Hey, Efudex-er! You Gotta Hear This!
Psst...you there...the one with the tube of fluorouracil. You need to hear something. I want you to know this won’t be easy. I know, I know. You’re glancing at that benign-looking tube and wondering how a cream could be anything but easy. Trust me. That cream packs a punch, and you need to be prepared.
Efudex cream: It’s chemo
Firstly, Efudex, or fluorouracil, is actually chemotherapy. I know, right? I didn’t know that until I got home with my own little tube and did some quick research. Gotta admit - that scared me. I’ll be honest with you, I wanted to throw in the towel then and there. I didn’t - and don’t you! You won’t know if it will take away your actinic keratosis until you give it a shot. It makes a huge difference for me - totally worth it.
Use the cream sparingly
Another thing you need to remember, a little bit goes a long way. I’d be willing to bet you haven’t heard that. A super-thin layer is all it will take. Don’t make the mistake I made and slather yourself like you are icing a cupcake. It’s really concentrated stuff, you don’t need much at all. My grandmother would have said, “A little dab’ll do ya.”
Efudex is not pretty
You won’t want to hear this next part. No! Now, wait. Don’t go running. Think about it - you want to know the lowdown, right? Shoot, I didn’t know there was a lowdown to even know my first time out of the gate. I was as clueless as I could be. I would have given anything to have had someone telling me the scoop before I started. The only words my doctor used were “bad sunburn”. Yeah...I figured you heard that, too. In my case, at least, that just wasn’t true.
So, friend, here it is. This cream will cause a fair amount of pain. Your skin will eventually feel like it’s on fire. I’m sorry. There will be times when you want to claw at it. Don’t. It’ll get much more difficult before it gets better. Dig in, set your sights on the end result, and bear with it. I know it’s hard to believe since you haven’t started it yet. It’s really rough.
Healing is hard
While I have your attention, I need to clue you in on the healing. No one, and I mean no one, told me that part. It sounds like the end, doesn’t it? It sounds like the wrap-up where sailing is smooth and all's right with the world again. Um...no. I would kick myself if I chickened out of telling you that the first 2-5 days after you stop the cream are the hardest of all. Whether you realize it or not, your skin is getting a fix from the cream, and it gets highly ticked off when you stop providing it. Just breathe. I want you to be ready for that.
Last but not least
One more thing. Others aren’t going to say this to you, especially if they’ve never used Efudex. I would lay down a little more money your doctor didn’t say this to you either. Above all else, I want you to lean in close and really get hold of this - wrap your mind around it, and let it sink in. Ready? Here it is. You can do this. You have everything within yourself needed to get through the entire treatment. There’s no reason for you to ever think you can’t hack it and are alone. That’s simply not the truth. You can do it, and all of your fellow Efudex-ers are here for you. You ask it, and we will answer. You need us, holler. You’ve got this, and we’ve got you!
When was your last skin check?