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My skin cancer journey, week 1

Hey there. How much did that last blog post leave you hanging?! Sorry about that. I received tons of such heartfelt messages from that post and am feeling so LOVED right now. So let me start this post by saying THANK YOU! I so appreciate all your kind words, thoughts and prayers. Good news: things are going superbly well, I am on the mend and even ahead of the expected healing schedule. Let’s get started. We left off at the cosmetic surgeon closure of the Mohs excision of the skin cancer. Here’s the next week since then.
Day 1
Let’s just say I didn’t sleep so well last night. The swelling from the procedure was immediate and all encompassing. I was allowed to take Tylenol (never take ibuprofen after surgery as it’s a blood thinner) as needed. And I needed it.  I took 400 mg of Tylenol every 4 hours basically since the procedure through evening of the surgery. And applied ice to my face, head and neck for about 15 minutes every hour. For those that know me, I am not a huge fan of ice in most recovery situations. There’s  lots of research documenting therapeutic effects of heat application to local areas of pain and injury while debunking the benefits of ice application. However, in the first 24-48 hours of trauma (surgery) ice is the preferred modality. The temporary analgesia is a much welcomed reprieve from the heat and swelling in my face.
Chalking this day up to one long movie marathon and lots of bed rest.
Day 2
Still swollen, but less so than yesterday.  Today starts my part in this recovery, and the first treatment on my list is acupuncture. Of course I didn’t go anywhere near the incision, but these are are tons of other points very beneficial in decreasing pain and swelling, specifically from the face. I left the needles in place for 40 minutes before removing them. The rest of the day was another bed rest day with lots of movies, more ice then heat contrast treatment, Tylenol and very little food since I still can’t move my face without a painful reaction. Sticking with chicken broth and smoothies is best today since the swelling causes a lot of pain to open my mouth, chew or even smile. Make that try to smile, since the swelling is also affecting my motor skills giving me a lopsided grin. So duck lips it is for a while and  no funny movies.
 Day 3
More acupuncture, less Tylenol and only a couple ice applications today. Looking better, I think. Definitely not feeling better though. My body aches everywhere from being on bed rest.
Day 4
Shower day! Isn’t amazing how much a long hot shower can change your world, especially after three days of bedrest.  Today I had enough energy to not only shower but drive to my office to pick up some much needed herbs and my infrared laser so I can begin these treatments at home. The swelling is improving but the bruising is spreading.  I could kick myself for not bringing them home before the surgery, but it certainly felt good to not only be out of bed, but also out of the house for a bit. Definitely going a bit stir crazy here. As soon as I’ve returned from picking these things up,  I’m back in my PJs and laying down. Clearly my body is still busy healing and I need more rest. But not before I’ve applied a San Qi herbal powder mask mixed with honey. I left this goody on for 4 hours then did a laser treatment to my face for 10 minutes. Still can’t smile yet but am feeling markedly better.
Day 5
Stitches out day! I am so excited for this day! Before heading in to have the stitches removed I did another acupuncture treatment. After the stitches were removed I drove to Trader Joe’s to pick up some more healthy food. BTW, proper nutrition with tons of fruits and veggies is imperative to a speedy recovery! This increases the chances of proper healing, decreases any chance of post-surgical complication or risk of infection by bumping up good nutrition during this time. The first two days was basically broth, soup and smoothies for me. But as soon as I could chew with less pain (day 4) my proper nutrition skills kicked into high gear. Don’t forget the importance of protein here either! Your body thrives on it during recovery. So lean meats, lots of veggies and some fruit. I’m also continuing my San Qi and honey herbal mask as well as laser treatment today. And finally supplementation: loading up on all things antiinflammatory here and no longer taking Tylenol. So I’ve added in tumeric, quercetin, Vitamin C, and ginger root along with other chinese herbs.
 Day 6
Today I have returned back to work. It was just a half day of treating patients today, and for that I am grateful. A full day would’ve been too much to jump right back into. More laser treatment this evening and San Qi honey mask before bed.
 Day 7
Such a huge difference between Day 5 and today! No more yellow bruising! I am so pleased with my progress. And in just two short days.  I am still having swelling, worse in the morning and in the late evening when tired. So now I’ve begun using body cupping to my shower routines each day. The silicone body cups can be purchased online and are a Godsend! Just spending an extra 5 minutes using these guys helps improve lymphatic drainage which improves circulation.  Once out of the shower I use a smaller silicone cup on my face and neck for a few minutes too. My face will certainly show all signs of not having enough sleep quicker now, so adding this to my daily routine helps jump start my day. Oh, and I’m  aiming for 9 hours of sleep each night too.  Sounds like a lot, but anything less than 7 right now simply isn’t enough to let the body repair itself overnight. I’m literally focusing on getting beauty rest these days. Fingers crossed it works 😉
Well that wraps up Week 1. It was a pretty intense week, for sure. But it’s ending on a high note with so much progress. Next week we’ll see what Week 2 has to offer.
Here’s a preview though of day 9. No bruising. No swelling. Only 4 days after the stitches were removed using acupuncture, herbal masks, cupping, derma rolling, massage therapy and cold laser treatments. This medicine, Chinese Medicine, is holistic medicine. And is simply amazing.

4 responses to “My skin cancer journey, week 1”

  1. Bev Van Soest says:

    Sorry to hear of you journey I hope they got it all. You look wonderful keep going.

  2. Mary Walter says:

    Truly amazing!!! So glad it was caught and u healed so well. Thank you for sharing your educational ascwell as beneficial journey.

  3. Linda says:

    Hi Julee, Linda here in Pittsburgh, PA. I hope and pray you are healing and feeling so much better. Abrazos!

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