You’re so vain!

You’re so vain! Actually, I am so vain!

(Hey if you’re super squeamish, skip this post; I’ll be sharing some pictures of stitches and stuff.)

I am aware that the word vain has a negative connotation; it means into yourself, self absorbed…self this and self that, just plain selfish!

I would say that I can be vain, in the sense that I care about my appearance, but I don’t think I am selfish? I post a lot of pictures of myself on social media and in my blogs. I am certain some would call that vain? But to be honest I don’t really care. I try not to judge others and anyone who feels the need to judge me can suck it!! So there! Lol, ouff I am feeling feisty!!

Recently my vanity led me to make an appointment to see a dermatologist for the first time. I had this little, super little, skin colored thing on the bridge of my nose that I wanted removed. I’m certain no one else noticed it, but I knew it was there and I wanted it gone!

Well it turns out that that little thing was cancerous! Did my vanity save my life? Well that maybe a bit dramatic? But did it save my nose? Maybe??

You can see it in this pic.

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I had been meaning to make an appointment for the past year to get checked, but I just kept forgetting about it. Then before I moved back to Canada from Las Vegas I finally made an appointment.

I called on a Thursday and had an appointment the following Friday! My fellow Canadians will be able to relate to my shock and excitement of getting in to see a dermatologist that quickly.

After a full body exam the doctor removed a few things; 5 things to be exact. And by removed, I mean he used what looked like a razor blade to cut them off. He froze the spots so it didn’t hurt.

I went home with my new wounds. They were annoying, but not painful. I would need to return in a few weeks for a follow up and  to get the results of my biopsies; they have to test anything that they cut off your body apparently.

By the following day the cut on my nose was red, but was starting to scab over. I felt a little self conscious, but I went about my normal daily routine.

Within a week I was all healed up and on the go; the following week I was back at the clinic  for my results.

The doctor told me that he had good news and not so good news, mmmm, this didn’t sound promising. Turns out 4 of my samples were fine, but one came back cancerous. This isn’t what I was expecting on this sunny Friday afternoon.

The next thing I knew, the doctor and I were looking at a picture of the different skin layers and he was explaining what the next step would include. To be honest, I could hear him talking, but I only have a vague recollection of what he said.

I do remember asking him if it was pre-cancerous? I must not have heard him correctly the first time? Turns out I had and it was not pre.

I left the clinic and called a friend who asked me a bunch of questions that I couldn’t answer. I remembered him saying it was the kind that moved very slowly  and that they would take skin off my nose, test it onsite and if they got it all, they would stitch me up. But if there were still cancerous cells, they would dig deeper.

I also remembered him saying that I would have stitches for a week to 10 days. The following day I called back and asked for the name of whatever it was that I had so I could google it.

It was nasal cell carcinoma, which is super common for caucasiens. I was happy that my caucasien ass and nose were getting ready to move from the desert back to the Arctic where I/they belonged. Yes, I’m fully aware that people in Canada get skin cancer, but at that moment, I felt like this place was inhospitable to my pasty white Canadian skin!!

The day of my procedure my friend Staci game with me for moral support, thank you Staci!!!

I waited maybe 15 min before my turn. I was on a table and the doctor was freezing my nose.  I thought it would be similar to going to the dentist, they prick you with a few needles and you wait for it to kick in? Nope, it wasn’t like that; whatever he used froze me instantly. It was so fast that it took me a minute to figure out that he had already started doing his thing and then it was over. I swear it took less than 3 min from start to finish.

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Oh I forgot something, when I arrived and was sitting there waiting for my turn, I noticed that everyone who walked out had huge bandages. I worried thinking, man why does everyone look like they’ve had large chunks of their faces chopped off?

I quickly found out why; once done phase one they sent you back to the waiting area while they tested your, well your flesh I guess, lol. If all was clear you would then go back in to get stitched up.

Within 20 min, I was back on the table getting stitched up. I was all clear! Yay!

Since everything had gone so fast and well, I imagined that I would have a small clean cut. He kept telling me everything looked good and it would heal well.

At one point I asked him how many stitches he was giving me, because it was taking a long time. He said there were a few underneath that would dissolve on their own and some on top that would need to be removed…ok..

I was relieved when he said he was finished and his assistant would clean me up and put a smaller bandage. As she was prepping, I snapped a quick selfie and OMG!!

It looked like I’d been hit between the eyes with a hockey stick. Ugh this had just taken a shitty turn, my poor nose!

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I sent this pic to my mom and she said I looked sad and a little high. I think a little high would have helped!! She then said you look like a hockey player…see, told you!!!

They sent me home with a small bandage that would come off the next day. As my face started to thaw and throb, I thought this would be a great time to start my very own pity party for one.

Yes, I realize that I am fortunate that it was caught early and that I will heal and hopefully not have a huge scar. And yes I realize that others have much worse life threatening health issues and I’m being a whiny baby, bla, bla, bla!! But at that moment I just wanted to be pitiful! I am vain, remember that part from the beginning of my story?

I eventually fell asleep and woke up to find my bandage hanging off the side of my nose. I must say that I did wake up with a better attitude. I decided that instead of hiding myself away, I would go out there and own this big gash on my nose. And by go out there, I meant that I would be working from home for the next three days until I’d be forced into the public to fly back to Canada, lol.

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Trying to be positive, I  focused on how well the rest of my skin looked, sans makeup.

I mustered up the energy to put on some lip gloss before heading out to the grocery store. My next stop was to the pharmacy so that the pharmacist could look at me and tell me it looked the way it was supposed to look. That night I went out to eat with one of my friends; ok I did pick a restaurant that I knew wouldn’t be busy, but I was still out.

Here is some advice for anyone dealing with face stitches; stay away from large magnifying mirrors the day after your procedure? Trust me you don’t need to see all of that magnified!! It’s not good for your spirit, sadly, I only realized this after it was too late.

Before I continue to whine, can we take a quick  look at the two pics below?

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The photo on the right is Sunday night and the one on the left is Tuesday afternoon. Please feel free to stop reading at any point if you think I am making a big deal out of nothing. Side note, it must be nice to be perfect without a tinge of vanity, good for you!! Lol, sorry, moving on.

Recovery Day 2

I was expecting my movers first thing that morning, so I brushed my teeth, washed my wound and put my baseball cap on because my hair was dirty. I realize that my vanity seems to be wayning, because I couldn’t care less what the hell I look like. I dig through my purse to find my lipgloss and then think, fu&$ it!!

The movers start boxing up and loading all my shoes on the truck, including the sneakers that I had set aside to wear for the next two days.  I suddenly have two options, pink fuzzy slippers or winter boots; fuzzy slippers it is!

As I am walking through Whole Foods in my slippers looking like I’ve been beat up, I feel that I’ve hit an all time  personal low; and I don’t even care. I fear that I’m one step away from Walmart in my pajamas? Slippers in Whole Foods is certainly the gateway to Walmart in pajamas??

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At least my nose has stopped bleeding and leaking gross stuff. I see people that I know and they tell me it’s not as bad as they thought it would be; they are obviously big fat liars!! My pity party had been replaced by annoyance and anger.

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I am getting my hair done tomorrow, clean hair should help camouflage what looks like a bloody caterpillar on my face.

Recovery Day 3

I woke up this morning to an extra special treat, my eyes are starting to bruise, yay me!!

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Trying real hard to stay positive the only thing I can come up with is that the yellow ish coloring does make my blue eyes pop; so there’s that. I did make an effort and put on a bit of eyeliner and gloss. I am on my way to get my hair done.

My hairdresser always makes me feel awesome! I needed this little pick me up. Hey never underestimate the power of a fresh color and blow out!

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My wound is very red today, I am hoping that’s a good sign?? It’s my last day in Las Vegas, I fly out in the morning.

Recovery Day 4

No hiding today I will be flying all day. Before leaving for the airport I consider extra red lipstick, but that may just draw more attention?

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I ham it up a bit afted being dropped off at the airport. I almost forgot what I looked like, until I see the picture, but it’s fine. Canada here I come! Side note for all the men out there, if a woman says fine, it’s sooooo not fine.

Recovery Day 5

Someone asked me if I got a nose job? I tell them that I’m pretty sure that when you get a nose job they don’t cut the top of your nose! Some people are dumb!! The angry stage has apparently arrived.

Recovery Day 6 & 7

Blah! Over it!!

Recovery Day 8

Recovery Day 9

The doctor originally told me the stitches would need to stay on for 7 to 10 days, it’s 9 days, they need to come off!!

I feel like the stitches are pulling my skin. I can’t wash my face or put face cream on without that pulling feeling. It’s becoming really uncomfortable.

I have a cocktail party tonight and things planned for the weekend. If these stitches don’t come off I may hurt someone…I am not kidding, things could get ugly.

I was able to get in to see my doctor who tells me I need an appointment to get into the clinic at the hospital where they take out stitches. I’m on the verge of crying when she says, let me call and see if they can take you?

She comes back and says, go now!!! She said tomorrow they have 165 appointments; it’s almost 2pm and it closes at 3, so off I go!!

Thank you Sherrie at Clinic C and nurse Heather who took my stitches out!! They took me right away; I was in and out within 15 min.

I instantly feel better!!

Recovery Day 10

Everything seems to be flattening out, still red, but getting better. Because everything was swollen, my skin seems to be peeling a bit.

Recovery Day 11

I’m finally feeling like people aren’t just staring at my nose; and I’m thankful that I seem to be healing well. I figure that in another week I’ll be pretty well all healed up!

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The drama seems to be over! Again, I am aware that in the grand scheme of things, this was a very minor health scare. And I am super fortunate that it was taken care of early and quickly.

During a pep talk from one of my friends, which I appreciated her effort. I felt the need to reminded her that whenever she has a pimple on her face it ruins her day and sometimes her week. So maybe I’m not the only one who is vain? I think we all are? Maybe vain isn’t the right word? Maybe it’s proud?

Whatever it is, I think it’s human nature to want to look your best and that even if you think you’re a relatively confident person, you aren’t immune to bouts of self doubt.

I hope that this post motivates you to make an appointment for your yearly check up! Especially if it’s been a few years! My little spot could have been a lot worse had I put off getting it checked. Who knows what my nose would have looked like had I waited a few years??

Thanks for reading!!

muah!

Liette (your sassy, vain and at times drama queen blogger!)

 

 

 

 

Surviving Death

Surviving Death

One of the harshest things about death is that you are forced to go on with your life. It doesn’t seem fair that something so utterly devastating can happen and the next day you have to wake up and go on with your life.

I have lost my grandparents and an amazing aunt, so I thought I knew what it was like to lose someone I loved, but it turns out, I had no clue.

I want to apologize to all those close to me who have lost a parent, mate or a child. I am sorry I couldn’t grasp the depths of your loss and to be honest, it’s such an uncomfortable place to be that unless you are forced to be there, you gloss over it. The truth is that unless it happens to you, you have no clue what it really feels like.

Everyone’s journey is very different; it’s weird the things that you think of; I remember wondering what would be better, watching someone slowly die or getting a phone call that your loved one had been hit by a truck and was gone, just like that. I actually though about that for a long time and weighing the pros and cons of each.

I was and am still a very lucky girl, I was blessed with a father that others wished they had. He was the absolute best with a personality that was beyond charming. He had a killer smile that lit up the room. Have you ever talked to someone who made you feel like you were the only one in the room? Some people have that gift to make you feel important and special. My dad had that quality, people were just drawn to him; and I was his favorite person; of all the people, I was the one.

I am just realizing now that not everyone has someone in their life who loves them like that; who loves them unconditionally. He was my greatest cheerleader, he encouraged all my hair brained ideas and adventures. So I know how fortunate I have been and I am truly thankful. Someone told me the bigger the love the bigger the loss, I believe that to be true.

He was the most positive person and had the best outlook on everything even death. He wasn’t afraid to die, which made it easier for us to let him go. He told me he had the best life and did everything he wanted to do. He had no regrets; how many of us will be able to say that when are time comes? I aspire to live a life with no regrets, but man, I am not certain I will be able to rise to that challenge?

When someone is sick you morn them while they are still alive so that by the time they pass, you are relieved that they don’t have to suffer anymore. I remember being angry near the end; I just figured that there would be more dignity in death. You live a great honorable life and then it ends so horribly; it didn’t and still doesn’t seem fair. But it is what it is and you have to accept and keep going.

Something really strange happened right before my dad passed, while I was making funeral plans, I was able to talk to him about what he wanted and that in of itself was a gift. That’s not the strange part, the strange part is that I told my mom, that I wanted to speak at his funeral.

That’s so strange because I am a huge crier and never would have imagined that I would have the strength to do that.  Buy something came over me that made me think I could get up in front of hundreds of people and eulogize my father, like wtf?? My mom, also super supportive and positive, told me to see how I felt the morning of the funeral; she gave me permission to change my mind at any point. But I told her I had things to say. I actually felt like he was giving me strength, and I think that is exactly what happened.

I had 5 bullet points written down on an old envelope, they were 5 examples of lessons he taught me. I felt I needed to speak and I wanted to make him proud. I know he would have been proud. Fast forward 5 weeks later, I can’t picture his face without bursting into tears, that’s why this post has no pictures of his handsome face. I know he was with me that day, giving me strength.

Because I am my fathers daughter, I am able to find positive things even in the face of such great loss. I feel that even though this is the most horrible thing that will ever happen to me, it has shown me how strong I am. That if I can survive this, I can survive anything. It also puts everything into perspective, things that I used to stress about now I could care less. It’s like, is anyone going to die if this doesn’t get done this very minute? No, ok then let’s chill out and move on.

This has also reminded me that I have the most amazing extended family, we were always close but this made us much closer and way more huggier and affectionate. I love them so much and can’t imagine how we would have gotten through this year without them.

I also have great friends, it’s funny how in the daze of death you remember every face that shows up to pay their respects. I was so touched by those who took the time to come pay their respects. You expect your close friends to show up, but there were a few people that I was so surprised to see and was so touched that they took the time to visit.

And if I am being honest; I was disappointed by some who didn’t come. Here’s a tip, if for some reason or another you are unable to show up for a friend, make that call or send that text saying thinking of you, but I will be working, I am out of town or just I am not a funeral person; trust me it will be so appreciated.

Thinking there will be so many people there that no one will notice your absence is apparently not how it works. Even now, I will be  talking to my mom and she will, out of the blue say, I was surprised that so and so wasn’t there. It’s like you have some sort of weird laser focused memory of every face that you saw. And at the most random time you will realize, gee that person wasn’t there. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can remember who showed at the funeral parlor and church. Ok enough of that, moving on.

I feel like I am now part of some twisted club, the loss club. There is something comforting about being around others who without saying anything know exactly what you have been through.

So 5 weeks in, it all still feels like a bad dream, like he’s just gone on a trip and will be back soon. The other day I picked up the phone to call him and for a full second I forgot he was gone. I am told that is very normal by my new club members.

I wish I had some magical formula for getting through the grieving process that I could share with you, but I don’t. I wake up, put a smile on my face and go about my day, I still cry a lot, mostly at night and usually only for a minute or so; I think that’s “normal” and it relieves stress.

My way of surviving death is to live my life in a way that honors my fathers spirit and joi de vivre. I know he would want me to live my happiest, best life and I am trying really hard to do that, it’s not always easy, but it is a choice I have to make everyday.

I want to thank everyone who has been so kind to my mom, Serge, Ginette and I! And if you know someone who has lost someone, check up on them every once in awhile, especially after the dust settles. And if you are part of the club, I hope you are able to find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Sadly everyone reading this will have their turn at some point.

 

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I love this pic of my dad and my nephew holding hands. I remember that day so well. Go out there and make memories with your people and take lots of pics!

muah!

Liette