Wearing a wide-brimmed hat (and sunscreen) will be a priority more now than ever before for Rachel post-surgery.but not as we know it
Sixty-five Kiwis will face the words 'you have cancer' today.
The knife slicing my nose open doesn't hurt.
Nor does the tugging. A plastic surgeon uses a needle and thread to sew my nose back together — after removing a lump.
What hurts most is the injection used to numb the area. This hurts like heck. It's swearing-inducing. But I'm prepared for this by plastic surgeon Janek Januszkiewicz.
I never look at the sliced-out flesh sent to a lab. I'm wearing a blindfold over my eyes to protect them from the glare of the surgeon's bright lights. Otherwise, I'd sneak-peek.
It was late last year when a lump on my nose appeared. Smaller in size than a quarter of a pea, it would bleed at the slightest touch and then scab. I noticed it hung around longer than usual pimples or rashes. A beautician I saw recommended I get it seen pronto. Some of her clients had discovered these things were the dreaded "C". You know, cancer.
So I saw a GP. It was an odd conversation.
She said it looked like basal cell carcinoma skin cancer. She could freeze it off immediately, or give me a cream that can break it down (into a messy, woozing mess for weeks). Or, I can see a plastic surgeon to get it removed. I winced.
She mentioned we could try the first two methods and see if it came back ...
I queried: "If it's cancer, wouldn't I want to be sure it was gone?"
I opted for the surgery because I wanted it gone — in case it was something scary and aggressive.
Being a journalist, I'd penned too many stories about wait-and-see-scenarios snowballing. Yeah, you likely think I'm a drama queen. You'd be right. But one of my best friends is a doctor and she backed me that I was smart to get it out early ...
Of course part of my ego worried how I may look with a chunk out of my nose. Yeah, definitely a drama queen. But, I was told such a small cut would heal fast and soon go unnoticed.
So during lockdown for Covid-19, I got a "nose job".
In the past I would have worried myself sick about the result. But I've been calm. I decided not to worry unless I have something to worry about. Bar that one night I woke at 2am freaking out. What can I say, I'm human.
I waited almost two weeks for the result and meanwhile walked around with a bandage across my nose. I joked with mates that strangers would think I've had a "nose job".
Sixty-five Kiwis will face the words "you have cancer" today. So says the Cancer Society's cuppaforcancer.nz fundraising campaign page (please donate!).
I'm not among those statistics. I feel so very grateful.
Rachel is a wellness coach, speaker and author of Balance: Food, Health and Happiness