Several people noticed I was really quiet & not posting anything for a while, then not posting anything about me, only reposting industry news. Here’s the reason why & my personal story.
SKIN CANCER, SURGERY, HOSPITAL, RECOVERY
Over a year ago I noticed a place on my forehead that looked like a spider bite. I went to my Doctor & they said it could be or skin cancer so he sent me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist Dr. Adriana Schmidt didn’t want to do a biopsy because she didn’t want to scar me. Her words. She gave me some cream & said if it didn’t get better in 2 weeks to come back. The cream didn’t help. I stopped using the cream & the place healed leaving some harder bumpy tissue under my skin. Two other doctors said spider bites can act that way.
This summer the odd tissue on my forehead looked like it was becoming inflamed so I put a little cortisone cream on it. The next day it opened up to a sore. I thought to myself “ok Pason it will scab & then there will be new skin.” That’s not what happened. The scab fell off but the wound didn’t heal or stop bleeding. This is when I called that dermatologist back & scheduled an appointment.
When I saw the dermatologist Dr. Adriana Schmidt on Aug. 5th, she said “you never came back.” I replied “well you told me if it healed not to.” Then I asked her does skin cancer heal it’s self? I explained two other doctors thought it was a spider bite. She said skin cancer does not heal. Apparently, she was wrong. Later after doing more reading, skin cancer wounds can heal & open back up. We decided I needed a biopsy. I noticed the biopsy was taking longer than it should, smelled something burning & then she put stitches in. As I set up her first words to me was “ok don’t freak out! I do think you have skin cancer so I went ahead & cut some of it out which is why I burned the area & put stitches in.” My reply was “I have an interview in an hour and a half & big meeting in 3 days, you can’t just go cutting on people.” She said “well I did what I felt was right. Make swoopy bangs by pinning your hair over the bandage.” Which is exactly what I did. She didn’t factor in the fact that I drove & now had lack of movement in my head. Funny thing is while she was cutting she kept telling me to go to my happy place which is me being on set acting. As soon as I left her office I got 3 auditions! The first one was in 2 days, others on 12th & 13th & I couldn’t smile or laugh due to what just happened. Thank God the 1st role was for a no nonsense detective. A drama with no crying! This triggered an amazing idea. I should go to my happy place more often, lol!
I emailed my acting coach Aaron Speiser & he said it was ok to miss an audition. I said, “No it’s not ok. I’ve been busting my ass to get auditions, work, networking, you have the serenity prayer on your desk & that prayer says basically know what you can & can not change. (God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.) I can not change the fact that this happened but my body knows how to heal it’s self, I’m eating foods that help regenerate skin cells, I already did research & Doctors know what to do. I’m going to this audition. He was supportive. The audition was great by the way. I was given 2 amazing compliments. 1. That I had an unique dialect. I said “I’m originally from NW GA.” The session runner said “no that’s not it you don’t have an accent.” I said “I spent years learning a standard American accent.” She said “that must be it!” I said with a grin “you have great ears!” Well she did, I just couldn’t tell her that I might have an interesting dialect because I was being really careful that I didn’t move my forehead due to having stitches in it. Second compliment was that she didn’t even have a redirect, I made strong choices & she loved it. Now hopefully the producer & director feels the same way since they make final decision on who’s hired.
I decided after that audition I really needed to rest, take some time off & heal. It was really hard to drive because I had to turn my torso to look if making a turn due to not being able to turn my head because of the stitches. So it was too risky & my forehead hurt! The other 2 auditions were not for a week. So I locked myself in.
The doctor called me to tell me yes I had squamous cell skin cancer. I went back to see her, take the stitches out, she gave me the name of a plastic surgeon to contact that took my insurance, I went to see that plastic surgeon Dr. Janet Salomonson Aug. 19th, & I just didn’t feel right about her. She was more concerned with the skin cancer than me, even though she spoke English she was so technical she was hard to understand & when I asked how she was going to close up the incision she said she didn’t want to distort my face so she was going to close it horizontal & pull from my hair line so it didn’t pull my eyebrow up on my right side. Now, my granny taught me how to sew & I know when I stitch up a hole in something no matter if I pull from top or bottom it pulls both! I told her “you can’t distort my face I’m an actress & have thankfully been an entertainer my whole life!” My gut told me to keep searching. Now who to call? No one I knew had dealt with this. Answer…another plastic surgeon, one of the best cosmetic surgeons out here is Dr. Garth Fisher. I sat on that thought for a couple of days & someone told me they knew the nurses over there. My gut kept telling me to call so I did. “Hi my name is Pason, I just had a biopsy on my forehead & I have squamous cell skin cancer. I know Dr. Fisher is cosmetic but does he deal with this?” The nurse told me he was out of the office for a week & would have to ask if it’s something he would feel comfortable doing. She took my name & number. About an hour later one of his other nurses that’s been with him for over 20 yrs told me she had dealt with this 1st hand & would walk me threw it. She told me I needed a MOH surgery, gave me the name of the best surgeon in town for that & just in case if I needed a plastic surgeon another name. See, always follow your gut or intuition! I also found this news to be very disturbing. What had the 1st dermatologist done to me? Why didn’t she tell me about MOH surgery?
Unfortunately that MOH surgeon wasn’t free till the 13th of sept. so I asked the nice man on the phone who else is the best. He gave me another name & thankfully both dermatology doctors are in the same practice & only specialized in MOH surgery for skin cancer. The best! He couldn’t get me in still to see that Dr. in time because I had to find out 1. Do I need MOH surgery or 2. A plastic surgeon? I told the nice man on the phone “now it’s funny how everyone is saying to me oh you have to hurry up & get this taken care of so it doesn’t go deeper or bigger yet everyone is like, ok we can see you in a month! Do you have a dermatologist that works with that surgeon who I can see so they can tell me what I need?” YES! I scheduled with both that dermatologist Dr. Sarah Gee & the date he had for the surgeon for my MOH surgery Dr. Joseph Greco. Might as well while I had him on the phone, I could always cancel if I didn’t need it. I saw the new dermatologist, who I had already sent the pathology reports to & yep I was keeping my MOH surgery date for Sept. 3rd, 8:30am with Dr. Joseph Greco. Dr. Gee said the 1st dermatologist should of never cut me, burned me or put stitches in, she should of only done the biopsy because who knows if she cut healthy tissue. I asked her “So did the other Dr. mess me up? Will I have a bad scar?” She said “Dr. Greco will fix it.” Guess that’s a YES! Still nothing I could do but move forward.
While all of this was going on I was taking extra jobs to get more money because I wouldn’t be able to do anything physical, lift, drive, for 3 weeks & full recovery about 6 weeks. I also scheduled more general meetings & had auditions. I planned my schedule, cleaned, did laundry, grocery store thinking about what foods I would be able to eat because I knew I couldn’t have anything hard or open my mouth all the way. Bottled water so it was easier to pick up, is key! I booked out with my agent for a week not telling her yet what was going on because I didn’t want her to stop working for me.
Dean, A friend of mine picked me up, took me to the doctors office for my MOH surgery, waited because they put shots in my face to numb it, drew on me with a marker, then the first cut happens. They sent the tissue to the pathologist that’s there to test to see if the margins are healthy. If the margins are healthy then they got all of the skin cancer so no more cutting. I was bandaged & sent to a waiting room where I was about 40 years younger than everyone else. One old gentleman said he got skin cancer because he was a surfer. A lady said she had been in there about 50 times & she was a sunbather in the 60’s. The group started to tell their stories so I spoke up & said “I’ve always taken good care of my skin. I wear sunscreen. I’ve worked indoors. I have gone to tanning beds but not often as you can see, I’m fair! In my teens & early 20’s I used fake tanner for pageants & competitions but I was told I got skin cancer just because I’m a redhead, that they actually don’t know why some people get it & others don’t especially in my case. Everyone was dead silent, staring at me. The man sitting next to me smiled & said his mother was a redhead, a good lady. The room was silent again. The nurse would slowly come take each of us back to rooms for more cutting or tell someone they were clear & could be stitched up. They called me back & I was surprised to hear that I didn’t have squamous cell skin cancer, I had Basal Cell Skin Cancer. So even the pathology report that the 1st dermatologist did was wrong but sort of good news is one isn’t any better or worse than the other & my margins were not clear so they had to cut more. I also had them do a biopsy on a place that was just below the skin cancer. I said neither dermatologist thought it was anything but I know my skin, it’s been there for a month so It’s not a pimple, nor have I ever really had pimples. Since I was there, I would like it tested. Turns out I was right, it too was Basal Cell Skin Cancer. Thankfully, it was in an area they had to cut anyway. They ended up cutting about a quarter size out of the top, right side of my forehead, a triangle above pointing up into my actual scalp (hair) & a triangle pointing down which is where the other small skin cancer was. This way he could close me up making a clean vertical line which ends up being a hairline scar & not distorting my face! He also said after it heals he’ll look at it to see if I need to laser the scar.
I tried to psych myself out while in the surgery waiting room coming up with a story that I was in the military, JAG, in court standing talking to the judge defending my client when a grenade went off outside, sending shrapnel pieces of debris into the court room, one cutting my forehead, as the room explodes with human terror. I quickly grab my client by the arm to get under the table as I see the judge ducking down trying to get out of the courthouse. A tank tears threw the side of the building, on my side. Everyone is in panic, army crawls, screams, ducking, trying to time our movements to escape. My client & I get into the hallway as people are running towards a door which leads to a secured basement. I think it’s a death trap & advise my client not to go that direction. She chooses to. I run up multiple flights of stairs to the roof, bright light beaming down on me, chaos as there is a full-blown battle on all sides of the building. What do I do? There’s no where to go. At that time I see a helicopter rising to the right side of a building moving towards the roof where I was with a rope hanging down. Two Soldiers are climbing up the rope for help, I make a run for it, leap, grabbing the rope as the helicopter is almost to the side of the building again. A soldier helps me in, gives me a helmet & tells me to sit down. I take the order & say thank you. We fly off. (Don’t worry we are on the same team.)
When I went back into the room to get stitched up I told my Surgeon my JAG story & he laughed. Now funny I thought all this during the waiting room but each time I was in the room to be cut or sewn up, I went back to my happy place of me on set acting & another thing popped into my mind but I won’t write that.
4 hrs later I was ready to go to CVS to get a list of stuff to clean & bandage my incision!? Um, shouldn’t they give you this before you have surgery? Dean was a good sport & carried everything for me since I had orders not to carry anything, nothing physical, no driving, don’t lower my head, if I have to bend down to squat, sleep with head elevated. Those shots started wearing off pretty quickly. Boy did I wish I had asked for pain meds! Not only for the pain but the tightness I was feeling from how much skin he had to pull to close up the area he cut. Holy crap!!! PAIN! My instructions said take Tylenol for pain because it doesn’t thin blood. I asked the nurse when she went over the instructions with me if that’s the reason for Tylenol & no physical activity not only because we don’t want the incision to open up but to not raise my blood pressure, shouldn’t you have on this list no caffeine like energy drinks, tea or coffee? She thought about that & said “actually you’re right those all increase your blood pressure, no one has ever brought that up.” I said “I’m always the student teachers love & hate.” I’m glad I don’t drink tea or coffee & this was my chance to detox myself from my 1 Redbull in the mornings.
I had told Dean that I was getting 3 acting bookings that day. As soon as I got home 1 of those booking came in, 2nd was a strong possibility & the 3rd that night all shooting that week. I had to tell them about the surgery. I really wanted to do those bookings! I love my work & what a gift it is to be hired using my skills. It’s my home. I decided not to get sad over it, I was in too much pain to show any emotion but to know 1. My intuition was right again 2. Energy is moving in the right direction 3. Going to my happy place really works 4. I was going to think of it as an appetizer for more booking to come. 5. Now I had contact with each of those 3 people so a dialogue had started. After one had told me about the project he was contacting me for I asked if he needed a hospital patient. He replied it’s a romantic comedy. It was shooting that weekend, but to let him know. The next day my face started to swell, I knew I wouldn’t be able to film so I called him & said “well, I’d make a great zombie.” Haha! I asked him for a general meeting a few weeks away. He said yes re-guarding the general meeting! Woo hoo!!! A friend emailed me the evening after of my surgery, who I didn’t tell I was having surgery & then did tell them when they emailed me. I told them about the bookings that were that week which I had to say no to but asked 1 person for a general. He replied that he was laughing because I was the only person he knew that was still working just after having cancer surgery. To rest!
I did everything that my instructions said. I had a female friend come change my bandage the 1st time & another female friend Bonnie came over twice a day to change my bandage. This was a tricky process because after the 1st day my face began to swell to the point that my right eye was almost swollen shut making it where I couldn’t see very well. I take security measures at my apartment so I can’t buzz people in. I grabbed my old rigging bag, which is almost empty thanks to a nice young aerialist that bought my rigging. In that bag I had this really long black rope with a carabeamer tied to the end of it. It’s what I used at a club to tie back my apparatuses for quick release or for them to pull them back up. This was perfect! I got the rope, told them to come below my balcony, marked which keys were for what, clipped them in the carabeamer, lowered the rope down over my balcony for them to unclip & come up. I couldn’t lower my head or bend it back, so my bandage had to be changed in the bathtub. After a few days she washed my hair for me too, well most of it, not around where they cut. Thank God for her & her husband! Amazing people! She also brought me food one day & took out my trash because I couldn’t. She said she remembers what it’s like to be single & have no one.
(Day before my right eye swelled shut)
She noticed that my incision was getting more red & oozing. That was on the 6th so I called over at Dr. Greco’s & the on call doctor had me send photos of my incision to him so he could show Dr. Greco & see if I needed antibiotics. Yep, I did. I texted Bonnie asking if she would go pick them up for me at the pharmacy on her way over to change my bandage. I included my full legal name & DOB in the text so she could pick them up. Another friend brought me more bottled water because I noticed I didn’t get enough & fudge pops because I was craving them J Another friend helped me with laundry on the 12th & also took out my trash. I will add if you can’t open a bottle that has a twist cap when you have surgery, put it between your legs, use a crab or lobster cracker on the bottle cap. It grabs ahold like a wrench & opens it without much effort on your part.
On the 10th I saw Dr. Greco to see if my stitches could come out. Still no pain meds as he took this huge Q-tip pressing on my incision as I squirmed in my chair, focusing on my breathing trying to help the pain in my head & trying not to scream. Think happy place! Think happy place! Nope not yet come back on fri. 13th. That night I noticed my incision had opened up. From my incision to the middle of my forehead had become swollen, red & around the swollen part it looked like teeth marks. I’ve taken pictures each day to document my progress. I was in worse pain. Pop more Tylenol, bandaged it up & used the tight wrap that went all the way around my head to put pressure on it so hopefully the skin would reattach. On the 12th I called the office to see if Dr. Greco would like for me to reschedule for the next week because it didn’t look like it was getting better. I explained I could email photos. They said no need. 2 people from his office called me to say Dr. Greco would like to see me on the 13th to keep my appointment. Bonnie drove me there. When I got into the room, the nurse looked like she was going to take out my stitches. I stopped her & said “where’s Dr. Greco?” She told me he had gone home for the day. I explained that was weird, I had called the day before, he wanted me to keep my appointment so he could see my incision because it’s oozing more than before & worse. I asked her if she could call him or if Dr. David Beynet was there. They were all gone. I asked “can you get him on the phone or send him a photo? I’m not sure why he had me come in today if he isn’t even here.” She said “I can get another dermatologist from the team that refers patients to Dr. Greco.” I said “Ok but do they do MOH surgery?” Nope. Well something is better than nothing. The nurse left to go get the other doctor. I’m about to text Bonnie & decide to just get up, walk to the reception area & ask her to come in the room with me because I could tell I needed help. Dr. Christina Kim comes in the room, introduces herself, she looks at my incision, picks up the scissors & I stop her. I say “Wait before you do anything are you taking out my stitches?” She informed me stitches can’t stay in for more than 7-10 days no matter what & they had been in me for 10 days, they were coming out. Ok, then lay back, breath & go to my happy place. Bonnie let me know when the Dr. was almost done. That helps btw. Dr. Kim brings in the Dr. on call to introduce me to her then informs me that she is giving me a note to go to the ER with, I need to be admitted for 24-48hrs and given antibiotic IV. Seriously not what I was expecting for that visit. She included Dr. Greco’s number on the blue paper & said for the Dr. that see’s me to call Dr. Greco & if I have any problems they can call the Dr. on call as well. She told me that her & Dr. Greco said to tell them not to cut me open under any circumstance to call Dr. Greco! I only live a few blocks away so Bonnie took me home to change into comfy, warm clothes, take off my jewelry & pack a small bag. We stopped by Bristol Farms to grab water & something to eat while in the hospital waiting.
We get to the ER at UCLA Hospital Santa Monica & I’m in quickly. That note helps! They put me on a bed in the hallway. Bonnie comes with me. We sit & wait. The Dr. comes by to see me, I explain what happened, he tells me I don’t need to be there, oral antibiotics is all I need & if my doctor thought I was that bad they would have admitted me themself. I said “Have you called my Dr.? I came in with a blue paper from Dr. Kim with orders for 24-48hr antibiotic IV & for you to call Dr. Greco on his personal number which is on the paper. This wasn’t my idea. They have the note in my folder. I also took a photo of it just before I came in so if you would like I can pull it up in my phone.” He didn’t like the sounds of this. Bonnie explained this whole time I never had pain meds & needed something. I agreed! He left, I saw him grab my folder, open it up showing the blue paper. He came back & said Dr.’s have a difference of opinion. I said “I don’t mean to disreguard your expertise but I believe I will follow my Dr.’s orders the one that knows my case & actually did my surgery.” Bonnie jumps in as well. He says ok. A nurse comes over to do my IV. I inform her I’m afraid on needles so I won’t look & you have to use a kid’s size so you don’t bust my vein. She wraps the rubber band thing around my arm & it’s too tight I tell her. She disagrees. She goes to insert the needle, I can tell something is wrong as she starts digging, my body is tensing, she’s telling me to not tense, she’s still digging, I’m starting to squirm, I’m breathing, trying to count, feeling my body heat up, she calls over another nurse to help her, they are both digging the needle in my arm. I finally say in a firm medium tone “I’m not trying to be a bitch or baby but this fucking hurts, you have to stop now!” They pull it out & apply a cotton ball, tape & pressure. Bonnie said she had to even look away & she normally doesn’t have to. She also asked the nurse if I could have pain meds, explained I hadn’t had any not even with surgery & I’m getting worn down. I ask if I can have some numbing cream before she tries the other arm. I explain I’ve had 9 surgeries, not a stranger to hospitals & when ever I’ve had a IV they give me numbing cream before the needle. The nurse looks at me with a blank stare. So I repeated myself. Not sure if she heard me. She leaves & comes back with the pharmacists as she is holding a spray can & tells me that it will make my skin cool. I say “I don’t need my skin cool, I need it numb!” The pharmacists & nurse look at each other. I said “I don’t know what the problem is? I’m not a stranger to hospitals, I’ve had 9 surgeries, plus ER visits & they have always given me numbing cream, it looks like a patch with clear plastic over the numbing stuff which they put on me, then an IV.” The nurse says the numbing cream will take 30 mins.. Bonnie says “we have nothing but time, we’ve already been here for 2 hrs, got here at 4:50pm & she’s being admitted.” As they walk away I noticed an older gentleman nurse & I said “he looks like he knows what he’s doing.” He heard me say it. The nurse comes back with the numbing cream & a plastic patch to cover it. Guess about half an hr later that older gentleman nurse comes over to me & says “I saw what happened. I’m going to help you.” I said thank you, because my other arm hurts! He did it in a sec. & not really any pain. I was glad he got it in easily because I was told the veins in my hand were too small for the plastic tube they leave in for the antibiotic IV & the lady messed up my other arm so we only had 1 option.
We sat, I ate my tuna salad, not even 30 mins after the IV started I felt my scalp getting itchy, I was hot, my head especially forehead was pulsing like something was going to burst out of my head which concerned me with my incision. Bonnie looks at me & said, “you’re really red!” She jumped up, got a nurse. The nurse & Dr. come over & Dr. informs me I got Red Mans Syndrome. I said so If I’m having an allergic reaction now what do we do? He informed me it wasn’t an allergic reaction it’s something that can happen in patients with that antibiotic. Still no good in my opinion. So I ask how do we solve the problem & in the mean time can we stop the IV. Problem/solution. They decide to stop the IV for half an hr, give me Benadryl & Bonnie reminds them again about the pain meds. Finally some relief! Other nurses & EMT’s come over to talk to us & even say I’m starting to look better. They start the IV again but this time at a very slow drip. 1 IV is suppose to take an hr.. The pace they had it dripping to stop me from having red mans syndrome took just over 6 hrs for 1 IV & they had to do IV’s every 12 hrs from the starting time, so every 6 hrs from that end time. Around midnight a mature female Dr. with a cool accent comes over to me & I ask when I’m going to be settled upstairs. She leaves to go find out. The person that takes your credit card for payment comes over. That’s $500! I said “Shit Bonnie we could of stayed at Shutters, lol.” Guess the lady taking payment didn’t find it funny. After more time passes & we’re both tired, the female Dr. with the accent wheels me into a temp room in the ER, out of the hallway. I start to fall asleep. At 1:30am I’m being transported & settled into my own room! Bonnie goes home. I fall asleep. At 5:20am nurses come in about every 20 mins to take blood pressure, check temp, look at my incision, poke at it, take blood, take blood again. 9am a young female Dr. comes in turns on a light I can’t control by my remote, opens my window curtain, looks at my incision & pokes on it. Everyone asks if it hurts while they are poking. Of course it hurts especially after everyone pokes on it! She tells me that they are going to have to cut me open. I said “NO! Dr. Greco & Dr. Kim both said no cutting me, you are suppose to call Dr. Greco. His number is on the blue paper in my folder or I have it in my phone.” She says “Well we’ll see what the other Dr. here thinks about that!” I said, “No you’re going to call my Dr. as instructed.” She turns around to leave. I ask if she can close the curtain & turn off my light. She replied “people don’t sleep here.” As she was walking out I said “but sleep is important to the human body’s recovery.” Guess she didn’t care. I buzzed a nurse to come do it since I couldn’t. I had an IV every 6am, 12pm, 6pm, 12am.
Later that afternoon a nurse comes in & says the Dr. there tried to call my Dr. but there was no answer. I asked if they called the office there’s a Dr. on call as well. The nurse said yes, no answer, they were cutting me open. She left the room. I knew they were flat out lying to me so I called the office myself & they gave me the on call Dr.’s number who quickly called me back. I explained what was just said & happened. The on call Dr. from Dr. Greco’s office informed me that no one has tried to call her or Dr. Greco. See I knew they were lying! She told me not to let them open me up! About 2hrs later the nurse comes in kind of humbled, nicer & says we’ll be starting your IV, first here’s your Benadryl, Percocet & they are not cutting you open. She leaves the room & the Dr. on call at Dr. Greco’s calls me back to tell me she & Dr. Greco called the hospital & they had a conference about my case. I said “Well I knew you guys spoke to them because of how the nurse just acted towards me & said they will not be cutting.” From that point on I had no more problems with them. It also got around that I’m an actress. One Dr. that came in was sympathetic & said “I feel so sorry for you, you’re an actress you can’t have skin cancer especially on your face.“ I said thank you. We chatted a little. Some people are just nurturing/compassionate & some are not.
Well everything almost went smoothly. I couldn’t bend my right elbow because the IV running the antibiotic in my arm made it really sore so I wrote with my left hand. Glad my brother & I use to try to write with both hands & feet. My brother Na is left handed. I’m right handed. That Sat. night my right hand started to swell, my knuckles got blue from me having my hand lying down by my side for so long while the IV was running. I had them stop the IV, we massaged my hand & elevated my arm. Bonnie came to visit me again that day. Every time they gave me anything or did anything they scanned my hospital bracelet which made me finally say what I was thinking each time…”Who’s buying me? LOL, is he a nice billionaire, business/artsy, attractive, healthy & nice?” Both the nurse & Bonnie laughed.
Sunday 8th came along, the nutritionist came to visit me because she thought I was only eating breakfast & told me I needed to eat. I informed her I have been just not their food. My friend Bonnie was bringing me food from Bristal Farms. She asked what I ate & she said, wow you do eat healthy. I smiled & didn’t mention the chocolate. I hadn’t had a shower so I asked the care nurse who was male if they could get someone for me like the nurse who was female. She didn’t want to & guess the male nurse couldn’t. Somehow after going back & forth the male nurse talked to her & she agreed. Even if it’s a half ass shower where I can’t wash my hair, it feels so good! She started to open up a bit after that & was actually nice too.
Monday 9th, I was released from the hospital & given orders to go directly to Dr. Greco’s office he requested to see me & then go to the pharmacy to pick up my oral antibiotics. It was another mature female Dr. who released me & she asked how my experience was. I was honest as I told her about certain experiences there & said “Honestly you’re guys lack of communication is disturbing. Luckily I had a friend with me & I was coherent but what if I wasn’t? The fact that your Dr.’s flat out lied to me & refused to call my Dr. is really messed up. I’m glad everything got straightened out but it’s hard when you’re the patient needing care, in pain & having to deal with this mess on top of it. I’m sorry, I wish I could say nicer things & some of your Dr.’s & nurses have been nice but this has been my worst experience at any hospital.” She thanked me for my honesty & said she was sorry.
Dean & Bonnie had to work so my friend Jake came to get me at 9am. Thankfully all of the stops are a few blocks apart & on the way to my place.
Dr. Greco comes in with another Dr. & says I hear you had a tough time this weekend. I said “Yep, not how I was expecting to spend my weekend.” He told me he called over there & had a conference with the team there. I said, “I could tell instantly when that happened because everyone changed their tune with me.” He looked at the incision said it was getting better. I asked about the part that was still swollen at the bottom of the incision, the hospital told me it was a pocket of puss & it needed to be milked out which is what nurses were doing & it was oozing out. He said it wasn’t puss, it was swollen & will go down. To come back on Oct. 1st. The nurse came in & put bandages on it. Jake took me to the grocery store, my PO Box, he got Starbucks, over to CVS for my prescription & home! That day I got 3 video auditions, the 1st one for voice over due that night. The others not due till the next week. God has a plan & interesting timing. I’m still recovering. My taste buds got all funky due to the medication so my normal fish & veggies for a week on the new oral antibiotics tasted awful. I actually ordered a pizza.
The 20th. Dean & Bonnie came over to take out my trash for me again. Honestly I don’t know how I can ever thank them, a blessing to have them in my life. 26th I couldn’t take not working out anymore & laying in bed for so long makes you sore so I got on my treadmill, walked very slowly for 30 mins.. I checked my incision at 15 mins to make sure I wasn’t causing damage. I knew I needed to stretch but I still couldn’t lay with my head flat or do a roll down (lower my head) so I got 2 pillows to put under my head, layed on my back, bum against the wall, legs up on the wall then open legs up to a split position where gravity helps stretch you. I was disappointed with what I saw. I knew I would be tight but when you’re use to seeing your legs open to a full split on the wall like that & its just half of it, I knew it was just the start of reconditioning my body. I don’t like loosing my abs, but again I couldn’t lay flat to do crunches. I got creative first I did pregnant women Pilates 100’s where you stand to do them then thought about my pillows. I layed on my back with pillows propping my head again, did mini crunches head on pillow & up, I could do lower abs in this position but was stopping a lot making sure I didn’t contract my forehead because my incision/skin is still fusing together. Did standing glute excercises, calf raises, no arms. Each day I could do a little more & started to incorporate arm, shoulder, back exercises with 1 pound weights. I’m thankful for all of my fitness knowledge it helps in times like this.
Oct. 1st I saw Dr. Greco again. He informed me I have a few more months till it’s completely healed (like any incision/scar), keep wearing a band-aid in the middle of the scar (where they cut the cancer out) because it’s the area that’s healing. The upper & lower sections are further along. He told me to massage the lower tip to help break up any scar tissue. I said “like breast implants.” He laughed & said yes. He told me he would like to laser the scar in a month to go ahead & book it so, I booked it for Dec. just before the holidays because he said there would be some redness & possible swelling. Plus I scar well, when it’s healed, meaning you can hardly see one on my skin. I know from all my other ones. Then I got another audition! Woo hoo!
I’ve done a couple general meetings, scheduling more & thankfully the few people in the acting/entertainment industry that know have been really cool, supportive about the whole thing. I even showed them pic’s., LOL! The scar & area around it has started to have little pains where the nerves are connecting which is a great sign for healing! Oh I sent that nurse from Dr. Fisher’s office a Thank You card for referring me to the proper people for my MOH surgery.
Oct. 6th I had a great in person audition which wasn’t just great because I did well & had an audition (auditions are always gifts in my mind) but that I got to go, entertain the small number of people in that room, have fun, play, be where I feel happy & home. I love it!!! I’m so grateful God has given me the gift/skills for acting so I can work. Think about it if I were doing things from my past ____, fitness, dance, aerial, I would be screwed because I wouldn’t be able to work for a lot longer! Acting I can & am!
(Photo just before my audition Oct. 6th)
ER CHARGING WHAT?!
***I’ve been checking my health insurance online to see what bills have been processed. The ER at UCLA Santa Monica is trying to charge $16,000 to my insurance, my responsibility $6,400. Remember this isn’t my surgery this is after. Now this is surprising since I had a note from my Doctor to admit me. I paid the $500 admittance fee & was told I had to wait in the ER on a bed in the hall till a room upstairs became available. The hospital charge per day ranges from $225-435, my responsibility is $61-112 per day. The ER bill is not correct!!! I called the hospital billing to request a detailed breakdown of all charges for my entire stay both ER & hospital. I did this over a week ago & still haven’t received it. I only live a few blocks away so I’m going down there to the billing dept. on Oct. 7th (today) to get it in person. This way I can review it with all my records & take it to the proper people for handling.
(Scar Oct. 6th, 5 weeks after surgery)
(Pic. Oct. 6th)
ADVICE & INFO.
Always listen to your intuition, if anything shows up on your body that isn’t normal demand a test, scar or no scar! If you have surgery ask for an antibiotic to prevent infection & if you’re a female that’s prone to yeast infection when taking an antibiotic ask for a Diflucan when they prescribe the antibiotic but make sure you tell you’re Dr. any current medications or herbal supplements you’re taking. When you can wash your hair get clarifying shampoo to help take the grease out that builds up from not being able to wash it. After much of the swelling went down my face & head started to peel so a good exfoliator like Clinique 7 day scrub for your face (not head) works great. It’s gentle & you’ll need to use it more than one day. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life.
“There are an estimated 2.8 million cases of BCC diagnosed in the US each year. In fact, it is the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. More than one out of every three new cancers are skin cancers, and the vast majority are BCCs. It shouldn’t be taken lightly: this skin cancer can be disfiguring if not treated promptly.” – http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/basal-cell-carcinoma
Thanks for reading.
(Photo just before my audition Oct. 6th)