alt=a photo of Mohs surgery stitches on a shoulder surrounded by grocery bags

Mohs "Cart" Filled up More Than I Had Planned

Last updated: July 2022

You know when you go into a store expecting to buy one thing and leave with a cartload? Well, that’s kind of what happened to me at my last visit to see the Mohs surgeon.

I went in for Mohs surgery, and left having done much more

I went in to get surgery on a basal cell carcinoma on my neck. While I was there, I asked about spots on my hands, and, while lying on the table and fiddling with a spot on my head, I asked about that too. Before I knew it, I was having a lot done. I knew the doctor was busy and had other patients to attend to and felt a little bit bad about asking, for "one more thing,” but she didn’t seem to mind, and, since it’s 90 miles from my home, I felt like it was better to make one “shopping trip” than take multiple ones.

I was having an issue with my hands

The raised spots on my hands were ones that did not respond to the usual Efudex and Dovonex treatment that I do. “The hands are difficult,” the surgeon said, or something to that effect. She gave me a black marker and asked me to circle some of the most bothersome ones. I circled one on my right hand and several on my left, including one between two fingers and one my thumb. A nurse numbed them up, and the doctor came back in and sliced the spots off.

They finally responded to treatment

She said that removing them might give them a better chance to react to the combo cream, which she wanted me to reapply in a month. They did respond better, and they had been so annoying that I was glad that they were gone.

Treating the spot on my head

The nurse also numbed the spot at the top of my head and then shaved a tiny area. The doctor did the same as she had done on my hands, removing the tiny annoying thingie (not a technical term, but hopefully you get the idea). The nurse gave me the two hair clips she had used to separate the hair for the little procedure. She said I could use them to separate the hair for when I went home and treated with the cream. I told her that I had never put the cream on my head and wasn’t sure how it would work out. It really wasn’t any problem. I did the hands and the head for five days each.

You can over-treat spots

I asked if I should treat the spots for longer. I thought I had heard her say that a longer course is sometimes warranted. I’m glad I asked. She said not to do it and told me that some people have treated spots for so long that they get ulcerations. I was glad I asked.

What a relief

This time, my hands cleared up. It is such a relief to have smooth tops of my hands and not ones that resemble a rocky moonscape. I am trying to remember to wear sun protection gloves at tennis and put sunscreen on at other times to keep them from getting messed up again.

Not sure about the top of my head

Of course, I can’t see the top of my head, so I don’t know how it looks. The little spot I was fiddling with is gone, so I’m pretty sure it is cleared up. The only vestige is a tiny crewcut, about the size of a pinky nail, that I play with from time to time. It’s not like playing with a spot that should be left alone, so I don’t think I’m doing any harm. It’s just a funny feeling. Which is way better than the feeling that something bad is growing there.

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