i can do hard things…
it was october… i was scheduled to go in for a routine skin check… you know living in AZ for 28 years and all… anyway… when the dermatologist… let’s call him “dr. keep your scalpel away from my face” stopped on the side of my nose and asked me what that was. i had no idea. i hadn’t seen anything on my face… i do not bake in the sun… i never have… i wear sunscreen all the time and i run in long white sleeves in the summer no matter how fucking hot it is… i have MS… i do not need cancer too… anyway… he stops and says “looks like basal cell, don’t worry you won’t die from it.” ummmm. ok mr sensitive… let’s call him dr. lacks sensitivity instead… he then tells me he’s going to take a biopsy and comes at me with a scalpel and cuts my face… the whole thing happened so fast… so fast actually that he cut my face before i signed the consent… doesn’t that go against dr. rules? i left his office with an appointment with one of his mohs surgeons and went to yoga…
thank g-d for tristan (my third child sort of lolol) and her hip hop yoga jams… i got out of my head and into my body where i always shine and thrive and then went home to deal with this hole i had in my face. again. alone with a diagnosis that made my head spin… contacted a couple friends… you know the insensitive ones that say oh i’ve had a million of those and it’s nbd. i am not a fan of minimizers or people that like to compare… we are NOT the same… i promise… i am a fan of people that actually listen to you… and maybe it’s no big deal to you… but, everything is a slightly bigger deal when you have a fucking neurological chronic asshole to deal with as well… fortunately for me… tricia (an OG yogi like me) came to my rescue and made me feel okay… she said i had the best doctor to perform the surgery and I would be ok. so now the question was do i use a plastic surgeon to close me or the mohs?
it’s very hard to make decisions when you can’t think straight a lot of the time and you know i hate bugging my children with my health issues right when they are supposed to be flying free. i asked dr. g (the mohs surgeon) for a recommendation for a plastic surgeon. he referred me to dr. david hecht. and you know he must’ve been a good guy for me to be sharing his full name 😉 so i went up to see him several weeks later. i was super nervous and scared, but my tiny doc in training was in town so she joined me. we discussed my options. initially he talked about removing cartilage from my ear to fix the divot in my nose. why? and can you do this under a local? he explained that because of where it is on my face – the left side of my nostril may require cartilage depending on how deep dr. g will have to go. oh shit… I barely have pierced ears anymore… that sounds like ow:/
we then went on to discuss anesthesia. it is a hard NO for me… if you’ve read my book or heard my story you know that my first neurological attack began right after being under anesthesia… they couldn’t wake me… i am never taking a chance like that again… i’ve been asked “well, what if you need anesthesia?” well enlightened people… i don’t think like that or speak like that… in my head and heart i will never need to go under anesthesia again… that’s how you manifest shit… by staying away from the dark place… so if you’re a dark person… keep those thoughts to yourself. it is not an option for me… dr. hecht was willing if i was…
so now we wait…
fast forward to january 5th… surgery day! i have been in constant (bugging the fuck out of everyone) communication with dr. g’s nurse and dr. hecht’s nurse and have made it absolutely clear i want no anesthesia and if it’s possible i want the mohs surgeon to fix me in his office… i start panicking about the plastic surgery. my son is with me and i go in… they remove one layer (i am praying… and i don’t pray… that we are one and done and i can just let it heal) nope. the nurse comes back in… we need to take another layer… ok. i can do this… i can do hard things… she comes back in and says “we got it all” thank you fucking universe… but, now i have a big hole in the side of my nostril and as much as i’d like to let it heal… it won’t heal without a big divot… dr. g tells me that i will not need cartilage, but definitely a skin flap or graft… omg where is my dad when i need him… i don’t care if i’m a grown ass woman… i wanted my dad… he also wanted me to let the plastic surgeon fix me and nudged me out the door with a big bandaged covered hole in my face to drive up to see him…
we go into dr. hecht’s office and the first thing he says after removing the bandage… was “this is the best case scenario you do not need cartilage but, you do need a skin graft” ok doc. will you do it under a local in your office? i was scheduled for the surgery center the next day… got my two covid tests (negative) and they were calling me to give me instructions… please arrive 90 minutes early so we can start an IV… and i said “i don’t need an IV, i’m not going under.” and i pretty much begged dr. hecht to do it in his office… i was terrified they were going to put me under up there… he said he would try and see what he could do. jack took me home and i waited… and put it out into the universe that he would do it in his office with a local… and sure enough that call i so desperately needed came through… and if you know me…you know that when i make up my mind to do something. i do it…
meanwhile… i have been off all of my MS “meds” for a week… hoping that my symptoms stay quiet… my name should be julie blew a catch 22 🙂 my son comes to take me up there, again handling shit i really prefer he didn’t have to… grateful nonetheless… we go in together.
they tell him it will be a while so off he goes to find food… typical boy lolol. and megan and veronica take over getting me ready for surgery… they numb me first with a gel which will make all the shots that they have to put in my face hurt a little less… then the doc comes in to start administering the shots… it didn’t hurt as badly as the day before, so i was able to calm down… then they get ready… wrapping themselves in surgical gear… gowns… masks… gloves… hair covered too… then they lay me down wrapping me all up in sterile stuff… rubbing beta dyne on my face… covering my hair… i can hear everything they are doing and it’s beyond surreal… i am about to undergo reconstructive surgery fully awake…they ask if i want them to turn off the music, and i am like no fucking way… turn it up… and then it begins…
the first thing he does is stick his finger up my nose… and i say “wow, i don’t think i’ve ever had a man do that to me before” lol…but… he is doing his job… making sure i come out as beautiful (like my dad always said) as i was before… most people are knocked out at this point. he begins to explore my face looking for the donor site… i feel him moving my ear around… looking behind it, and then he tells me where he’s going to take it from and that he was going to use the same side of my face so i don’t have to deal with two sides healing… and then he cuts
ooh…i can still hear the cutting… couldn’t feel it, but i could hear it… the ptsd moves a bit farther away each day… but, that’s what i keep going back to… they put a few more shots in my nose because i could feel a little and i didn’t want to feel a fucking thing and i couldn’t wear earplugs well because he was operating on my ear also… anyway he moves from my ear to my nose… continually putting his finger in it and resting his arm on my body to begin the repair…
i was on that table for close to two hours… feeling his meticulous attention to my face… every time his arm rested on my chest so he could fix my face, i relaxed even deeper… i made myself pretend i was in savasana… and when it got hard or i could hear something i just ujjayi’d the fuck out of my breathing… his calmness and his touch oddly comforted me… maybe because it’s been so damn long since i’ve been touched… but it was like that little push on your sacrum that your instructor gives you when you’re in down dog… it was that same feeling… and i do believe that is what got me through this experience…dr. hecht… i am so grateful…
after i was finished… they walked me downstairs to meet my son… and we drove home…. i had some pain meds and was told “no strenuous activity” for a week… i basically had to rest… lololol… although i knew it was coming… me rest? it’s been almost a week… the only strenuous activity i’ve done is food prep on sunday – it took me down… and today i did some laundry… also too much lolol. coming from the person that is on her feet 12 hours a day… running. stretching. sweating… it’s quite the change…
i am grateful for the people that have reached out and have offered to bring me things… as i have no family around, you learn (as hard as it is for me) to ask for help. and the ones that have offered to come sit with me… as covid is ravaging the country right now and two members of my extended family have died in the last week… i am ok being alone… i am good at this isolation thing… i am not interested in the people that have no regard for other beings… ahimsa… the first yama in yoga… means non harming… and i’ve seen more people not give a rats AF about people than i care to admit… friends… family…yogis… i hope no one passes it onto your sick mother and she dies… it is real and you are assholes. i can’t go see my fucking daughter in philadelphia because of you people that do not believe this is real…it’s real… ask my sister in law… she just had to bury her dad… or my second cousin (that was like my first) she just buried her mother… shame on you people that are coming here to “winter” and not wearing masks and treating my home state as your vacation place… you get an extra big fuck you… and yes. you can get it again… i know multiple people that have had it twice… i hate stupidity hypocrisy and ignorance… as i try and keep my daughter calm while she waits to regain her sense of smell and taste… she’s as safe as they come… and she caught it flying home… and she won’t let me on an airplane because she is afraid i will get sick. i have a fucked up immune system so back to where i began… stuck at home alone…
i am grateful for dr. giancola… his assistant marilee… dr. hecht and his girls… megan and veronica… for working together to give me the best possible outcome and to listen (even with your hesitations) to my story and my situation and not just treat the problem… but treat the person… me.
i am also grateful for the doc that found it in the first place… i forgive his insensitivity
it may take me a while to stop hearing that sound in my ear… but 40 stitches later and i am still standing… well sitting for now… but i’ll be moving around again soon… nothing will keep me down 😉
Kate MurphyJanuary 12, 2022 3:05 pm
Love you Julie Blew! Thank you for sharing! And cheers to not being assholes – ahimsa!!
julie blewJanuary 21, 2022 10:10 am
right? love you back girl xoxoxo
RobbJanuary 13, 2022 9:49 pm
You are hysterically authentic Julie!! I feel like I’m inside your brain lol! And a good brain it is. ❤️🙏🏻😇
julie blewJanuary 21, 2022 10:11 am
thank you so much warrior man…keep fighting the good fight! xo
Erin MaioranoJanuary 17, 2022 9:19 am
Soo glad you are on the mend and staying safe from and chaos that is our state during the pandemic.
Glad you found a dr that listened, they are rare gems!
Miss you and love you 💕
Erin MaioranoJanuary 17, 2022 9:20 am
*staying safe from THE chaos..
julie blewJanuary 21, 2022 10:12 am
thank you so much beautiful…me too. doctors can devastate you or they can raise you higher…I only choose doctors that listen to me. love you xo