The Skinny

It was a tough call. Would I rather have had two lumpish hags working over every square inch of my hospital-gowned self at the dermatology exam or the two svelte foxy blondes–the LNP and an intern from Carolina–that ganged up on me yesterday. I guess I’m happy for the blondes. But it was a bit awkward. The pain of the biopsy of a spot on my neck went a long way to douse the fantasies.

She prescribed an ointment for the better part of my face, where there are constellations of tiny ACs–precancers–that have been removed from the very same places several years running. Apparently we’re ramping up the attack. This time she prescribed an ointment specific for targeting cancer cells.

The pharmacy gal had to check with the pharmacist to make sure the price was correct. Without our drug card, it would have been over $400. Of course, no meds are that precise, and the list of side-effects is not short. I doubt anyone among my dozen readers has had experience with fluorouracil (Efudex.) I’m thinking I’ll call a physician friend to see what he thinks about benefits vs risks.

The other thing is, she warned me it might cause considerable inflammation for the three weeks I have to use it. I imagine my face resembling a boiled shrimp, and am trying to figure when that horror show fits my calendar. Oy. Maybe when I have the surgery on my wrist in October. Just get all the miseries over at once?

Still, reading the account of the fellow in the image above, it gives one pause–somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. My mom had so much sun damage and so many AKs that she had to use Efudex every winter on her enntire face. October is the time fro you to do it, because you have to completely stay out of the sun, and look bad for those 3 weeks. My mom must have done it every year for 20 years or more, and she was not appearance conscious, so it apparently was better than all those scaly spots all over her face. Sigh. Old age sucks.

  2. I’ve not had any experience with Efudex, but I had a friend who used it. She was blond and it didn’t cause the inflammation shown in the picture you used. The reaction was mild – it looked like she had been sunburned. It didn’t stop her from doing anything or going anywhere, either, but she did wear a broad-brimmed hat.

  3. October probably would be best for you not just because of your wrist surgery but, there is more foul weather so you won’t be tempted to sit in the sun.
    I need to go for a check over, I’m not looking forward to it unless it was a very attractive intern. My dermatologist is old. It’s hard to get an appointment, dermatologists are in high demand these days.