I reached the halfway point today, at least with the application of the Fluorouracil part. I know there will still be several weeks following the 21 days of treatment where the skin will be super sensitive, scabby, festering and sloughing while the new healthy skin grows back to replace the pre-cancerous and cancerous spots. But at least I’m not back at the beginning all over again.
When I began this treatment I was of course nervous. I had read numerous blogs and had seen all the photos and videos of those who have gone through this treatment and it wasn’t pretty. It turns out my fears were not unfounded. It really does hurt like a Motha’. In fact it hurts way more for a prolonged period of time than either of my surgery sites did.
I don’t ascribe to sugar coating anything. I believe it is far more valuable to present things exactly how you experience them so that others will know what they may or may not have to face when doing the same. Of course we all experience things differently and my level of reaction to and pain caused by Fluorouracil may not be the same as the next person who uses it. But going into it educated with all the possibilities has allowed me to mentally prepare myself for what might be.
**Tired of looking at my flaming red face every day so I am taking a break and posting a black and white instead :).**
Fluorouracil is sort of an enigma. You are putting it on your skin to help eradicate bad cells and it in turn causes your skin to react at times severely. It is harsh on the skin to say the least. At the same time once you wash it off between applications during the 10 minute wait, your skin starts to feel extremely dry and begins to burn way more than it did when you had the cream on in the first place. Once you rub the next dose on your face the burning and dryness calm down a bit until a few hours later when your face begins to scream at you again and all you want to do is wash it off. I think of it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A heavy duty caustic chemo drug dressed up in a nice soothing cream base.
I had a mid-point follow up with my doctor yesterday. I sent him several photos (oh the beauty of the internet and the ability to have virtual appointments). He said my face is right on track with where it should be now but to anticipate some “increased discomfort” over the next few days. Oh goody. I love how they use the word “discomfort” when you know they really want to say “it is going to hurt like a mother f***er.”
He advised me to start applying petroleum jelly right now to the nasolabiol and melolabiol folds (the lines that runs from the edge the nostrils down to the mouth) to serve as a barrier to the Fluorouracil. He told me if I don’t do that now it will become so painful over the next few days it will make it hard to contine. Yikes. Petroleum jelly applied!
Today my face is burning a lot more than yesterday. The volume of spots looks about the same but some of them have turned a darker red. I will post another technicolor photo tomorrow.