided to book with Cebu Business Hotel because they have discount during weekends and also near seven eleven and the port to Bohol.  I also book with Cebutrip tours for a guided tour inclusive with transportation.  We went there last April 13 and decided to have the guided tour the next day.  We went to Magellans Shrine, Lapu lapu monument, Alegre guitar factory, Taoist Temple, Cebu Heritage Monument, YapSandiego Ancestral’ House, Magellan’s cross and Basilica Minore del Sto Nino.

On the first day that we arrived in Cebu we went to Ayala Mall

Our spacious room in Cebu Business Hotel, We stayed there for three days and two nights for only 1,900 pesos all in, with our choice of breakfast for two persons. The room also has aircon, cable TV and Hot Shower. There is also free wifi but with a weak signal. It was a cozy place to sleep although I notice that it was rather nosy (music) the first night we were there, cause it is a Saturday and there was some kind of an event there.

In the Hotel lobby while we wait for our day tour in the Queen of the South, Cebu City

At Alegre Guitar factory, where I buy souvenirs.  The quality guitars here are handmade and exported globally

At Magellan Shrine, our guide said that this is the spot where Ferdinand Magellan died

At Lapu lapu monument, in honor of the first Filipino Hero
 We had our free lunch in Joven's Grill, It was a buffet eat all you can lunch.  I ate a raw octopus that was seasoned with vinegar and coconut milk.  I really regretted doing so 'cause I developed an itchy skin allergy that lasted for a month.

We went to Taoist Temple, our guide told us that the original monks here were Chinese and they modeled this from the great wall of china.  The landscape was really picturesque.

This is the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House, believed to be the oldest house still standing in Cebu City and estimated to be three hundred years old. This is the bedroom and it really gives me the creeps, it's like a scene from a horror film but it never stops me from striking a pose.

It was really a sunny day during our visit to Basilica Minore del Sto Nino. (Sto Nino Church) There were so many people attending mass there (It was Sunday) and so many foreigners as well. Inside the church is the oldest black Sto Nino ( a replica of the baby Jesus) believed to be miraculous. As a Catholic I also prayed there and pay my respects to baby Jesus.  At the back there is a store full of statue and images of Sto Nino, of course, I bought two statues for my mother and me.  The Catholic church was first built in 1565 as you can see in the picture below.

This is a picture of Ferdinand Magellan's Cross, He brought this with him during his expedition to the Philippines.  The real cross was encased in an outer cross to preserve it. In the past the faithful Catholics believed that the wood from the cross is miraculous and chip a bit from the cross to bring it with them. 

It was really fun in Cebu and I intend to go there again in the future.  I think the cab/taxis there are much safer than in Manila City.

Nov 12, 2012

I don’t believe in fairy tales anymore.

Gone were the days when I would read novels or fairy tales.  I just don’t believe in that stuff anymore.  It is just a product of the author’s optimism in love. I happen to know that sense and sensibilities’ author was a spinster who vowed that all her stories will end in a happy ever after so unlike her real life love story.

The irony is that in reality so many of us are just in love with the idea of love.   When it wears off, we just move on to another relationship believing that Mr. Perfect has not yet crossed our path.  In reality there is no such thing as Mr. Perfect, only acceptance that this person is okay for you.  A person has two faces the bad and the good.  If you can live with the bad side of that person it could be that you accepted him/her but it does not necessarily mean that you love him/her. There are many reasons why people stay in a relationship even if it soured not just love.  If you are in an abusive relationship would you still stay because you love the person? Or you just stay because you are afraid to be alone?

 Abusive relationship means not just the physical aspect but also the emotional one which hurts the most. One example of an emotional one is when you are married to an unfaithful partner.  The person knows that his/her partner is hurting but continued on with numerous affairs even to the extent of being caught.  Can you stop that kind of person from doing what he/she does? Sadly, no you just can’t decide for her/him but you can decide for yourself.  Love yourself, this is just the answer and if you do that you can live a blissful life. What my mother teaches me every day is to love myself more than anyone else. Never let anybody hurt you.  She always told me that whatever life brings to my marriage I have to bear it but if my husband is a womanizer this must not be tolerated. Life is just too short to waste it with someone who just isn't worth it. 

Honestly, if you are going to have a relationship, you have to bear in mind that people have two faces. If you can put up with his/her bad side then continue on with your happily ever after.  As for me, I think fairy tales are only in the books.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Reminder to everyone:

English is my second language so bear with me if my grammar, as well as sentence and paragraph construction is faulty. I am not writing to impress but simply to express my thoughts.

The opinion written here is solely mine and I have no intention to impose it to anyone for that matter. So as the title goes this is just my perception