What’s New? Lots of Ups and Downs, and a Little Bit of Cancer

[Posted December 12, 2017]

Hey guys, Nik here! Hope y’all are well!

So y’all may or may not have noticed that we’ve been sort of “off the grid” for the last few weeks. And we’re really sorry about that. Sure, our lives are normally pretty crazy most of the time it seems like, but suffice it to say it’s been an especially crazy, crazy time around these parts lately. And it’s been kicking our butts. On top of the usual craziness, these last few weeks we’ve had some really good news about the show, some really bad news about the show, we’re still working hard to get season two finished up and out there in time for the big premiere next month, we’re planning new trips and shoots after the first of the year, and on top of all that, you can just add that fine layer of holiday insanity that we all seem to go through this time of year. Right? So, yeah. Crazy times.

And then? Found out a few days ago I have skin cancer. So there’s that.


My Introduction to Basal Cell Carcinoma

Yep. It turns out the c-word has reared it’s ugly head right here at home. Basal cell carcinoma, in fact. Skin cancer. Right on my cheek, of course. Ugh.

So here’s how this episode’s unfolded over the past few months. And sorry if this goes a little long. But it’s kinda important.

Last summer I began to notice this little spot on the right side of my face. Just down below my right eye, on the ride side of my cheek. It started out as nothing, really. Just a blemish, I thought. Honestly I wasn’t sure, and I really didn’t think all that much about it. It looked completely harmless at first, but as time went by over the next few weeks and months, the dang thing just refused to go away. Not only that, it just refused to get better at all. It just wouldn’t heal. And then it started bleeding.

Now this is crazy. Round about this time, my uncle (who happens to be about the same age as me) came to the house for a family get-together. And he told us this wild story about an experience he’d just gone through himself, with a little spot on his face that wouldn’t heal. He’d gone to the doctor about it, had it checked out, and the tests came back positive: basal cell carcinoma. But a few more appointments and one little procedure later, the spot was gone, the cancer was gone, and he was all good. (He even had a video of the procedure. Talk about wild.) But by looking at his face, you’d never know he’d even gone through all that! The doctors did an amazing job.

But it was only after hearing his story that I really, seriously began to think that my little blemish might be… well…. more than just a little blemish. So thank you, Ron!

Right after that we were whisked away on another one of our adventures to film an upcoming episode in Ireland, and it was during that trip I really started researching basal cell carcinoma. Naturally I kept looking at my little spot, inspecting it a little closer every day, and comparing it to pictures on the internet (of course) and doing all that self-diagnosis stuff we all like to do at times like these. But as I was looking at the photos, and comparing them to this little spot on my face that absolutely would not heal, I just knew in the pit of my stomach that that’s exactly what this was: basal cell carcinoma. I was sure of it.

So we spent another two weeks filming in Ireland and Central Europe, and as each day went by I was getting more and more anxious to get home, get an appointment with a dermatologist, and see if my instincts really were true. Although what I really wanted was to wake up the next morning and magically the spot would be just gone. But that didn’t happen.

So when we got home, I started first thing. Got on the internet and started the maddening task of trying to find a dermatologist. Not just any dermatologist, but one that was accepting new patients and would accept our insurance. And I’m not sure what it’s like for y’all in other parts of the country, but here in the Texas Panhandle, that turned out to be much more of an ordeal than I ever would’ve imagined. I’ll spare you the details, but honestly the whole thing still pisses me off when I think about it. It just shouldn’t be that hard to see a doctor. Seriously.

So once I was finally able to get in with someone, I went in for my initial appointment, had my little spot inspected, and was super relieved when the nurse practitioner said she didn’t seem too concerned. But she did want to do a biopsy on the spot just so that they’d know for sure, which was perfectly fine with me. I wanted to know for sure too. So I signed a form stating I was OK with the biopsy, and that I knew and accepted there would likely be a scar left on my face once they did it. Now I’m not a vain person at all, but it’s never fun signing a form giving someone you just met permission to scar you for life. LOL! But, yeah. I signed it and had the biopsy done right then and there.

The really bad part came right after that: when I got to the counter to check out, I was told that I wouldn’t know the results of my biopsy for three weeks. Three. Long. Weeks. And as you might imagine, those three weeks just crawled by. The longest three weeks I can remember in some time.

So. Three weeks go by. Dusty and I head back to the office (which is just over an hour away from our little house) to hear the news. And as soon as she walked in the room, I just knew before she even told us. Honestly she wasn’t expecting it to come back as basal cell, she told us. But it most certainly was. Skin cancer. Shit.

The next few things she told me didn’t register at all. She talked and tried to explain lots of stuff, but all I heard were those words.

Skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma.

Hate those words.

Thankfully, I had done enough research online to know that basal cell carcinoma is the least risky type of skin cancer. It rarely spreads beyond the actual spot affected, and it is one of the most frequently occurring and easily treatable types of cancer. But it IS cancer. Which means it is still serious. Even if it doesn’t kill, it can certainly be disfiguring. And it could come back again and again.

So that was just a few days ago, and we’re both upset, a little scared, and certainly anxious. Anxious to get this fixed. Like, now. And I get more anxious with every day that goes by.

We have to get a copy of my pathology report from the dermatology office, before I can make an appointment with a surgeon in Amarillo to get everything removed and taken care of. And that’s where we are now. I signed a release to get the report that very day when I got the bad news, but the dermatology office isn’t exactly being cooperative. And we’re still waiting on that report. Nice, huh?


A Hard Lesson Learned. But Learned for Life.

The other hard thing to deal with about this whole thing, is knowing full well that it’s 100% my fault. I absolutely could’ve saved myself (and Dusty) from this entire predicament if I’d just been more careful with one of the most important parts of my body: my skin. I was always one of those crazy young adults that absolutely craved the sun. Craved the tan. And I stupidly thought wearing sunscreen would get in the way of that gorgeous, bronze tan in the summer months. Not only that, but back in the day we literally fried ourselves to get that tan by lathering up with a concoction of baby oil with iodine. And, yes, sometimes we even lathered up in straight up Crisco before a nice, long marathon tanning session out in the sun. Feel like a complete idiot admitting that, but there you go. It’s the truth.

So all this has me on kind of a crusade now, as you might imagine. Been telling anybody and everybody – especially my beautiful nieces, who worship the sun themselves – to please be careful with your skin! Especially out in the sun. Nowadays there’s absolutely no reason anyone should be out in the sun without sunscreen. Period. There’s just not! I learned that lesson a little too late, and I’m paying for it now. Dang it.

So that’s the scoop y’all. And it’s a scary one. I’m still pretty shaken up about the whole thing to tell you the truth. Especially since I still don’t know how big the growth is, or when I’m gonna be able to get in to a surgeon to have it all removed. It’s all freaking me out a little bit. But I’ll spare you anymore rambling. Y’all get the drift.

We’ll absolutely keep you guys posted on the days ahead, and on the progress of my treatment. And if there is a silver lining to this, it comes from all the stories I’ve read from people just like me who have gone through this thing, and all the love and concern I’m getting from friends and family. Love y’all! And of course I’m so incredibly thankful for my sweet, caring husband. He’s been to every appointment, spoke on the phone when I couldn’t deal, and comforted me during all of the anxious moments. He is my absolute ROCK! And I can’t imagine going through this life without him. I’m so incredibly blessed to have him by my side! Love you honey! You. Are. My. Favorite.

So! Have you had any experience with skin cancer? Or something called a Mohs Surgery? Or something you can share with other folks who might be reading this? I hope you’ll please share it with us here in the comments, or on our Facebook post. I think the more stories I hear, the better I’ll feel. And that’s probably true for anybody in this situation.

So thanks! And thanks for reading. I already feel a little better just getting it out there! Again, we’ll keep y’all up to date.

Cheers friends!



NEW: Click here for the next update on Nik’s progress!




  1. KI'm Beezley

    Hey Nick Kim Beezley here just wanted to let you know David has had several procedures he has horrible skin and has had the Mohs surgery done three or four times I think on quite large areas Dr. Liana proffer did his and they look really good, all have been on his face cheek area above the eyebrow and he had one on his arm done by his dermatologist and even it looks good don’t stress about it they do a fabulous job.

    • Hey girl! SO great to hear from you! Hope you’re doing well! Thanks so much for reaching out! Not glad to hear David has had problems, but glad to hear it’s all been ok. I’m trying to get into Dr. Proffer as soon as I get my pathology report in the mail. I’ve heard such great things about her. I’m anxious to get it over with to tell you the truth! Give David our best and thanks again. It’s just so wonderful to hear from you!! 馃槈

  2. Nicki, my Dad had the Mohs procedure several years ago by Dr Proffer on his cheek. It was quite extensive but thank goodness he’s cancer free today!

    • So glad to hear he’s ok, Bree! Thank you for sharing your story! I’m hoping to go to Proffer myself once I have my pathology report in hand. Prayers for your Dad and thanks so much!

  3. So sorry to read this. Yes, I am experienced in mohs, 3 x all melanoma. First was done in hospital by plastic surgeon. Second & third by mohs specialist. For your face I would research, plastic surgeon. I was extremely lucky, as one was stage 2. You are blond & blue eyed ( I think). Praying for a skilled surgeon & positive outcome.

    • Sorry to hear you’ve experienced this for yourself, but so glad you are ok. It’s scary to think of how many people don’t go to the doctor to have it checked out.
      My hope is that others will read these stories and have their spots checked out as well. So, thank you so much for sharing your story!

  4. Kim Forester

    Aww, Nic (and Dusty, too), we鈥檙e sorry for this concerning news.We鈥檒l be hoping for the best of care, a healthy healing and ultimately, an 鈥渁ll clear鈥 for you. My husband has had a few successful Moh鈥檚 procedures himself (and no real noticable scarring). He grew up on the sunny beaches of S California in 鈥渢he old days,鈥 when sunscreen wasn鈥檛 really a blip on the radar. We both offer our encouragement, with wishes for your better days ahead.

    • Hey Kim! Sorry to hear your husband’s story, but so glad he caught it, got it taken care of, and is ok. It’s a scary thing. And you’re so right, sunscreen just wasn’t a thing then. I guarantee you one thing, our nieces and nephews are going to get sick and tired of me preaching sunscreen. But, it is what it is and I sure don’t want them to go through the same ordeal. Thank you Kim! All of the stories I’ve heard just tonight make me truly realize we’re not alone. 馃槈

  5. OMG! I do remember the baby oil and iodine! What were we thinking?!?! Well, Gotta go….Headed to go check out my skin in the mirror! Ugh!
    Love you and many prayers for complete healing!

    • Lol! What were we thinking? Complete craziness! Those were different times. Omg! Did I really just write that? Are we old? Thanks girl! Hope you guys are doing well! 馃槈

  6. Sending positive healing vibes that all works out quickly and they are able to remove it and you are cancer free asap.

  7. Hey Nikki, sorry to hear about your skin! My husband has been treated for squamous cell carcinoma, two lesions, on his leg. They were going to do Mohs, but then decided just to inject a drug into the lesions and they were gone in a matter of weeks. I hope you get everything taken care of soon. xoxo

    • Really? Good to know! We’ll have to look into that as well. Glad he’s ok. Thanks Norma! Hope you guys are doing well!

  8. Hey Nikki! So sorry to hear about this. My MIL is going through the same thing. She is scheduled to have her surgery in January. Her鈥檚 is right above her lip. I understand how you were about sun tanning. I too did the same thing. But her ordeal has definitely put it in perspective for me. You are right no reason not to wear sunscreen. I鈥檒l keep you and Dusty in my prayers. I know you will come through this all like a champ and you will be as gorgeous as ever! Thoughts and prayers!

    • Hey Daye! Sorry to hear about your MIL. Keep us updated. We’ll definitely keep her in our prayers. Our suntanning days were sure crazy, weren’t they? If this has done anything, it’s lit a fire under me to preach to everyone that will listen about how important sunscreen is. For sure! Thanks Daye! So good to hear from you! Hope you guys are doing well!

  9. Shannon cornell

    Hey Nikki! Chris will see this I鈥檓 sure and she can share with you her story…. she had surgery last Friday and is on the road to recovery! Praise the Lord! Prayers and peace to you my friend!

    • Oh! I didn’t know that! I’ll definitely reach out to her. So glad to hear she’s doing ok! Thank you Shannon! Hope you guys are doing well! 馃槈

  10. Christi Sims

    Hey Nikki,
    Steve just went to the dermatologist this week because he has a place on his face too. They did a biopsy on Monday and he is just waiting on the results. I pray that all goes well for you.

    Christi Sims

    • Hey girl! So good to hear from you! How are you guys? Thank you very much. We’ll sure be praying for Steve too! Keep us updated! Merry Christmas sweet friend! 馃槈

  11. Carmella Jones

    Go to MDAnderson. Get a second opinion. They take every insurance even no insurance. Contact them. It they cannot offer anything more than you are getting in Amarillo they will tell you. I went to Houston, I know it is a long way but this is not about distance or inconvenience, this is about your life. I know I would not have survived stage four lymphoma without going to MD Anderson. I qualified for a clinical trial. I am cured. Not in remission. CURED. Contact them. Go through the website. At MD Anderson Cancer is all they do. They are innovative and current. Go to the mother ship. See what they offer. I have bullied several of my friends into going and it saved them from horrifying surgeries. One was going to have half a lung removed. MDACC gave him treatment and he is in remission without losing a lung. Another friend was going to go through radiation and chemo for uterine cancer. MD Anderson said it was not necessary. She has been monitored for three years by them without chemo or radiation and she is doing fine. Please contact them. Please see what they say about your case. If they can鈥檛 do something different, better or offer a more advanced treatment, they will tell you. Everyone I have talked to that contacted them have not regretted it. One friend who did not listen and continued with treatment at home is deceased. Cancer is serious. Why not go to the one of the leading hospitals in the nation and in the world. The notices in the restroom are translated into 35 languages. Patients come there from all over the world. You can travel 500 miles. Do it Nik. Sorry for the rant. It is just so important to start with the right treatment.

    • Hey Carmella! Thank you SO much for your comment. I had no idea you had stage four lymphoma! So sorry you had to go through that, but SO glad you are ok and CURED! That is awesome! As it is now, I just have a little spot on my face that has tested positive for BCC. I have done a lot of research on a doctor here and have seen some of her results as well. Everyone seems to love her and I feel very confident going to her for what I know I have now. If we get there and it turns out to be more extensive than we previously thought, I will definitely take your advice and head straight to MD Anderson. From all the research I’ve done, BCC is the least risky of all skin cancers. And it turns out since I wrote that post, SO many friends have had the exact same issue. Who knew? If anything more than the one little spot comes up, you can bet I’ll be on the first flight to Houston. You’re so right! When it’s your life, time and miles aren’t important! Thank you so much Carmella. 馃槈

  12. Steve Sims

    Lol – yes we ARE reaching that age.

  13. Nikki honey…I had the same thing on the left side of my nose about 6 months ago and did MOHS surgery …one thin layer was all it took to get to back to healthy skin layer and it is barely noticeable! So, once you have the procedure you will be good as new and even if their is a slight scar it will be a lucky scar because it will be on your sweet beautiful face! It is scary to hear the 鈥淐鈥 word but thank goodness you got it checked out and now you will be vigilant with sunscreen! I have researched like mad 50 upf sun protection clothing companies because I hate slathering sunscreen all over my body so I can pass that along to you if you are interested! Ok girl…much love to you and Dusty! Look forward to updates!

    • Oh sweet friend! Thank you! You are the absolute best! Its certainly been a comfort reading all the messages from folks who have been through the same ordeal. Sorry to hear you are one of those, but SO glad it all went well! Especially with that handsome face! 馃槈 And do let me know about your research on clothing! I would be very interested to know all the details! We’ll sure keep you posted moving forward. Thanks so much for the comment Gary! Miss your sweet face!

  14. Nik, so very sorry to hear of your scare with skin cancer. I feel certain that all will be well, you’ll be good as new once all is said and done. Perhaps the only positive thing to take away from a cancer scare is that it inevitably wakes us up to the things that truly matter. The beauty of life and the people in our lives and how every day is an incredible gift, not to be squandered. Of course, you two manage to squeeze every bit of adventure and wonder out of every day, be glad and proud of that and continue to travel forward in hope. The best of luck to you for a full and speedy recovery. Merry Christmas to you both.

    • Hey Eileen! Isn’t that the truth? Funny how that happens… Thank you very much for your kind words. They are very much appreciated! Merry Christmas to you too! 馃槈

  15. Nikki,

    You may remember, I was with you in Costa Rica on the ship. I have had Mohs surgery four times on my face. My dermotologist was really good-left absolutely no scars. It seems we all spent too much time in the sun and now pay. But the good news is, they can do Mohs. I promise you, the worst part is the anesthetic.

    Can鈥檛 wait to see the show on Costa Rica.


    • Hey Susie! Great to hear from you! And thank you so much. So glad it all went well for you. My surgery is scheduled for January 2nd, and I’m so ready. It’s been so comforting to hear so many stories from others. So truly, thank you! Hope all is well with you. Happy New Year!

  16. Good luck on your upcoming surgery. Two of the scariest words in the English language are Cancer and Surgery. Hope all goes well on the 2nd and we’re pulling for you guys.

    • Thank you very much! Everything went well. I do look like I might have been involved in a knife fight, but hopefully not for long… 馃槈 Thank you for reaching out! And have a happy new year! Cheers!

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