The First Few Days After Mohs Surgery
Last updated: November 2021
Mohs surgery is the most effective way to treat many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), the two most prevalent types of skin cancer. But what’s healing after having Mohs surgery on the face like? I had mine done on my face, and it was quite an experience the first few days after.
Healing after having Mohs surgery on the face
I had my surgery in the morning and was home and in bed by the afternoon. I happen to love naps, so it wasn’t too difficult an ask for me to rest after having surgery. I was sent home with mild pain medication, (no opioids or anything super strong), and for me that was fine; I wasn't in much pain. What I did have was a little sharp pain once in a while in the area where they did the surgery and around the stitches, but it wasn't too bad or anything I couldn't handle.
The next day
I slept most of the afternoon after getting my surgery and woke up feeling prepared to face the day after. With wound care information in hand, the instructions directed me to not to bend over. "What? Will my face fall off" I thought to myself. Okay, so I didn’t really think that, but it was a tad disconcerting. I later found out that they instruct you not to bed over so you don’t strain your stitches or cause blood to rush to the face wound, which makes total sense. Typically, you'll go back to the doctor who performed the surgery in about a week or so to have the stitches removed. I work from home anyway, so it wasn’t too difficult to take the day off and take it easy. And honestly, who doesn't love getting extra TLC?
Stepping out with my stitches
Leaving the house was a different experience. I had 20 stitches in my face, right under my right eye. Honestly, I felt like Frankenstein’s monster. While that didn’t bother me too much, I did wonder what people thought of me. Would they wonder if I’d been in an accident? Or if someone had assaulted me? Would people stare?
The Pub Sub was worth the outing
My first trip out was to Publix, which is a grocery store here in Florida. If you haven’t had a Pub Sub, as they're affectionately known, you don’t know what you’re missing. Anyway, I went out. Yes, a few people stared, but it wasn’t bad at all. I never felt embarrassed or ashamed of my face, but I’m the type of person who thinks scars are cool.
My relationship with my scars
I embrace my scars, though I know that mentality isn't for everyone. In fact, every other year or so, I’ll share my photos. Some find it horrifying. Others are interested. The point is, it’s important that I had the Mohs surgery to get rid of the cancer. What I looked like at Publix that one day wasn't important in comparison.
Since then, I still have a scar, but it’s light. With makeup, you might not even notice it too much. Was it worth it to get Mohs surgery? It sure was. Right now, I’m skin cancer-free and hope to remain that way. While the experience isn't as much fun as, say, a shopping trip - it was worth it, and not that bad at all.
Do you sunscreen in the fall?