A few years ago after returning to the UK from a blissful life in the sunshine of New Zealand, beside my two bags, passport and a banker’s draft for my entire worldly wealth, I also brought something else with me as a reminder of my time beneath the southern skies – skin cancer.
About seven years ago, I underwent surgery to remove a couple of particularly nasty ones on each side of my forehead. The rest were treated by being frozen – with one exception, the one on the lower right hand side of my back. This one was treated with some kind of heat source and a medicinal paste. With the exception of the scalpel, none of the treatments actually worked permanently, by the way.
The surgeon, who quite frankly scared me with the heavy handed approach she took, cut out the two on my forehead. In the process she completely turned me off going under the knife for the one on my back, which now measures two by two and a half inches. While having the stitches removed for one of the two on my head went reasonably well at my local GP’s surgery, with a certain amount of pain, the same could not be said for the second one. The skin on your head is not as elastic as other parts of your body. So when the surgeon had forcibly stretched the skin to stitch the wound together, it created for me a few weeks of pure unadulterated agony! Just enduring the removal of one stitch by the nurse reduced me to a screaming wreck. And so I had to go back to my GP each week for the following four weeks to have the rest removed one at a time.
Since that excruciating experience, I’ve stayed well clear of any kind of doctor. While the two which were cut out have not re-appeared, the rest, spread across my head, face and body certainly have. As for the nasty looking, constantly weeping monstrosity on my lower back, well, washing T-shirts stained by it is instantly preferable to letting a butcher with a scalpel in their hand anywhere near it, thank you very much…