Prevention Surgery

by Harry

I had a large hemangioma on my forehead that was progressively reacting worse and worse to the sun and other conditions.

I was a weekly beach goer in Florida, and with an extremely pale complexion.

The doctors feared it was a prime candidate for Skin Cancer, so they advised it be removed as soon as possible.

This was during my junior year of high school and was to be my first surgery beyond getting wisdom teeth extracted.

It took two surgeries. For the first, the doctors made an incision above the hemangioma and inserted a saline skin expander balloon.

Every week, I'd go in for an injection of saline to stretch my skin in order to give the surgeons something to work with.

The sensation was rather surreal and I had a constant headache, not to mention an increasingly large protrusion on my forehead. I want to say I went through this for at least a month, if not two.

The second surgery was the actual removal of the hemangioma and the reconstructive work.

Both surgeries were done out-patient, but I required bed care at home for about 3 days, as the pain medication and anesthesia made me feel very ill.

I also had to wear a shunt under my scalp to collect blood during the healing process.

The removal of this shunt (which takes like a second in the doctor's office) was actually the most painful part of the entire experience.

Today, over 10 years later, I'm left with a rather awkward zipper scar along my hairline and the aches and twinges a deep scar brings.

But I feel it's a small price to pay to prevent the much larger concern of Facial Skin Cancer.

Luckily we caught my case in time and the surgeries I went through could be considered a minor inconvenience compared to what full-blown cancer patients must endure.

Today, I still watch myself out in the sun. Suntan lotion stays in the car for long drives and I always have a sun protection hat with me.

Preventative surgery was one thing the doctors could do for me, but the bulk of overall prevention is in my hands.

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