Day +92, Wednesday

Photo of the Day: A bit of side-eye after Mohs surgery Round 1 for the Squamous Cell Carcinoma on my left ear tip.

In the end, my ear needed 8 Stitches. The Mohs surgery itself wasn’t bad, a bit of anesthesia to make me feel as though I didn’t have an ear, followed by two rounds of dicing and slicing because the first didn’t quite get all the cancer. Thankfully my cartilage wasn’t affected, just my skin. The worst bit was the moment I thought my lovely nurse was cutting strips of gauze to wrap my ear.

Nope, not gauze. Instead, Dr. Smith was precisely cutting – snipping – my skin and separating it from my ear’s cartilage, or order to 1) fill in the opening the cancer had occupied and 2) suture a straight line on the back of my ear.

….snip. snip. snip….,

Snip. snip. snip.

Honestly, listening to the snip snip snip wouldn’t have been that bad. Except that it was on my ear and as such, extremely audible. It’s like that time I had eyelid surgery 22 years ago and could smell my blood vessels being cauterized. I’ll stop there and, you’re welcome.

Otherwise, today was good. My Mohs surgery was successful and the Dermatology Team at Walter Reed was great. My ear is currently packed and practically bubble wrapped in gauze – I think I look like a cactus with a newly-growing appendage. Mom says I resemble Grogu/Baby Yoda. Regardless, my ear has it’s own heart beat and I can feel a low level throbbing – sleep will be interesting, but over time, this too will heal.

Mom pointing out we could go both left and right.

Later, Mom and I enjoyed tea and enjoyed a 90 minute walk through local neighborhoods, braving wind and temps in the low 40s. I also spoke with Erin who was inputting 3-months’ worth of medications into the outpatient pharmacy in prep for my discharge home next week, and later had a great session with my social worker. It’s surreal – it just does not feel real at this point – that I get to go home next week. 8 days!!! I’m so grateful and thankful and lucky. And finally, Mom and I enjoyed a repeat dinner from last night…just as delicious, just as wonderful. This time we added roasted shrimp and a few spritzes of lemon juice. Next time I’m thinking of adding shallots and white wine with butter, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Oh, and before I forget, dinner consisted of Garlic Parsley Fettuccini with a lovely sauce of roasted tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, dash of salt and shrimp, made creamy by mixing with non-dairy cream cheese. Ah-mazing.

My body is doing OK – facial skin feels SO much better after starting Metronidazole for suspected rosacea. My shoulders and chest are also responding to the hydrocortisone with less redness, irritation and bumps; at tomorrow’s appointment, I’ll see if my Team wants me to continue my current regiment, or maybe go with something slightly stronger (such as Triamcinolone, which helped completely clear my skin before).

My UTI is – eh. Erin asked that I stop the Pyridium for a few days, as I’ve been on a stronger dose for a while. This gives us an opportunity to see if the Cipro I’ve been taking for the past two days, is actually working. For my case, I sincerely hope it is. Honestly, I think that UTIs are just something my body will be contending with for a while; it’s an uncomfortable combination of how my body is and the fact I’m less than 100 days post-stem cell transplant and taking immunosuppressive medication.

Humbug. But it’s not forever. And this is doable – always doable!

On that cheery note, that’s all I can think of. Mom is on the couch watching Designated Survivor and I’m half-writing, half-watching. My ear still has a heartbeat, and I’m eyeing the final kombucha in the fridge. There are no leftovers of the fettuccini, otherwise I would most definitely be eying that as well. Next time.

And a final thank you to Aunt Donna – sorry this was so late, but I appreciate you staying up to read! Yes, I’m a night owl – especially with creative pursuits. But I’m very much looking forward to giving you a massive hug in person – one of these days!

Cherry Blossoms! Spring, life – hope.

  1. Return to Asheville next week? It’s hard to believe the 100 day milestone is almost here. Well done my friend! See you soon.


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