Efudix - My Journey / Experience - Combatting skin cancer
Day 25 - Recovery Day 9
Day 24 - Recovery Day 8
Day 24 (Recovery Day 8)
It is amazing the difference a few days and tub of moisturiser will make.
The past few days have been pretty uneventful, the pain in my face has reduced dramatically and is really just a discomfort that comes when my face starts to get a little dry. The mornings are still tough - when my face has gone hours without moisturiser. As I reflect on the past two weeks I feel that I am in no position to complain, what I am dealing with now is no issue at all.
Today's photo was taken this morning - and now 5 hours later I am seeing from further improvements. I think I am now getting some glimpses of what my new skin will look like. As the layers of dryness is removed it reveals some new skin that is soft and smooth to touch, and so far looks flawless - I can only hope that this is how my whole face will look in a few short weeks.
I am still applying Efudix to the backs of my hands, but have reduced the application to just the spots I can see. I am now after three weeks feeling some tenderness in these spots, but after the ordeal I have been through in the past few weeks think I am pretty well conditioned to see this through.
Just today I have a spring back in my step and am confident that my face can be shown in public again in just a few days.
I will post another pic this evening so you can see the changes that have occurred through the day.
Recovery Day 4 (day 20)
Recovery - Day 4 (day 20)
Not a lot of new experience or informaiton to share. More of the same - headaches, nausea in the morning and all day stinging burning with patches of dryness. I am reducing the painkillers I was taking, and fortunatley I am still getting a good night sleep.
Earlier this week I spoke with a friend who has done the treatment before, and we spoke about the oosing and the goop and the smell that is particularly unsavoury. He described this smell as the smell of death and I think he is spot on.
I am really quite tired of the ordeal, and think I am becoming a lot less tolerant. I am considered a pretty tough person - but am really questioning this quaility - how do other people that go through this treatment copy.
I am going into another weekend that will be spent entirely at home - It is not fair to expose the general public to this vision.
I have attahced pics from yesterday and today - and hope that by the time I next upload a picture it will look very different. I am confident that by the end of the weekend the worst of it will be over. Lets See !!!!
Day 19 (Recovery Day 3)
Recovery - Day 2 (Day 18)
Recovery - Day 2 (Day 18)
Today is my second full day of the recovery phase, and I was thinking that things should start to improve. Not really the case the pain continues, and the itching is worse, but the up side is that I am now able to smile and smirk and speak without the fear of splitting parts of my face.
I am still taking the Panadine at night - a good nights sleep is needed to get me through the day. When I wake up in the morning I feel nauseas and the headache is still there. After breaky in bed (thanks to my boys) I slowly make my way into the day. The routine now is a quick shower (where i splash the remants of last nights moisturiser off my face) then I pat my face dry with a tissue, then re apply the moisturiser, then I am ready for the day.
The creams I am using are keeping my face moist through till midday. After then, parts of my face start to dry out, while I still have some very moist parts where the skin has oosed a clear liquid (which has an interesting odor). I understnd the this is normal. When my face gets try, the air come sin contact with the bare skin which causes more pain, so I have to have a quick pat down then reapply the creams - for the remainder of the afternoon the itch and the stinging is unbearable. It is a good excuse to take an early mark from the office and get home to shower and repeat the shower applicaton process.
After two and a half weeks this process is just getting me down - I can not wait to get my life back - not long now I hope.
Day 16 - What a difference - a few hours can make
What a Day !!!!
I slept a little better last night - the Panedine Forte are doing their job.
What a sight (see the below pic)- it seems that overnight more of my face has scabbed over and the dryness on my face is much worse that what it has been up till now. BUT - today I have a good reason to soldier on - I am meeting with my dermo to review my efudix treatment, and there is a little part of me that is hoping that he will say we have done enough and you can stop applying the cream and begin with the recovery phase.
Two more panadine and hubby is driving my to the doctors, I am feeling extremely self conscious because I am looking a real sight. This is the first time my hubby has been out with me since I started the treatment... he is a little amused at the awkwardness he sees in the reaction of the people we pass. I have a slight (very slight) understanding now of how disabled or disfigured people feel when they are in public.
The first thing the doctor says, is oh, you have had a fairly extreme reaction, it must be sore. He then continues to tell me that while my reaction is extreme, it is a good outcome because we have gone deep enough - removed enough layers - so we can STOP applying the efudix. I am not sure whether to laugh or cry (mind you I am still pretty dopey from drugs). Oddly enough I am apprehensive to stop, and question his reasoning - I really need to be sure that we have got it all. I do not ever want to have to go through this again. The Dr assures me that it is time to stop with the efudix and time to start putting moisture back into my skin and allowing the new skin to come through. It may take another couple weeks before we see any great results - but this a huge step forward.
After coming out of the doctors office all I can do is cry - I can not beleive that this is almost over.
So stage two begins - putting moisture back into my skin and allow my body to do its job and start the repair process. I have a prescription for some steroid based cream to reduce the swelling, the redness and the pain. This cream can only be applied once a day. I have also been told to get a very heavy, greasy moisturiser to keep my exposed skin covered while it heals. I can not wait to put some moisture into my skin.
Fortunatley my sister is available to do a quick trek to the health food store to get me the best available creams to do the job, and within an hour arrives at my doorstop with some Manuka honey moisturiser and some Shea butter - the combination of which should soothe, heal and protect my skin.
After just the first application of moisture - I am feeling like a new woman, I can open my mouth without excruciating pain, I can rub my lips together, I speak normally and I can smile. I will continue to apply these creams as my face gets dry, and use the steroid cream if it absolutely necessary.
Funny thing - my hands (which I have also been treating for two weeks) are still showing very little reaction to the treatment - so we will continue to apply the efudix for another two weeks, at which time I will be meeting with the Doc again.
As I look back over my day, I have a mix of emotions. Looking at this mornings photo brings tears to my eyes, and to now look in the mirror my face is red and shiny, and there is still a little bit of an itch and some soreness, but it is SO much better...
Day 16 - Efudix Review with Dermo
Day 15 - Call the Dr
What a day - after a restless night sleep I woke in pain. The burning, aching, itching feeling is constant and extreme. I had a home call from the GP at midday and was given Panedine Forte for the pain - the remainder of the day was quite bearable.
I am not going to be shy with pain releif - no point making this experience any worse than t needs to be.
Day 14 - End of Week 2
Day 14 - This is no fun
It is hard to remain positive when you are running on limited sleep. Last night after bedding down early (after an umcomfortable day in the office) I woke about 11.30 and my face was aching terribly and the all over itching was unbearable. After two nurofen and two hours reading (to take my mind of the itch) I finally got back to sleep - and the rest of the night was quite restless.
This morning I took my time dragging myself out of bed, then went through the morning ritual, shower in a can, splash of water on my face and then more Efudix. This morning it took a good 30 minutes for my face to settle down (even after more Nurofen). The headaches today were not a problem - the issue is the constant face ache and the stinging dry feeling I am getting. There is a constant sense of pressure on my skin that makes me feel if i smile too big, my face will literally crack.
Eating and speaking is much more difficult, my family and I are selecting our meals more carefully, eating only things that can be cut into small pieces.
I am meeting with the doctor on Monday (Day 16) I am hoping he will tell me that I am through the worst of it - but I think this is wishful thinking.
Thanks so much to my family - I really am so grateful for your love and support.
Day 12 - it is becoming challenging
Is has been six days since I last posted on this blog - and up until today I had very little new experience to share, just more of the same - hot flushes, tightness in my skin and the slight headache.
TODAY - different story.
I woke this morning with a stinking headache and a lot more pain (stinging pain) on my face. So the morning routine since day 8 is simply a shower in a can and a quick splash of water on my face, just to get rid of any residue from the cream the night before and to prepare myself for the next application. The direct water on my face is no longer bearable, and the steam in the shower is also causing some discomfort.
Between towel drying (very gently patting) my face and applying the next dose my stinging skin bought some tears to my eyes - but I kept telling myself that it is fine... we are almost halfway through the treatment... stay tough. Then as the cream was applied onto my dry skin the grit and the scratching adds to the pain.
All the while hubby and my five year old are in bed keeping a close watch making sure I am OK .. what can I say - I am fine just need a few quiet minutes to let my fiery skin settle down. Quiet coffee and toast and we are back to where we were yesterday just feeling generally uncomfortable - hot and scratchy.
Funny story - last night after dinner I notice in the mirror I had what looked like the remants of a beautiful dinner on the edge of my mouth - which my hubby and I though was pretty funny ..No that hurts to stretch my mouth too widely during dinner, or to laugh or smile too hard, it was quite possible that I had left a little dinner behind. BUT no - a closer inspectoin revealed parts of my skin flaking and clumping at the corner of my mouth, which is particularly unsightly.
So I will continue on with my day - headache in the background - not laughing too hard and continually keeping my mind busy - avoiding the discomfort of my face.
I will post more pics tonight.
I would love to hear from anyone else that has been through this treatment.
Day 6 - So far so good !!!
Well I have almost made it through the first week - and so far so good.
There have been a few moments during the course of today when the consistent itch became a real irritation, and there have also been times where I would liken the warmth on my face to a hot flush. So far keeping busy and keeping my mind occupied seems to be helping.
I am applying the cream right after a shower twice a day, and am starting to find the cream is taking much longer to soak into my skin. Last night I waited about 20 minutes (after the shower) before applying the cream and found that my skin dried out, then then the application of the cream was a little gritty.
Having my face directly under the hot water in the shower is creating some discomfort, I now just have to splash. No real issue.
I am also treating the skin on the back of my hands, and I can honestly say that I had not felt any pain or had any discolouration there as yet.
You will see from the photo, the colour of my skin is not yet a real problem, though I have had some comments today about spending too much time in the sun. I think I am only days away from being particularly unsightly. Stand by....
Day Four - Now I can feel it
Day Four has started in a fairly uninteresting manner - out of bed into the shower, wash my face with water (is that really washing) then reapply (6.30am).
I am thinking at this point that the first week is going to be a breeze.
It is now 12.30 and I am just starting to feel some real effects - my face is feeling quite warm - really feels like I have spent too much time in the sun. The itching is getting a little more consistent and my face is starting to get red and blotchy.
I will post another photo later today so you can see the changes.
Day Three - Just a Little Shine
First application - and the only concern I have is if I have used enough.
After 2 hours - there is some very slight tingling, but I am wondering if this is simply a result of my focus on how my face is feeling.
5th September 2010 : Day One
Today is day one ... I have sourced the cream and prepared the family for the ordeal of the next month (which is hard to do given the unknowns). Once dinner is done I will be applying the first round of Efudix. I am apprehensive, and have concerns about the burning and itching starting right away. I am also a little excited that I am one day closer to the treatment being completed and a more youthful me.
Stand by to hear about the first application later this evening.
Before the treatment
Where it all started
I have grown up in a very normal QLD family - plenty of time spent in the sun, always aware of the damage the sun can do - I had red hair and plenty of freckles which should have have guided me to always SLIP - SLOP - SLAP.
Now, at 31 I am well aware of the issues that our 'it'll be alright attitude' can lead to. .
I am fortunate enough to have family and friends that constantly remind me to have my skin checked. At the age of 25 I had a very small BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma) removed, and now at 31 my dermatologist tells me that there are many more signs that I am in for a world of pain if I do not treat the othe various spots of sun damage I have on my face and hands.
As you can see from the pictures - I had no reason to think I was in danger, or that I would need to undergo any treatment that would be considered a part of the Chemotherapy group of treatments... little did I know.
Now - after spending months considering the Efudix topical treatment, getting second opinions, hours of internet research, speaking with natural therapist and speaking with others that have have done it, I am taking the plunge. Not only am I expecting my Solar Keratoses (skin spots) to be gone in a month, but I hoping for a more much younger looking skin.