Is That Efudex You're Prescribing For Me?

Three weeks ago, I went to the dermatologist for a recheck on a spot she had frozen off a few months earlier. I wasn’t particularly nervous, because she had called it a precancerous growth of some kind, and after having had two skin cancers, hearing that a spot was not cancer (even if it was precancerous) did not alarm me. I figured we’d follow it, keep an eye on it, and worst-case scenario, well, I didn’t go there in my mind. But at no time did I imagine I'd be leaving with an Efudex prescription.

The cream turned out to be an Efudex prescription

My doctor came into the room where I was sitting on the exam table and looked at the spot she had removed from the top of my nose. I looked up at her face to see if she looked concerned, but I couldn’t read her expression. “Well, what do you think?” I asked. She immediately said the spot looked okay, and that she’d give me a cream to use on it. I figured, okay, I’ll put something on it, no big deal. When I asked her what the cream would do, she said it would help to prevent the spot from turning into skin cancer. Wow, I thought, this is great, I can use a cream to prevent skin cancer.

I told her I didn't want it

Then all of a sudden, I thought back to articles I had read, and posts I had moderated at, and felt a lump in my throat. My hands started to shake as I looked up at her and said, “Wait, are you giving me an Efudex prescription?” She touched my arm and said, “Yes, look at this spot on my cheek, I’m using it myself, it’s great.” “I don’t want it,” I snapped back at her. She looked at me with a surprised expression and reassured me it was safe and effective.

This was the first time I pushed back

I think this is the first time I’ve ever told a medical professional that I don’t want to take a medication or treatment. I listed all the painful side effects I had heard about Efudex, and once again, she reassured me I’d be fine. I stared into her eyes and said, “But how can I be fine, my friend has an Efudex prescription and I read what she and others have written about the redness, and the pain.” I was scared.

Somehow I agreed to the Efudex prescription

I don’t even remember agreeing to try it, but the next thing I knew, the nurse was calling in the Efudex prescription to my pharmacy. I left the office, drove home, and did some work. In the middle of working, I got a text from the pharmacy saying my prescription was ready. I ignored the text. I met a friend to walk after work, ate dinner, and went to bed. I didn’t pick up the prescription. I didn’t want to use it, so why should I pick it up? It wasn’t like I was even making excuses for why I wasn’t going to the pharmacy to get the prescription. I knew why I wasn’t getting it.

I'm still not sold

Five days later, I finally decided to pick up the Efudex prescription from the pharmacy. That was almost three weeks ago, and I haven’t used it yet. As I’m writing this, I’m wondering when I will be ready to use it, and I’m not sure. I keep finding excuses – I’m going to be on video for work, I’m finally going to see friends who I haven’t seen in over a year and I don’t want them to see me with bright red, flaky skin, and I'm contemplating all the other side effects. I have lots of excuses. But when will I finally start using the Efudex? Stay tuned.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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