Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Harmless

  I got the call from my dermatologist's office today that both biopsies came back as "harmless, non-stratified fibromas." Yeay! I am so relieved. This means no more cuts or stitches! It also means I don't have to shun the sun. I was honestly a little worried that I would have to stop spending so much time in the sun (meaning less pool and beach time.. boo.) if I knew I was already susceptible to skin cancer. Now that I know the bumps were nothing I can go about my way. Don't get me wrong I will definitely be choosing my sunscreen more wisely and re-applying more frequently, but I can do all this with considerably less guilt and fear! Having a little party in the Edbrooke household tonight!
See looking much better today! :D

Monday, July 26, 2010

My First Stitches- Warning Some Yucky Pictures and LONG

  Many of you have heard my worrying about the little bumps on my left arm. They appeared  over a year and a half ago and kinda looked like ingrown hairs.They didn't go away with time and a few months ago the one on my lower arm appeared to be getting bigger, but I didn't want to overreact so I didn't do anything. Then it continued to grow... not huge but to me it was obviously larger than an ingrown hair. I still wasn't motivated to look any further into it as I was afraid of being a hypochondriac, plus who wants to waste money to be told it's nothing. Besides I had googled "skin cancer" images and found this, and my spot looked nothing like any of these spots so I put off my worry.
Then I read this blog entry in one of the blogs I follow and his shiny pink mole while larger than mine looked too familiar.  So Jim and I decided I should have them checked out just in case if for no other reason than to quiet my fears.
A friend of ours is a nurse at a local doctors office and recommended several dermatologists and cautioned me to be prepared to wait 8 weeks as that was very common. I made some calls and actually got an appointment only three weeks out. For the past three weeks I have been very anxious about what the doctor would say/do. You know how you over play every thing in your head... no just me huh? Well anyways I went back and forth between being convinced it was nothing to fretting over possible procedures and when/how they would be done... surely they wouldn't do them then and there right? I also decided I might need to document the change in them in case the doctor just wanted to monitor them so I took some pictures. Not really the best pictures but it's hard to get a picture of your own arms.
The first is my lower arm (larger spot) and the second my upper arm (smaller spot).
Today was my appointment and although Jim thought he should go with me I assured him they wouldn't be doing anything but looking at the spots today and he could go back when and if they decided to do anything further. It was the usual fill out tons of paper work and wait doctors appointment, luckily I had my new book to read while I waited.
The wonderful nurse came in and talked to me about my medical history and the history of my spots. She gave them a quick once over, gave me a sheet on protection from the sun's harmful rays, and told me the doctor would be in soon. Again more time for reading my book (see also a good way to avoid anxiousness). The doctor came in, listened again to my history of the spots. I again explained that they appeared over a year and a half ago, that they didn't bleed if you scratched at them and would grow back, as well as the fact the lower arm one had recently begun getting larger... which was my main concern. He asked some more questions, looked at my face, neck, and arms. Then he began talking about my spots reciting back the facts that I had told him and adding in some facts I tried to commit to memory (I should have had my notebook or tape recorder). He said that while spots like this are common and called dermatofibromas and 95% of them are harmless 5% are not. He also cited that due to the fact that they were pink instead of  flesh colored and recent growth he would like to biopsy them now rather than wait until later. I agreed that if for nothing more than to know they were not harmful and to have smaller scars I would prefer sooner to later. He began to explain that the nurse would use a local anaesthetic to numb the area and he would take a 3mm biopsy of each spot which would then require 2 stitches each. I think I surprised him a bit when I interjected "You would do this today?"... he assured me that if I would be more comfortable I could make another appointment and bring someone for moral support. I agreed to go ahead with the procedure.
 The nurse had me move to what looked much like a dentist's chair but with more padding and no arms and again went through the steps of the procedure. She promised she wouldn't hurt me with the anesthetic and at my request showed me the punch that would make the biopsy... mistake! It looked huge! However, she didn't lie it didn't hurt one bit to be numbed. The punch biopsy however... I didn't feel the top one at all but that may have been because I was distracted by the pain from the bottom one. I looked down to watch him pull the two little pieces of skin from my arm and see the holes in my arm. The nurse asked if I was taking any aspirin as she tried to stop the bleeding... I laughed as I told her no and joked that "I guess it bleeds after all" (my nervous jokes... not so good). And then it was time for my first stitches. They use a little fishing hook type thing. Again no pain on top just a bit of tugging, but I definitely felt the second bottom stitch. The nurse let me know they will have the results in 2-3 days, and that in two weeks I can get the stitches out. She also advised that I need to buy tea tree oil cream as you can't use neosporin on puncture wounds, and where I may find it. So this afternoon I sought out the proper supplies
This store did not have "Tea Tree Oil Cream" just "Tea Tree Cream" which was not what was listed on the paper I was given and I was not messing this up as it said the wrong ointment could be "caustic to the wound". So I went to Vitamin World and found "Tea Tree Oil Cream" which is actually the same as what I found at the first store but I am much more comfortable with exact wording here. I also got waterproof Band Aids. I'm really not wanting any infection here either.
So far here's what they look like. It throbs a little and I feel tugging. You can see the white around the top one... I think it's because the skin is tugging and agitated... it's hurting the most right now. I wish I had a visual of how large 3 mm is to share as well.
Jim and I are optimistic we will get positive results in a couple days. The doctor did also mention that if it is something that it is early and shouldn't take much to correct. I am much more calm about my fears now... happy that I have taken the necessary steps either way. Hopefully these will be my last stitches for awhile and they are already on the mend.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

All Good Things Must Come to an End

The dunes on Hatteras as we drove to the ferry.
These birds lined up waiting for food from the people waiting for the ferry. They look like they are lined up like bowling pins to me.
On the way home we had to pass back through Ocracoke, this time it was not rainy so we got to see the scenery even better.
We stopped by a local pizza shop to get some food and the lady told us how to get to the local fire department to obtain a t-shirt. We finally found it after some misunderstandings with the directions. We thought she told us to "Take that road back there it goes all the way around." We went the way she pointed but were unsure which road to take and drove around for a bit before we found it.
As we were leaving the fire station we realized the misunderstanding.... she literally meant we needed to take the "Back Road"
Once on the ferry on the way home we passed a lot of shrimping boats.
And saw a beautiful sunset. It was a great way to end our get away.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We were tourists!

After checking out the light house we stopped by the Hatteras Volunteer Fire Department in an attempt to obtain Jim one of the really great t-shirts that they sell.

This is the library. The worlds largest caught marlin was caught and brought to dock in Hatteras.
We ate lunch at the Frisco Sandwich Co. They had home made potato chips and Jim's sandwich was amazing. Definitely try their specialty sandwiches. Their sweet tea was not sweet at all.... I would call it sweetened tea, nothing like we drink here.
These flowers were  outside the house. We have them in MB but I love them!
Andrea and I waiting on the guys so we can go down to the beach.
The waves there were insane with a very strong current. I got in the water several times but never for any amount of time as it was too rough and I had difficulty staying standing. I also didn't like that I wasn't really in control, with each wave I literally got pushed to the left a few feet. All of us got swept up at least once and walked away with some sort of scrape.
There are a lot of huge houses along the dunes.
After the beach it was about time to start heading home. Neither of us wanted to leave. I guess we'll have to plan a trip back, we are thinking in the fall as that would be more conducive to walking around and we really didn't enjoy spending much time in the water.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cape Hatteras Light House

Matt and Andrea took us to see the Cape Hatteras Light House. This light house was built in 1870 and has 248 steps which is equal to about a 12 story building. It used to sit a little ways away but due to the land receding and being in danger of falling into the ocean they moved it to a more secure location. This is the tallest brick structure to have been moved.

We decided to climb it although the outside deck was closed due to wind conditions.

Off to the side they had a museum with artifacts not only from this light house but ships that were sunk or wrecked in the area.
Looking up the staircase from the bottom. About four or five flights up I realized the second thing about myself I didn't know. I'm afraid of heights, or more specifically falling down large flights of stairs. I had known in college that I didn't like looking down the stairwell when I lived on the third floor. The distance from me to the bottom was unnerving. But this weekend I flat out did not want to go any further I have never felt fear like that before, not even walking across OSU campus in the middle of the night alone.Luckily I had people with me who understood and tolerated my humming and slow walking until we reached the top.
Once we were at the top there was a tiny landing where a park employee greeted us and allowed us to step out onto the outside balcony just barely to take pictures. That height however did not bother me. So I guess it is just a stairs thing.
These support the upstairs landing.
I made Jim take this picture looking down the lighthouse. See how I could be intimidated. This appears to only show about 4 floors down.
These waves are splashing over some of the old methods put up to try to keep the sand from eroding to save the light house in its old position. Ironically it did the exact opposite and caused the beach to erode even worse.

The light house as seen from it's original site.
Have I mentioned my camera has amazing zoom? J took these last few.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hatteras Island

After our second ferry ride we were finally where we wanted to be.... Hatteras Island. We didn't get in till later but were so happy to see our friends Matt & Andrea. We went and picked up food at a local bar and grill, the guys played video games downstairs while we waited and us girls caught up on all the latest news. When we got back to the house there were long discussions about all things work, life, and politics. Since they had also driven in the day before we were all tired and went to bed early.
The next morning Andrea and I got up and took a walk on the beach while the guys slept. It was so nice to get to spend some time talking and catching up.
These are the dunes that separate the beach from the houses... much larger dunes than we are used to seeing here in MB.


There were tons of these holes all over the beach... Andrea explained that they belong to ghost crabs who only come out at night. We did catch a glimpse of one pushing sand out of his hole but he scurried back in before I was able to get a picture of him.
Their pier got rocked by a hurricane and they have not repaired it to the point where it is safe to use yet.
When we returned from our walk the guys were still out. The only thing that motivated them was when Matt's mom started making pancakes and eggs.
After breakfast we headed out for some sight seeing... I learned something else about myself during our next adventure. Can't wait to share with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We're Here.... ALMOST

So when we left off we were finishingup a 2 1/2 hour ferry ride.

Finally at Ocracoke.... our temporary destination.
Pretty shoreline picture.
Boats in the harbor
We had about an hour once we got off the first ferry till we needed to be on the second ferry as it runs on the hour every hour. So we had time to walk/drive around and check out a few things.
This place is so cute. Lots of little shops on the main road with all sorts of things. We wandered around the first store for awhile looking at t-shirts, and random toys including a tiny fire engine with the number 8 (remember Jim's old station was Station 8).
It started to look a little like the storm had caught up with us once we were on the island. We were walking back to the car and saw the wall of rain coming towards us. Unfortunately we couldn't unlock and get in the car fast enough. Although we felt pretty bad for all the people riding around on their bikes.
We had to drive across the island to get to the second ferry. We drove along for quite awhile with dunes on one side and the sound on the other.
The line to get on the second ferry... we didn't get out of the car during this ride as it was still pouring rain. Glad this was a shorter ride.
A glimpse of the ocean while we wait in line.