With Time, Mohs Memories Fade
Last updated: June 2019
The anticipation of getting Mohs surgery, and the procedure itself, can make you so anxious, that it’s interesting how much the memory fades with time.
If you’re nervous about getting a Mohs, this forgetting thing might offer some comfort.
I had forgotten
I was reminded of this the other day when I looked in the mirror and noticed a slight difference in contour along my right jawbone. You wouldn’t even know it was there if you didn’t look for it. For a moment I forgot that I had had a Mohs surgery there.
Then I remembered that I had a long-ago squamous cell carcinoma in situ removed from the area.
Same goes for the tiny nick on the left side of the top of my lip. Again, I’m sure, visible only to me unless someone was really studying it. That was one of the most difficult, not the procedure so much as the healing. Keeping a Band Aid affixed to the top of your lip is a difficult thing to do. At the time it was all-consuming. Now I don’t even think about it.
They all blend in
Even a quarter-sized scar on my ankle has blended into the scenery. I can clearly remember the procedure, including the graft taken out of my side, but I couldn’t recreate the pain that I had after the anesthesia wore off. (The procedure itself didn’t hurt because the doctor was so skillful at giving me the local anesthesia.)
Twelve years ago, when my new puppy cried all night, I said to myself, “I’m never going to sleep again!” At the time, the cries were so piercing, I wondered if morning would ever come. Well, guess what? I slept again. Morning came. Now at night, I kind of like to listen to the sound of her snoring. This is not exactly the equivalent of a Mohs memory fading, but it illustrates the power of time to help us get over things.
“Forgetting helps us live with the pains and traumas of life,” Robert N. Kraft, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today in an article headlined, “Why We Forget.”1
A blessing is the ability to forget
Daily Show Host Trevor Noah, in his excellent book “Born a Crime,” writes that as a child he got into all sorts of trouble in which he got badly hurt, over and over, because he was blessed with a trait he inherited from his mother: “her ability to forget the pain in life.”
Some people have this trait more than other people do. And it’s going to vary from situation to situation. If you burn your finger by sticking it into a flame, the memory of the pain is probably going to keep most people from repeating the behavior. This is a survival trait. You don't NEED to remember the pain of Mohs surgery to survive.
I imagine that if and when I have another Mohs surgery, I’ll be apprehensive, but it won’t be as bad as the first time because I know that I’ll get over it.
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