Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Basal Cell Carcinoma

About two and a half months ago, I went to the dermatologist for three reason. To have a mole cut off my chest, to schedule an appointment to have another spot on my chest lasered off and to have this never-disappearing sore/pimple/thing cut off my nose. A week or two later, when I went back for the laser treatment, the dermatologist informed me the mysterious sore on my nose was was a basal cell carcinoma.

Yes, at 22 years-old I have skin cancer. Minor. Just a basal cell carcinoma... But still. I have skin cancer. And I'm sure this is going to be a problem throughout my life. My dermatologist recommended I go get Mohs Surgery.

I wanted it off immediately and scheduled a consultation with the recommended surgeon. When I walked in the doctor's office, I felt like an infant. I was by far the youngest person in there. I felt like everyone was staring at me. The people behind the desk; the people in the waiting room; they were all looking at me. The lady at the front desk didn't say anything about my age, but once went back to the room, the nurse, the white jacket (not sure who he was) and the doctor all commented, first thing, on my age.

Why was I there? How could somebody this young and with such clear skin already be in there. They would literally ask me "Why are YOU here?" They would rephrase into some short, second-guessed question as they flipped through my file. The next thing that would come out of their mouth was, "22!"

I'm not a huge tanner. I've tanned in a tanning bed a couple handfuls of times, but not many. I mean I love being outdoors in the sunlight! The first couple years of my life were spent in Florida, and I've visited at least once a year ever since. They all seemed to think it was the tanning bed. However, between the first two years of my life being spent in Florida and both sides of my family having a history of skin cancer, I think this is more likely the cause of my issue so early in life. If the tanning bed was really the cause, then I think a lot more people would have this problem... I know a lot of people who have tanned more than a couple handfuls of times.

Anyway, after their initial shock that I was even in their office and blaming my cancer on the tanning bed, they each described the surgery that I was about to go though. They were going to cut off the skin that the previous dermatologist already cut plus about a millimeter extra around the original cut. Then they would examine the piece of cutoff skin under a microscope and map out were the cancer had spread. They would go back and cut out more in the places that it spread, plus another millimeter around that area. They would repeat until it was all gone. Doesn't sound bad, right?

Mine would have been closer to
my eye, but I imagine about the
 same size.
Well each description got worse. By the time the doctor marked on my nose where he would do his first cut, I realized that they were going to cut off about a quarter of my nose. Plus, it was close to my eye and I would probably lose some feeling in my nose for about a year. I was definitely going to have to visit the plastic surgeon afterward for repair.

When each person left after talking with me, they commented on how composed I was and how well I was taking everything in. When I got to my car, I called the plastic surgeon and scheduled a consultation. Little did everyone know that as soon as I hung up, before I even left the parking lot, I started sobbing. I drove home, talking to my mom on the phone crying.

I had three weeks before my plastic surgeon consultation, what harm could there be in trying a natural remedy while I wait? Any remedy is better than having a quarter of my nose cut off and having, as my dad says, a piece of my butt sewn to my face! (S said that my nickname would have to be butt-face! Loving. I know!)

I was extremely busy as you all know since I wasn't even writing, so my mom started researching for me. For the next few hours, I received email after email about different natural remedies. They were all different. None of them are scientifically proven. Finally one started popping up repeatedly. Topical vitamin C.

The theories behind it made sense and people were writing about their successful results. However, basal cell carcinoma discharges, scabs over, heals, but then returns. Mine disappeared for a couple months... That's why I waited so long to go to the doctor. So as I read these people's stories, my concern was that nobody had written of their success after months had gone by. How do I know that it really worked. How do I know that it never came back? Finally, I got the best email. Mom found someone's story who had a confirmed case of basal cell carcinoma, had gone to the dermatologist only a couple weeks after the vitamin C treatment and who wrote 6 months after the cancer disappeared. The dermatologist had told him the skin looked like healthy and the 6 month period just confirmed that it hadn't returned. I had vitamin C on my nose immediately.

If you want to know what I did then keep reading. If you want to know how it turned out, skip to the end. I am writing my experience in detail so that anybody else who was like me and looking for testomonials from people who have tried this crazy easy cure, can know my story.

Note: This is only one of the three things that I did that I believe helped me. I will continue writing about what I did in future posts.

Recipe for success:
  1. Pour a small amount of water into a small container. (Only about a tablespoon or so.)
  2. Mix in powdered vitamin C until it stops dissolving.
  3. Apply the concentrated mixture with your finger tip or a q-tip to the suspected or confirmed spot of basal cell carcinoma.
  4. There may be some stinging, but when the water evaporates, vitamin C crystals will be left on the spot. 
  5. Repeat as often as possible.
  6. It takes anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks, but eventually the spot will scab over and fall off.
For the next two weeks I had a thick white spot on my nose... I put a ton of vitamin C in my water. I figured, the more the better and the faster the cancer will die.

None of this is scientifically proven. But I mean, who is going to spend all the money on the research when the result might lead to such a cheap way to cure one simple form of cancer? (That's my opinion anyway.) All I could rely on were the testimonials that I read.

It stung. At first I though it only stung on the cancerous spot, but I'm not sure if that was completely true. I think it stung where ever I put vitamin C repeatedly. But there was definitely a difference in the scabbing on the places where I knew there was cancer.

First, allow me to describe what my carcinoma was like at the time... When the doctor scraped off my sore, the skin that took its place was healthy. I could see a ring of skin around the healthy scar, however, that looked cancerous. It looked like underneath the top layer of skin, my skin was bleeding. There was no actual discharge, since the dermatologist had recently cut off that bad part. But the ring of skin that she missed was irritated and a little puffy.

When I applied the vitamin C, my skin had an interesting reaction. Within 24 hours I had a ring of discharge around my healthy scar. Within 48 hours, I had a scab. It was almost like the vitamin C was literally pulling the cancer out of my skin!

After a couple days, I had to go out of town. I didn't bring my vitamin C and couldn't find it anywhere in the city I was visiting! I couldn't even find capsules with powder in them to break open and mix in water. Within that 36 hours, the spot left behind from the vitamin C had begun to heal. It was already looking so much better!

When I came back, even though my nose was looking better, I didn't want to take any risks, I reapplied the vitamin C and kept applying it on wider and wider surface area. I just wanted to be sure I was going to get it all! And since I had read that the vitamin C only stung where the cancer was, and the whole area was stinging, I went wider. Eventually I decided that the whole area couldn't be cancerous. It was just reacting to the acidity of the vitamin C.

I could see a difference in the scabbing of the two place. The first place was the place I had just applied vitamin C over and over. The second place was where the doctor had told me he would cut, which was the same spot I could see the skin cancer. The cancerous spot was actually a little wider than what we both had thought. The vitamin C had pulled so much out  of my skin that the scab in the cancerous area was much thicker. It was like the skin reacted to the vitamin C everywhere, but the cancer completely ran out of the skin only in the cancerous spots providing a thicker scab.

After a week and a half of this application, I took a break. I let the skin heal. Within a couple days the scab was gone. And I cannot even express how excited I was about the results! The skin is not puffy at all. It's completely smooth. No irritation under the skin either! I don't even know if the doctor would know where to cut!

The few people who asked me about my nose have asked me if I would go back to the dermatologist to have her take look when I was done. I said yes a couple times at first, but then changed my mind. Basal cell carcinoma is known for healing and then returning. I bet my doctor thinks I'm nuts and tells me it is just going to come back. Plus, the only way to prove that it is gone would be to biopsy my skin. Which would mean I would get cut on... Yet again! If it's still there, I'd rather it come back a while down the road and then maintain it again with vitamin C. My skin looks a lot healthier for it!

Something funny about the whole process... People have to see the white vitamin C spot on my face, but they don't say anything about it! People don't even tell you when you have spinach in your teeth! They don't say anything about white spots on your nose either! And its rude to stare! The result: Only the truly honest people or the people you know the best (...or drunk people at a bar) will ask any questions!

Anyway, so far, my nose is looking fantastic!  I have a small scab from where I picked at part of the original scab, but it is almost gone. It's not just healing and then coming back again. I just got a little too excited when the scab was coming off! And now I keep accidentally rubbing the fresh scab off with my towel.

It takes a couple weeks just to get an appointment with the dermatologist. So if you have a basal cell carcinoma, it doesn't hurt to spend $20 on powdered vitamin C and give this a try while you wait! Worst case scenario: you have to do what the dermatologist prescribed in the first place. Best case scenario: you can prevent going to a surgeon, getting a quarter of your nose cut off and going to the plastic surgeon for a repair. Instead you can heal it naturally! Sure you might look like you are a coke addict if it's around your nose, but it could be a natural cure!

(6/4/11 - I realize that this post is getting lots of hits. The story doesn't end here. Please read my post on May 30, Vitamin C for my Basal Cell Carcinoma, Round 2 for the most recent status.)

To read more about the Mohs surgery, visit the following link:
To read more about topical vitamin C, surf the web! There are so many thing to find, but no official proof or process.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Big News!

Hey everybody!
Sorry it has been so long!!! I got really busy and knew I wouldn't be able to post for a while, but still temporarily left without explanation... Well I'm back! And boy do I have lots of news!

First, I'm helping my Mom open a small Pilates studio on the first floor of the "office house." (It's an old white victorian house and Dad's business is upstairs.) We are taking our time opening it since we have no rent, but all the new equipment (reformers, towers, chairs, balls, etc.) is set up and is so much fun to play with!

Which brings me to the second thing. I decided to learn to teach classical Pilates! The comprehensive training starts in the fall, so right now I'm just trying to fulfill my prerequisites. I'm taking classical apparatus classes every week and classical mat classes about every other week! I absolutely love it! There are so many new exercises that I had no idea that I could even do!

On the downside of the time I've been gone, I have skin cancer on my nose. I have been to the dermatologist many more times than I would have liked within the past month. It's a minor cancer, but it's on my face. This topic deserves a whole post on its own though... Don't worry, you will hear plenty about it soon! I am of course trying out a new natural remedy ;)

I bought a new car! Mom got a new car, Mom and Dad needed a car for my sisters to drive, and I liked my Mom's old stick shift. So I gave my car back to them for the girls to drive and bought my Mom's old Mini Cooper for the difference of the two cars' price! Took me about a week to finally get the hang of that stupid stick shift! And I can even start on an uphill incline!

A week ago, two days in a row, I couldn't get my car to go forward. I would be pressing the accelerator and the car would go vvvvvvrrrrrrrrrroooooooooommmmmmmmm, but I would be rolling backwards down the hill. I ended up having to back all the way down, start on flat ground and then practically run the stip sign at the top of the hill so that I didn't have to start the whole process all over again! Yes, I know. Not the safest way to drive, but I've learned how now!

And finally, I moved out! I finished unpacking a week ago, all I have left is hanging pictures. K helped put together my furniture, set up my TV and now gets to help me by holding the pictures against the wall as I figure out exactly where to put the nail! It has been a wirlwind! But the first round of bills is in just a week. When did I grow up?

Anyways, things are settled down enough that I will be blogging again! So stay tuned!