Friday, July 19, 2013


Today I had dermabrasion to make my scar even more unnoticeable. This is the first procedure that I have ever had in terms of helping the scar look better. I'm going to be truthful, I was terrified. I haven't had anything done to my face in 3 years so just the thought of anything to do with pain and my face was scary. This was pretty much me the whole time...
My doctor started out by putting numbing cream on the area. I waited 45 minutes for it to set in.
After the area was numb we started the procedure. The nurse told me it was like sanding it down. After 1-2 minutes we were done!
The area is like raw skin now. I have to change the bandage daily for 7-10 days (depending on how fast it heals).
So now it's bandages for a little over a week and then a check up in 3 weeks. Next update coming your way after the bandages are off. I hope this was helpful for anyone interested in dermabrasion for their scar. XOXO, Staci

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Three Years Later And I Have Decided To Do Something About My Scar

It's been just over three years since I had the Basal Cell removed from my left nostril. Two years since I last updated. First and for most I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has shared my blog. I receive emails daily from others with similar stories. When I decided to post all of this and start the blog that was exactly my desire. I wanted to give others a glimpse into my experience so they knew what to expect when going through it all. I love receiving all of the emails so keep them coming! I'm so blessed that many people share my story and I can only pray that it continues to be shared. So lets get to updating... I'm doing fabulous! I hit the big 25 this year and life is wonderful! I bought my first house, going on my 4th year of teaching, currently in graduate school to become a principal, and loving this beautiful life that I am blessed with. I haven't relaxed about my obsession with sunscreen on a daily basis and hats when I'm out in the sun (I LOVE my hats!). Like I have always said, I'm not about to let this situation keep me from being outdoors and traveling the world but I do everything I can to keep myself safe from the sun.
On to what y'all are here for. My nose and cheek update. The most common response to someone finding out about my skin cancer and surgeries is "Oh my goodness! I would have never been able to tell. You can't even see your scar!" These words make the soul shine! Dr. Parker did such a wonderful job that my scar is practically unnoticeable. Here are some pictures to show off his extraordinary work:
The most common question that I receive in emails is in reference to my scar and what I put on it. The honest to God truth is nothing. When I had the surgery I asked my doctor to recommend a product for the scar and he gave me his opinion on scar creams and I took what he told me and never wasted my money on them. My scar falls on my smile line and in my case the solution to an unnoticeable scar is to stay smiling! But when my face is relaxed and I'm not smiling, I do slightly notice my scar. Others don't notice but I do. Three years ago Dr. Parker told me that if I ever wanted to come in for a procedure to make the scar less noticeable he could do that. I have decided to go ahead with the procedure and will have it done on Friday. AH! All my friends and family keep asking what he is going to do and honestly I don't know. I didn't really ask any questions when I called to schedule except my favorite question "How long do I have to wear a bandage?" As of Friday I will be bandaged for a week. My next update will be on Friday. I will share pictures and explanations of the procedure. XOXO, Staci Email me!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One Year Later...

Last time I wrote, I looked like this:

Well time has flew by and I am back to the NORMAL ME. Well I look like my normal self but somethings have changed...

One year ago today I was in the process of having MOHS surgery to remove basal cell skin cancer from my left nostril. The day after my MOHS surgery I had reconstructive surgery where they removed cartilage from my ear and skin from my "smile line" to construct a new nostril. I also had a "bridge" built from my cheek to help the new skin on my nose stay alive. Weeks later I had reconstructive surgery to remove the bridge and I was finally starting to look normal. I could have left everything there but I decided to go ahead and have another reconstructive surgery in December to smooth things out and get my nose as perfect as possible. Now, without knowing my situation, you would never know.

Things have been much different for me this summer. Going to my parents pool during the peek of the afternoon to lay out in the baking sun and read magazines for long periods of time are no longer an option. This is going to sound very vain but the pasty skin is what has probably been the hardest thing to get used to. Thank goodness for Jergens Natural Glow Lotion. It gives me a great, none orange look! If it was not for this lotion I probably would not be in shorts this summer.

I know what you are probably thinking, just do mystic tan. Well I tried that. I looked all over and everyone claimed that Palm Beach Tan had the best spray tan machines. So I walk in and waited in line behind the 15 people already there and I hear 20 minutes, 20 minutes, 20 minutes over and over. None of these people were there for the spray tan, they were all waiting to get in a cancer giving tanning bed! I wanted to scream "NO PLEASE DONT I PROMISE IT IS NOT WORTH IT!". But knowing that a year ago if someone would have told me that when I was walking into my tanning bed I would have thought they were one of those crazy people. Would I have listened, NO WAY! So, with hands shaking and tears in my eyes I walked out and never tried another place. I know there are places that are strictly just mystic tan places without the cancer giving tanning beds but I just haven't worked myself up to it yet. I'm thinking of buying one of the portable ones and just give myself my own spray tan at home. Until then my Jergens lotion will do.

Another change that I have made is the use of hats. I thought it would be hard to get used to but I love them! They are the perfect accessory to any outfit or bathing suit. Weather I am at the lake in my baseball hats or at the beach in my big fancy hats, I love them.

Also, sunscreen everyday! Its second nature now. Even if I'm getting dressed to go to the movies and I know I will be inside, I wear my sunscreen. You still get the rays when driving in your car or just simply walking to and from the car. I can honestly say that I have not gone one day without my sunscreen. I even wore it when I was locked in the house for 4 days because of that crazy Texas February snow blizzard. I felt guilty not wearing it.

I know that if I were you I would rather see pictures then hear my blab on so here are some. I tried to pick out pictures of every day life, where you can really see my nose. Because I had such a fabulous doctor and its pretty impossible to tell which side of the nose it was just look for the hair swoop. My bangs swoop to the side of my nose that I had my skin cancer on.

And after time, life turns back to normal and all the new people who walk into my life never have a clue that a year ago I had half of my nose removed. With lots of prayer and a wonderful doctor getting over skin cancer is a breeze. If you or someone you know has Basal Cell and you have any questions please email me. I would love to talk!

Also, I have many people ask me for my doctor's information so, if you would like be under the best skin cancer surgeon in the world here is my doctors information:

Dr. Thornwell H. Parker III, MD
8230 Walnut Hill Lane Suite 808
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 696-8828


Monday, August 2, 2010

Plastic Surgery #2 is TODAY

So it has almost been a month since I had MOHS surgery and my first plastic surgery. Since the last time I posted my nose looks completely different.

10 days after the plastic surgery I was able to have the stitches removed. They immediately covered the stitch marks with steri-strips. Steri-strips are a very sticky tape that kept the area really tight where the stitches had been. I had to keep these on for a week. As you can see I was back to big hair and big jewelry! : ) Minus the ugly bandages, I was back to my normal self.

After a week, the steri-strips were removed and I was able to be bandage free. BUTTTT... I did not feel comfortable going out and about with my "elephant trunk" ( I will explain in just a second) so I opted to cover it up with a bandage every day.

Under the bandage is my "elephant trunk" which is really a bridge. This bridge is there to keep the new skin on my nostril alive. Without this the new patch of skin would die. This "elephant trunk" or bridge as most call it will be removed during my second plastic surgery (which is today in about an hour)

As you can see from the picture the new skin is healthy and growing just fine. (This is why I finally get to have the bridge removed! YAY!) So far the doctor says everything looks GREAT and I agree! I am so pleased with everything. The scar on my cheek is not really noticeable at all when I smile. It blends in right with my "smile crease". With time and microdermabrasion all of the scars will be less noticeable. As for now, I am very pleased! : )

So far everything is going perfectly on schedule as the doctor had anticipated. Thank goodness that today the "elephant trunk"/ bridge will be gone! Very excited to not look abnormal but very nervous about the surgery. Especially the numbing shots. But it is all worth it. I cant wait to say farewell to the weird looking face below!

I got my ipod ready to go for surgery. I don't know how much pain will come with this surgery (praying not much at all) so depending on that I will post soon with pictures and details.

Love, Staci

Oh and one more thing! One of my dearest friends had this owl pillow made for me. Isin't it so cute! I love it. Thanks LG! (Made by Audie Oopie)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One Week Down

So it has been one week since I had the Basal Cell removed from my nose. This has literally been the longest week of my life. Although Brian already explained the plastic surgery to you in the last post I would like to provide everyone with some insight on the surgery. The beginning was definitely the worst part. Dr.Parker began by drawing the incision marks on my face (explaining everything to Cole as he took the gruesome pictures that Brian posted in the last post). Next came the shots. To be honest shots never have scared me. I never understood this fear that people had of a little prick until NOW. I received shots (too many to count) on my entire left cheek, left ear, upper lip and nose that numbed the area. These shots were much worse than the day before during the MOHS surgery. Cole had to step out of the room for a little bit during all of the shots. It was not pleasant and I cried a bunch. So after I couldn't feel anything, including my teeth (doctor said it shares some of the same veins or something) we began the process. Cole thought he was going to get to catch the whole thing on camera but they made him step out to the waiting room. Luckily, one of the nurses told me to bring my iPod to help calm myself so I put that on (Adam's Song by Blink 182 began the surgery). They covered my eyes and the right side of my face with rags and we began. Because I was given the numbing shots I did not feel any of the cutting but the pulling and tugging was very apparent. I could not feel pain but I could feel pressure. As I laid there trying not to cry, trying to block out the sounds of the surgery (I could only put the head phones in my right ear because they were going to be cutting on my left ear for cartilage so I could still hear everything) I knew it had been longer than the anticipated 45 minutes. I remember hearing the vacuum and then Dr.Parker tell one of the nurses that she could go home. That is when I KNEW it was way past time. I prayed and talked myself through most of it. 2 hours later we were done. My first mistake happened when the nurse asked if I wanted to see it. Of course I said yes. I looked for about 2 seconds and then handed the mirror back and said that's enough. Cole came back and they explained everything as I cried some more. (I am now wondering how I have tears left) Cole of course comforted me, he learned how to bandage me up and we were on our way out the door. Kendra and Brian were waiting with hugs in the waiting room! So on our way out the door I began to bleed through the bandage because they were not able to stitch a small area of my nose because of the swelling. One of the nurses gave us special gauze to hold on the area. I bled the whole way home. Thankfully Cole was okay with the blood control and driving at the same time. Once I got home and into bed, I was out! I just wanted to sleep. All the medicines together made me very nauseous so I had to eat which was not fun because of the swelling in my face and the stitches in my cheek. Mom hand fed me mashed potatoes and soup that night.

The next day mom stayed home with me. Which I am very thankful for because I don't think I would have made it without her. She took great care of me! Mom has to change the bandage and clean the area everyday. I was very nervous for my mom to see my face because I really felt like a monster. I warned her and warned her and when she removed the bandage she didn't cry or make a facial expression at all. She made me feel much better. Even if she was hurting inside she never showed it. This is me, the day after the surgery. Scary, I know.

The days to follow were very much the same. Pain, take medicine, throw up (because I didn't eat enough... finally I got that part down) and most of all SLEEP. Sunday I started to feel much better. I got out of the house and it felt great! Here are pictures of me on Sunday (this is just during the cleaning, otherwise it is completely bandaged up)

Yesterday, I went back to the doctor. They were supposed to take all of the stitches out but they ended up only taking out the stitches in my ear and cheek. The ones in my nose were not quite ready. I will go back on Friday to get the rest taken out.

For right now I am just praying that everything goes smooth and works how it is anticipated. I will have another plastic surgery in 4 weeks to put this nose of mine back together. Dr.Parker promised me that in the end I will be back to normal! : ) Oh how I can't wait to just look normal again!

This couldn't come any faster... time PLEASE fly by!

Having a wonderful family and great friends has made this experience so much easier. I have the best parents that are always here for my every need and two awesome brothers and sister-in-laws that continually stop by to check up on me and of course an amazing boyfriend that is here every night! The house is full of flowers, gifts and inspirational cards from wonderful people in my life. Thank you all for the great words of inspiration and encouragement. Brittany, one of my Chi Omega sorority sisters, emailed me this last night and I wanted to share with y'all how sweet it was.

(If it is too small for you to read, it is a $25 donation to the Skin Cancer Foundation in honor of ME!)

I am such a lucky girl to have all of you!

I also wanted to thank everyone for passing my blog along to others. It brings a smile to my face that my story is being passed along and others are learning from my experience.

I will update again on Friday after I get my stitches out of my nose.

Oh and about the Job Interview... I thought it went great but I didn't get the job. The principal called to tell me they decided to go with someone with more experience. So... the job search is still on.

Love, Staci

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Plastic Surgery

This post is going to be a little different than the previous entries...mainly because this is Brian (Staci's boyfriend) filling in for Staci post op.

Well, today was the big day for various reasons. Mainly because of the plastic surgery but also for her interview. From what I was told prior to the surgery, it went really well. Let's all cross our fingers she get this!

Now for the surgery...

Originally I took off Tuesday and Wednesday to be there with Staci but after Tuesday passed, Staci told me she didn't think it was necessary for me to go today. (I wasn't to thrilled about this because I felt I needed to be there for her) So I told her I would go ahead and cancel my day off and go to work. Well, I did go to work, but showed up right before the surgery. :) I just couldn't take being at work wondering if everything was going ok. When we arrived at the office we only sat down for a brief moment before they called her back. I wished her good luck and assured her everything would be fine, as did her brother Cole. (He was today's hero really) The doctors had informed us today's procedure would only take about 45 minutes but that was a little off as it lasted around 2 hours. Dr. Parker made sure to take extra care of my pretty girl and that everything went smoothly. Basically they took some cartilage from behind her ear to place on her nose. Once the cartilage was in place, they made another incision on the crease of her mouth to take skin from so it could be the same kind. ( If you smile, it's the line on either side of your lips like big dimples). Next they made a "bridge" from her cheek to her nose to cover up the rest of the nose. Once she was done she came into the lobby bandaged up with some tears in her eyes. We assured her she would be alright and she looked great. Cole taxied Staci home as quickly as possible because there was some slight bleeding (no worries it's just from all the swelling) but Cole took care of that with some of his handy paramedic skills from being a fireman. Dr. Parker let her and us know everything went great with the surgery and she will be healed up perfect as ever in no time. For the time being, Staci is in a great deal of pain (as would anyone if they had 60 shots or so and their face worked on) but she has some good meds to make her feel better with some rest along with a great family to take care of her every need. She is currently in bed with Chanel getting some sleep while I type this and requested that I blogged for her.

I would like to personally thank all of her friends and family that have sent their thoughts/prayers or just a simple something to her during this time. (Thank you Kendra for showing up today, very sweet of you) It really means a lot to me and to Staci of course that she has some great friends and family that truly care about her. I honestly do not know of a stronger person than Staci. She has been so tough and positive through out this whole ordeal I don't know if I could have personally gone through it. She really is my hero (as corny as that sounds, it's true) and I can't tell you how lucky I am to have someone as strong as her in my life.

I'm sure most of you are wondering what her nose looks like... well we were able to take a few quick pictures to show all of you. They are pretty graphic so just beware... oh yeah, I promise Staci said it was ok to post these. I actually didn't want to but she insisited just in case you guys were wondering. :)

This is before plastic surgery and AFTER all the cancer is gone.

Here's a close up of it with the lines drawn on her where Dr. Parker will take skin from.

This is her ear where they took the cartilage from. (It's very swollen)

Here is a picture after the plastic surgery at home. Notice the swelling and "pre black eye"

Well, that's how today went and thank you again to everyone!

-Brian aka Taco Boy

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Round Two- MOHS Surgery

I had to go back for round two. When I got back to the surgery room my doctor ended up having to give me a hefty number of additional shots in my nose because all of the original medication had worn off (This was not normal. The medication should have lasted but I seemed to have a high tolerance to it. It would wear off at a very quick rate.) Lets just say I couldn't stop crying during the rounds of shots. It hurt super bad!! Besides the shots, I got some good news and some bad news. During this round they would have to take additional cells out and go deep into my nostril. Dr.Parker told me that he is definitely going to have to use the cartilage from my ear tomorrow during the plastic surgery to form a new nostril. So that is the bad news. Good news is that the area is not larger in area than expected. This is great news because sometimes the whole area is not visible by eye and they could have to take a large area of skin off (For example, it could have spread to my cheek or to the other side of my nose. Luckily this was NOT the case) SO it was great that it was just the left side of my nostril like Dr.Parker had expected but not so great that it was deep into the layers of skin. After Dr.Parker explained everything to me and the shots had kicked in, we began round two. It seemed to take a longer amount of time. During the beginning of the process you don't hear or feel much of anything. The only thing I could hear was the sound of Dr.Parker breathing and the only thing I could feel was the nurses finger way up my nose. The smell of the latex glove deep in my nose was not pleasant. I'm guessing this is when he is just removing the cells. I am not positive as to what is going on because my face is completely covered by a towel with a hole in it for my nose. I literally can't see anything. After the silent process a loud machine is turned on that sounds like a saw with a mixture of the sound that is made when you spray shaving cream. The smell that is produced by this machine is horrid. It smells like burnt skin. My doctor said that this machine stops the bleeding. Thank the Lord above that I can't feel any of this. After that I was bandaged and sent to the waiting room where I found myself crying uncontrollably. Being able to look down and see that most of my nostril was missing was very hard for me. Luckily Mom and Brian were there to help me through it all. After waiting one and a half hours the nurse called me back again to tell me that I was DONE FOR TODAY. I was so relieved that they were able to get all the cancer out during round two. The nurse explained that I needed to keep my head elevated and to not remove the bandage. I was prescribed pain medication, we paid and by 1:00 PM we were on our way out the door.

Mom, Brian and I went to Cheesecake Factory to eat lunch. I fell asleep on the drive home and then came home and immediately went to bed. About 30 minutes ago I was woken up by a stream of blood running out of the bandages. The nurse explained that this might happen and that I would need to apply pressure for 30 minutes to stop the bleeding. Mom, Cody (my brother) and I finally got it to stop bleeding.

Here is a picture of the bandage after Round Two (notice it is much larger and thicker from the bandage from Round One)

Here is a picture of my current self, laying in bed with Chanel. My poor pup is so worried that she won't leave my sight. It's amazing how dogs have that sense.

That is all for today. I will just be laying in bed, trying to keep my head elevated. Tomorrow at 2:30 PM I will have the plastic surgery to put my nose back together. I will post all about it when it's over. Tomorrow is not only a big day because my nose will be put back together but it's also very important because I have a job interview at 1:00 PM. I know it sounds crazy to go to an interview with this big, ugly bandage on my nose but I can not let the opportunity slip through my fingers. There is nothing more that I want in this world than to have a classroom of amazing little ones to teach when school begins and I was afraid that if I rescheduled the opportunity would slip away and I would regret that forever. Tomorrow I will be put to the test with my confidence and strength. It's sad but I am more nervous about the job interview than the plastic surgery.

I also want to say THANK YOU for all the prayers, text messages, facebook comments and phone calls from amazing friends and family. Y'all are the ones who help me keep my head up! : )