This post is titled with the words found under the Clinical Information area of my Dermatophatology Report. Tara, assisting with my out-patient procedure, hands the sheet to me before I leave the room. I also have an image on my phone, of the basal cell carcinoma histology. Dr. DeLuca shoots it for me with her cell phone. Gladly, I leave behind the unwelcome guest that’s been hanging out in my Right inferior Central Malar Cheek.
If you’re familiar with my work, you know my studies come from real people. I guess it’s time for me to share some of my biological system’s messy stuff.
This started last summer, with what appeared to be a dark small cluster on my cheek, though really, I bet it all began years ago. The sun and I go way back and I haven’t always worn sunscreen and cap.
I pick at the cluster until it breaks open. Weeks pass, it doesn’t heal completely, and then months pass. I wonder if maybe I need to stop doing a handstand during Yoga. Over Christmas break, I ask my sister what she thinks about the area. The borders appears dry, uneven – see a doctor, she says. I return to Phoenix and schedule an appointment to see the dermatologist.
A biopsy determines it is basil cell carcinoma. I am scheduled for something called, Moh’s surgery. Because I’m particularly busy and they want me to have some down time afterwards, I wait a few weeks before going in. I kind of wish I’d never waited; there’s never a good time.
Moh’s involves cutting away a thin layer of skin and taking it, right then and there, to their in- house lab. Once under the microscope, the doctor can see the irregular tissue and know to stop or to continue cutting away until it’s all captured and removed. This afternoon, it takes a few rounds. I don’t really understand what is happening until Dr. DeLuca enters the room the final time and announces, It’s all gone!
I ask a lot of questions and both the doctor and her assistant are great with information. As noted, I ask Dr DeLuca if I can have a photo of what things look like under the microscope. Had I really understood early on, I would have asked for a photo after each cut.
It’s natural for me to research, draw and try to understand…stuff. While this is a piece of my skin, I don’t know that I understand everything I see. The larger, darker, odd shaped forms are the carcinoma. Is each area an individual cell or is each area a cluster of cells? The centered top skin debris makes for an interesting scape/edge, don’t you think?
Basal cells line the lower part (base) of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). They produce new skin cells (programmed by their DNA). As the new skin cells are produced, older cells are pushed towards the surface where they die and are shed. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It can be cause by repeated and unprotected skin exposure to UV rays. It spreads slow and rarely metastasizes. If left untreated it can continue to grow.
#MicroscopicExamination #DisturbinglyBeautiful #HealingWell