Wednesday, February 9, 2011

EFUDEX Treatment for sun damage (Face)

Today (Jan 30, 2011) is the day I have chosen to start the EFUDEX treatment on my face. I am 47 years old. I have years of sun damage and several A.K.'s (actinic keratosis) on my face, which can turn into Squamous or Basil Cell Carcinoma years down the line.  I personally would like to prevent skin cancer, so I have agreed with my dermatologist to apply this treatment.  Efudex (Fluorouracil) is in a class of medications called antimetabolites. It works by killing fast-growing cells such as the abnormal cells in actinic keratoses and basal cell carcinoma.I have been instructed to apply this cream twice daily for 2 weeks.  I will also be treating my neckline/chest, scalp, and arms in the future.  Efudex only attacks abnormal cells, and leaves normal skin cells intact.  So, in the pictures, only the red areas are damaged skin. I had WAY more damage than I thought!!!!   I found out recently that i may look 10 years younger after this treatment, I'm not holding my breath, but it would be nice!

All about A.K.'s

All about EFUDEX:

Day 1, January 30, 2011

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

The Efudex feels soothing, like lotion, however, I know that will change.

Day 2, January 31, 2011

There is not much of a difference today, except for ever so slightly my face is a little pinker, and the A.K.'s are more prominent above my lip (brownish spots).
Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Day 3, February 1st, 2011

My face is feeling a bit sunburned.

Day 4, February 2, 2011

Day 4
Starting to look like I have a bad complexion.  My face stings a little and it's hot.

Day 5, February 3, 2011

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view
My face is stinging more, it's hot and starting to itch a little.  I'm starting to really see how sun damaged my face had become.  The doctor told me to buy some aquaphor ointment to soothe my sore face.  It's greasy, but it helps with the discomfort.  I blot the excess grease off.  Before trying the Aquaphor, I applied some regular fragrance free aveeno lotion to my face.  BIG HUGE MISTAKE.  This stung like no tomorrow.  I had to take a shower to get it all off.  Then I tried the aquaphore, much better.  Soothing,

Day 6, February 4, 2011

I had a restless night with my hot itchy sore face.  It burns, it stings, and it's on fire.  Took some tylenol, it helped, what would i do without it?  I had to go in public today, so I put make-up on me to cover the red.  It burned bad.  Had to take it off the minute I got home.  But, at least I spared being stared at.

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

I really thought my nose was sun damaged, but it's not.  It's nearly perfect except for around the nostrils.  I'm so surprised!  How did THAT happen?

Day 10, February 9, 2011

I am beyond miserable, but somehow I am getting use to it and coping. My face is tight, my eyes hurt and are red, face is burning and crusty.  My nose skin looks good, but my nose is swollen. I am a happy person who has never suffered from symptoms of depression, however, I noticed I was feeling down for no good reason.  turns out depression is a side affect of Efudex. Now that I know what caused it, I refuse to own it or go with it, and am fine now.  I have also had a headache since day 4.  I take Tylenol regularly. I feel very ugly.  I had to go out in public again but didn't want to wear make-up, it's to painful, so I just went....   It was interesting to watch peoples reactions towards me.  I purposely was my usual outgoing friendly talkative self.  Some people looked at me with disgust, others with sympathy, poker faces, friendly smiles, and averting their eyes.  I basically walked in a persons shoes that may be a burn victim or some other affliction, and know how it feels to look different.  I'm seeing my dermatologist on Monday to see how long of treatment  my scalp needs and to review the progress of my ugly red mug. 
Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Day 11, February 10, 2011

I didn't think I could get anymore miserable than yesterday, but here I am, more miserable.  I woke up with a head cold and chest cold.  Adding a cold onto the Efudex treatment is just to much.  I am tempted to stop the treatment, but I know I must stay the course for the health of my skin.  I have just 3 days left.....that's 7 more treatments for my face.....and 10 more days of treatment for my neck and chest.  That's 21 more applications counting tonights.  My chest is starting to heat up now.  I'm on day 4.  It's at the stage where it feels like a sunburn and is getting red.
My fantasy is to be put in a medically induced coma until the treatment is done and I'm over the cold....Ha ha...I would love to be woke up when it's over. 

I am sure that the whining will stop when the medicine kicks in.  I took 2 tylanols, 2 mucanex D's, Vitamins, and I'm drinking hot herbal tea.  I'm wishing that I had something stronger than tylanol right now.

I notice in the picture that my nose is so swollen that it looks misshapen....weird.'s been an hour since I took meds.  I feel a whole lot better and no longer feel it necessary to be put in a medically induced coma!  Ha ha...
Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Hot, burning, stinging sheer misery...I am cranky cranky cranky.........

Day 12, February 11, 2011

I couldn't sleep much last night.  between constant coughing from a nasty cold and an itchy itchy face. sleep was just not possible.  My face hurts less, but is starting to peel and heal in some areas.  The itching has really gotten bad though.  Dead skin....gross.  I am washing my pillow case daily, as I cannot stand the thought of my head resting on the night before sheddings.  I need a fresh clean pillow case every day.  I think my face is looking better now.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I just sort of wish I had did my chest and neck at the same time, that area is really heating up and getting sore.  I'm seeing the red spots where I have sun damage starting to surface.  I need a break from this, but, because I started the neck and chest a week later, I will be at this a week longer.  I will definitely take a break before starting my scalp treatment.  The arms I will do in sections over months.  I am sure I do not want to do both arms at the same time.  My arms require one month of treatment according to the derm doc.  Even my hands need treatment.  I have many AK's on my arms and hands.  My arms and hands are the most damaged from the sun.  My guess would be from holding reigns horseback riding, and holding fishing poles over many many many years.  Hope this treatment is worth the pain.  I feel like Goldmember from the Austin powers movie who has skin that peels off like this.....except, I do not save them like he did......EEEEWWWW!!!  Henry Winkler played that role!

Don't forget to click onto the pictures to enlarge them.  After they open larger, you can click again and get the mega view..........

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

This picture was taken at 1630 hrs.  I showered earlier and rubbed a lot of dead skin off.  Looking better.  This picture is for my Derm Doc to see the AK's obove the upper lip better.

Itchy itchy Itchy Scratchy Scratchy Scratchy Flakey Flakey flakey
Face and nose are still swollen!

I talked to my Derm doc on the phone today, he is going to review the pictures in this blog and let me know if I can stop treatment and let it heal.  He said, and I quote "Your skin is going to look as fresh and new as a babies butt when your done healing"  WHOOOO Hoooooo, it's true!  It not only is going to help prevent cancer, I get a perk, better looking skin!!!!!  Happy dance!!!!!  I believe I am a great poster child for the use of sunscreen, hats, long sleeved shirts, and sunglasses!!!!!

He also told me I could use cortosone on my face to help with the itching so I could sleep, and to use benadryl as well.  The Benadryl will help me sleep, and also help me with the itching!



I looked at the pictures--great photos and great documentation of a 'tough experience'!  For your blogging friends and future references, you were at the appropriate inflammation on about day 10 or 11.  I think you also can almost stop applying it to your neck (maybe another day or two) and I would probably spot treat the areas on the upper lip for a day or so.  You are really going to be happy with the results after you heal.  Use the aquaphor for a few days, then change to a different moisturizer that is 'non-comedogenic', so you don't get milia or acne bumps for prolonged aquaphor use.

Dr. C

Yay, I'm almost done!!!  Thank you Dr. C.....YOU ROCK!!!

I'm not surprised that he is having me spot treat the AK's above my lips. those AK's were bad, and a source of great concern for me as I felt they were eventually going to be cancer.  I'm so relieved that this is being prevented.  As much as the Efudex hurt, it is such a great medicine in the fight against skin cancer!

My face is now oozing and watery, not to mention hot and stinging.  I went to the store earlier and bought a bunch of different cortisone creams.  I applied cortisone cream with cooling gel first.  It was horrible, it made my face nearly spontaneously combust it was so hot and inflamed,  so I washed it off.  Next, I tryed the cortisone cream with soothing aloe.....nope....ouch......burn...  The next one I tried was the plain old cortisone, but I had accidentally bought the ointment versus the cream.....I put it on and .....AAAAHHHH....sweet relief, the heat in my face vanished quickly, as well as the stinging.  That one is the winner!  My face is still oozing around it though, but it feels good now.  I may be able to sleep tonight.  We shall see!!!

Day 14, February 13, 2011

Yesterday was the worst day so far.  My face hurt so bad.  It stung, throbbed, and burned, and I learned I have the flu.  I went to an urgent care clinic where they swabbed the inside of my nose.  It was positive for flu.  I was prescribed Tamiflu, plus Loratab for my face pain. 

I actually got some sleep last night, thanks to the loratab.  Tylenol was no longer cutting it.  I took pictures yesterday, but it was after I took the loratab and I am smiling way to freakyish, so I'm withholding them...Ha Ha  Really, there is no difference between yesterday and today's pictures, except under my eyes.  Those areas look like sores now.

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view
Except for under my eyes, it looks better.  But still hurts pretty bad.

Day 17, February 16, 2011

My face seems to be healing, albeit slowly.  I am getting impatient and tired of looking this way, but am still glad that I did this treatment.  Last night I made a mistake.  I was in the shower and noticed that my face was softened from the water and I could rub the dry skin off with my finger tips.  I rubbed away and really got a lot of the dead skin off.  For most of my face, this was good, it cut down on the itching and the feeling of dryness.  However, my chin stung like crazy when I got out of the shower.  You can see I rubbed off the protective layer of dead skin.  I should have left my chin alone.  It's pretty raw now.
Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Getting better.  Still hurts, but not as bad.  I messed up on the date on the picture.  It's suppose to say "Feb 16, 2011"

Day 19, February 18, 2011

My face is getting better.  The pain/itch is pretty much gone.  2 nights ago, I could not sleep because of the itchy dry skin.  No amount a aquaphor could relieve it.  Instead, it was itchy and gooped up.  I felt like I had a dirty itchy goopy greasy heavy face.  At around 6 in the morning, I couldn't take it anymore and decide that I would rather have pain than itch, so I got into the shower, softened my face and rubbed away all the dead skin.  Every last bit of it.  But, to my surprise, my face did not hurt after I got out of the shower.  It was fine, and the itch was gone.  I put on a light coat of aquaphor, because lotion isn't doing the job yet, and had a peaceful day,  I can now sleep, and no more itching.  Every shower I take now (twice a day), I rub the dead skin off.  One thing I have noticed though, my nose is still swollen. 

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Looking better, nose still swollen.
Day 22, February 21, 2011

The misery of this treatment is now a distant memory.  I'm so glad I did it though.  My face doesn't hurt anymore.  All I have left are a few spots that are still healing and some dry skin.

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

                                                       Not bad!!!!!
I might even start smiling eventually!
Day 29, February 28, 2011

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view
I'm looking fairly normal, but my skin is still blotchy and my uper lip is still healing.  At least people are no longer staring at me in disgust.

Stay tuned, I'll be updating every few days!

March 26, 2011
Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

Looking good.  My skin still isn't perfect, but it looks great.  The spots above my lip will take longer to go away, as they were the area with the most skin damage.  I noticed that my face needs less lotion post treatment.  I think it's because I no longer have those patches of permanent dry skin patches, which were sun damaged areas of course.