UPDATE: Nik’s First (and Hopefully Her Last) Skin Cancer Surgery

Hey guys! Nik here.

Hope y’all had a wonderful holiday season and a happy, happy new year! And hopefully you’re all still honoring those new year’s resolutions. 馃槈 It’s only been a week now after all.

So I wanted to give y’all a quick update on my little journey with skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma, to be exact. And if you haven’t read my previous blog, probably best to do that first so you’re not totally lost. Click this link to give it a read, and then hurry on back here to see what’s new.

So after we published that initial post, I got so, so many thoughtful and reassuring messages, comments, phone calls, and emails from folks all over the world. Which ohmygosh y’all really made me feel so good. So many of y’all were willing to share your own stories and experiences with basal cell carcinoma, and with each and every one I started feeling so much better about my situation and my prognosis. I seriously can’t tell you guys how much it all means to me, and how grateful I am to each of you. Thanks so much!

If you didn’t know, our little “home base” is here in the small town of Howardwick in the Texas Panhandle. Once we put the word out about my diagnosis lots of folks from around the Panhandle began chiming in with their thoughts and well-wishes (thank y’all!). And as they rolled in I noticed a familiar theme developing. We were actually in the process of researching places to go to get that nasty little spot removed from my cheek, and all the local folks it seemed were pointing me in the very same direction: toward聽Dr. Liana Proffer at Proffer Surgical Associates in Amarillo.聽And the crazy thing about that is: remember me telling y’all about my uncle’s experience with basal cell carcinoma? (Which is one of the reasons I began to suspect I might have basal cell as well.) Well, when it came time to get his spot removed, he went to Dr. Proffer as well. He had nothing but great things to say about her and her team, and after seeing the results of his procedure, I was pretty much already sold. But it sure was good to hear so many other people saying such wonderful things about her. So I had a pretty good notion that I’d be in great hands.

So once I finally got my pathology report back from the dermatologist, I immediately called Dr. Proffer’s office and made an appointment. Very, very thankfully, they were able to get me in right after the first of the year. And I mean right after the first of the year. January 2nd to be exact, which worked out great for us. We’ve got another super busy year ahead of traveling and filming, and we were hoping to get this whole thing done and taken care of before we got back out there on the road. So Dusty and I were both just thrilled about that.

When we got to the office, I really didn’t think I was all that nervous. Really. Dusty and I walked in and right away noticed that the office was warm, inviting, and the ladies at the desk were super friendly and helpful. It was all super comfortable. Once we got back into a private room, one of Dr. Proffer’s nurses came in and introduced herself, and it was only right then – when she started to take my blood pressure – that I realized that yeah, I was pretty nervous indeed. My blood pressure, which can normally get pretty high, was really, really, really high. Dang it! But the nurse was so sweet and made sure I was comfortable with everything. So I was all good a few minutes later when it was time to get down to business.

First thing she did was circle the spot on my face where the basal cell carcinoma was identified. Which wasn’t all that hard, really, since I had a pencil-eraser sized scar on my cheek where the dermatologist had done the biopsy a few weeks before.

 

Once she’d done that and confirmed that yes, that was the problem spot, she asked me to lay back, relax, take some deep breaths, and wait just a quick minute for Dr. Proffer to come in. Couple of minutes later she came walking into the room – and I’ve gotta be honest – the first thing I thought was that聽she’s just the cutest thing I’d ever seen. And so super sweet and friendly. Down to earth and easy to talk to. But most importantly, right away I just felt super confident and safe with her. So she answered all of my silly questions and in fact didn’t make me feel like they were silly questions at all. She explained everything that was about to happen and talked us through every part of it.

And then it was time to get started. She explained she would first numb that little area, and using a procedure called the Moh’s Surgery, she would simply take out a layer of the affected skin. Once she’d done that, she’d send that piece of skin right over to the lab for testing, and within 40 minutes we’d know whether or not she’d need to take out a little more skin – you know, just to be absolute sure those cancerous cells were all removed.

So she numbed the area (which by the way, didn’t hurt at all), and got right to it. And it was crazy. We actually chit-chatted through the whole procedure, and I honestly didn’t feel a thing! Once she’d removed the layer of skin, the nurse covered the patch with a bandage, and off to that lab that little sucker went. Well, not before Dusty was able to get a picture of the hole that was left in my cheek though… which, I’ll warn you, looks pretty nasty. But again, it didn’t hurt at all and it looks way, way worse that any of it felt. Check it out:

Isn’t that freaking wild?

So they let Dusty and I just chill and relax right there in that private room for about 30 minutes, and they came back with the results. Which, unfortunately, weren’t great. The tests showed that they needed to go back in a little deeper, again just to make sure all those nasty cancer cells were gone. Which, yeah. Fine with me! I just wanted it gone! So Dr. Proffer came back in, took a little more out of my cheek (while we visited some more) and back to the lab it went for another look-see. About another half-hour later, the results came back – and excellent news this time – no more cancer! Whew! We did it! Well, she did it. LOL. But, yeah. It was gone.

Then it was time to close up that little hole in my face, which was roughly about the size of a nickel. Maybe not quite the size of a nickel, but close anyway. Big enough that it took a about a dozen stitches to close that sucker up, which involved pulling the skin on my cheek tightly back together. But Dr. Proffer was gentle and quick and it was done, easy as that.

Through all if it though, one thing I did know for certain is that my sweet husband would be with me through every single second of it. Listening to my fears. Comforting me. Taking care of me. Waiting on me. I’m truly blessed. How did I get so dang lucky? And my sweet family and friends have been so wonderful too. Thank you for all the calls and messages! Love you all!

As I write this, I’m on day three of my recovery from the procedure. And honestly, it’s been a lot easier than I expected. I’ve taken Tylenol, but nothing stronger than that. And it hasn’t been all that sore really, there’s just a little feeling of tightness and my cheek’s still a little puffy, but really not bad at all. I’ve been taking it pretty easy for the most part these past few days, but today I woke up feeling great and feeling like I needed to go out and conquer the world! So Dusty and I’ve been working hard around the house and getting lots of much-needed stuff done, which just feels great. And it’s a beautiful day today, so even better!

I go back to the office in a week to get my outside stitches removed, and to have an elective laser treatment to help minimize the scarring. And I’ll definitely continue to keep you guys updated!

But, really. Thank y’all again very sincerely for all of your love and support through all of this. We SO appreciate each and every one of you! And a very special thanks to Dr. Proffer and her team. I am so thankful to have found them, and so grateful for the care and attention they’ve given me so far!

And, of course, I just can’t go without leaving y’all with this: please, please be mindful of one of the very most important parts your body, your skin. It’s so easy to take it for granted, and it’s so easy to just ignore the people who tell you not to take it for granted. Take it from somebody who’s spent the last many, many years doing both. I’ve just had my first-ever scare with that word cancer, and I never want to hear it again. So I’l be wearing sunscreen, a hat, and protective clothing. And I’ll be loving and taking care of my skin. And I sure hope by going through this I can get y’all to think more about and take better care of your skin too.

There you go. Your sermon for the day LOL! 馃檪

Cheers friends! And thanks! Love and hugs to all!

~Nik

 

 

6 Comments

  1. So glad all went well. Dr. Proffer is amazing and down to earth. Prayers for continued healing!

  2. Edwina Wood

    Hey there Nikki, may I say you look great! It is good to see your smile first, I love Liana! I actually know a bit of what you are going through. She has removed two melanoma for me. Secondly, we just finished remodeling a place in Clarendon. We are there most weekends and would love to get together when you are home. And my third thing, don鈥檛 let it mess with your head. Stay positive and aware. Prayers for you sweet lady, cAll me when you are in town. Edwina

    • Awwww. Thank you so much Edwina! It’s SO great to hear from you! Dr. Liana is just the best! I hate to hear that about the melanoma and hope you’re doing well!

      Too cool about the house in Clarendon! We’ll definitely have to meet up sometime! We’d love to see you!

      Thank you! I sure appreciate it! And we’ll certainly give you a shout when we’re in town. Hope all is well at the office too. Please tell everyone I said hello! Cheers! 馃槈

  3. G E Hughes

    Welcome to the SCSC (Skin Cancer Survivor’s Club)! Four years ago I had my thingy and my wonderful dermatologist told me to stop by the store on the way home and buy a pint or two of my favorite ice cream. They worked for soft ice packs. I recently went through a whole face topical chemotherapy for a number of weeks. It was terribly inconvenient, annoying painful and kept me out of my public obligations, but very worth it. Continue your good work and keep in mind you’ll be more mindful of your sunscreen and clothing choices from now on.

    • Thanks for writing! Glad to hear you’re doing well. Never thought of using ice cream for soft ice packs, but that sure does sound good to me! You’re so right! I’ll definitely be more mindful of the sun from here on out. Thanks again for reaching out! Cheers!

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