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Archive for October, 2011

Day 5 – Efudex causes dry skin

October 31, 2011 1 comment

I’ve noticed today that the skin on my nose is becoming drier and a little scaley – the first signs that the Efudex is working?  Have experienced a little itching at times today as well so I’m expecting things to really kick off sooner rather than later.  I’m just thankful for every day that I don’t experience redness or stinging – common side effects of this treatment!

It’s a weird experience (and I can understand that this is going to sound weird!) – every day I’m hoping that today isn’t the day that I that I start to experience the full force of Efudex but, I’m also strangely willing it to happen so that at least I know the cream is doing its job of killing off any pre-cancerous cells! I keep telling myself that I’ve got to stop doing this to myself because if/when (?) it does start to take effect, I’m going to have other things on my mind…

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Day 4 of my Basal Cell and Efudex journey

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Apart from a slight bit of itching – or did I imagine it/was it psychosomatic (because I’m expecting something to happen!)? – no change again today.  The one downside I’m finding of Efudex currently – admittedly a rather vain one in the circumstances – is that, because the cream is rather greasy, my make-up is clogging on my nose and doesn’t look particularly great. But, heh, a small price to pay – don’t know if I’ll even be able to/want to cover my nose with make-up as the treatment progresses and my skin reacts to the cream. But, so be it – treatment needs to continue.

Daily massaging of my Basal Cell scar seems to be going well – the scar is a little red with a slightly raised contour but, fabulous when I think back to the immediate aftermath of my treatment.  Clearly, leaving the scar to heal itself rather than having it stitched was the right approach.

Have done some more research on the web and found another couple of useful sites:

And, for something more detailed and complete with photos, The Skin Cancer Foundation’s site has a really good page on early warning signs for Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Day 3 with Efudex

October 29, 2011 2 comments

Another two treatments with Efudex and still no obvious effects.  I approach each application with trepdidation thinking today’s the day it’s going to sting, so find myself very carefully dabbing the cream on and ever so gently smoothing it out. And, still applying it with Q-tips as though it’s some hideously caustic and toxic substance! Which, I suppose it is in a way – it is going to ‘eat away’ at any pre-cancerous cells it detects and result in some degree of redness/burn. I have to keep reminding myself that that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do and IF I do get stinging and redness, that’s actually a good thing – it’s exactly what the cream should do (as described by my consultant and the cream’s instruction leaflet). And it’s what my partner keeps reminding me. But, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier somehow.

As you can probably tell from my previous posts, I’m a little paranoid about the sun now – don’t want the reaction of the Efudex to be even more severe because I’ve exposed it to sun – so made sure I wore sunscreen and a hat when I went out earlier even though I was out for only a short period of time.

Oh well, let’s just focus on the positive – all’s fine now and , hopefully, going through this treatment will avoid me getting any further Basal Cell Carcinoma’s on my nose in the future. And, tomorrow’s another day…

The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Guide to Sunscreens

October 29, 2011 1 comment

This makes interesting reading – some good stuff on sunscreen advice and SPF following on from my earlier piece.

The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Guide to Sunscreens.

Year-Round Sun Protection

October 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Year-Round Sun Protection.

Not something we necessarily think of at this time of year with all the cold, damp days we’ve been getting. But, when the sun IS out, it is worth thinking about sun protection. (I tend to use both sunscreen AND an SPF15 make-up as I don’t want to go through this again).  And, as you’ll see from this article, it’s important not to forget your ears, lips and neck.

It’s worth remembering that your skin can be ultra-sensitive to the sun whilst being treated with Efudex.  So, as it’s a fairly sunny day today, I’m going to be wearing a hat when I got out later.

Even though I’m only a couple of days into treatment, this whole process has made me really introspective. I find I’m spending lots of time trawling the internet to find out as much as I can about Basal Cell prevention and the latest research and thoughts -that’s how I came across the RSS feed I’ve attached to this blog.  The feed covers skin cancers in general – not just Basal Cells – and, as I had a small melanoma removed from my arm a number of years ago too, I’m reading it intently.

Day 2 of my Efudex journey

October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, a pretty uneventful day I suppose.  Another two doses of Efudix today and little obvious effect so far – no stinging or burning again and no redness as yet. I keep telling myself that maybe, just maybe, the whole three weeks will go this smoothly – perhaps my nose isn’t sun damaged after all and so the cream has nothing to attack. But, I know I’m kidding myself – of course I’m going to get some sort of reaction; it’s just a question of when and how severe.  Only time will tell …

No photo again today because, nothing to show.

Day 1 – treatment begins

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

And, we’re off! I have to apply Efudex twice a day and have completed my first day…

I was really anxious for my first application – for some reason, I was expecting the cream to really sting (to be fair, a lot of the blogs I’ve read talk about horrid burning sensations in the latter part of treatment so, I am expecting that at some stage). The instructions clearly state that:

  • you should only apply a thin layer
  • it should only be applied to areas as specified by your doctor
  • the cream should not be applied to broken skin

Now, I have a small red scar where my nose has healed following removal of my Basal Cell Carcinoma and, my consultant and the cream instructions tell me that the cream only affects ‘problematic’ (i.e. skin with pre-cancerous cells) and NOT healthy skin so I shouldn’t worry about getting cream on the scar. But I really worry about cream going anywhere near it, afraid that it will hurt – I found my recovery after Mohs surgery incredibly traumatic and put my fear down to that (I think I’ll write a page about that too as think it will be quite cathartic).

The cream instructions also state that untreated skin might also be affected and that you should wash your hands thoroughly after use. So, I was incredibly cautious and applied the cream little by little with a Q-tip rather than touching it. But, how thin is thin? – was I actually spreading the cream on too thickly if it stood out white against my skin? and, had I spread it out evenly across my nose or was it thicker in some places than others? did it matter? Well, after much fretting, I finally completed my application (all that fuss for such a small area of skin!) and didn’t feel a thing – either immediately or afterwards.  And I’ve completed a second application this evening – again without any side effects.  Another thing I don’t know the answer to is whether I should wash the cream off between applications or simply apply a new layer on top of the previous one.  As I’ve read that some people have experienced stinging when their skin comes into contact with water during treatment, I was a wuss and decided on the latter!

No photos today as nothing to suggest that I’m even using the cream.  Not sure how quickly I’ll start to notice changes so let’s just take it day by day …

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