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
http://www.skincancer.org/actinic-keratosis-and-other-precancers.html

All about EFUDEX:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000293

Day 1, January 30, 2011

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The Efudex feels soothing, like lotion, however, I know that will change.
CLICK ON PICTURES TO ENLARGE THEM


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).
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Day 3, February 1st, 2011



My face is feeling a bit sunburned.

Day 4, February 2, 2011

Day 4
MY NOSE/face IS TOTALLY SWOLLEN!!!
Starting to look like I have a bad complexion.  My face stings a little and it's hot.

Day 5, February 3, 2011


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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.

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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. 
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Click to enlarge/click again for the meGa view

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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.

OK...it'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...
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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..........

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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!

EMAIL FROM MY DERMATOLOGIST (Feb 11)

Trish,

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.


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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.
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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. 


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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.


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


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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
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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.

126 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks painful! I noticed your face looked swollen on Feb 4th. I have an appt to have my skin looked at by my GP and then will hopefully see a derm doc. I have some suspicious looking areas that are probably ak's. I am wondering about the scabs that develop on my scalp every month too. I thought they were pimples, and still may be, but I should have them looked at.
    Depression is a side effect of pain too, no doubt. Sorry you have had some down days, I would too. Keep up the battle, you are doing good and a brave soul!

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  2. Hey, I tried to become your first follower but I couldn't get the stupid Google account thing to work. Keeps telling me there's an account already with my email address but when I try to find it, it can't be found. Sorry, I'll be your follower in spirit. Everyone I know is starting a blog lately. I have so many great, altruistic friends in my life. It's great that you are providing info for others, especially because you are such an amazing researcher. So, how long will this treatment last? Do you have to limit sun exposure while under treatment? How long will it take the redness to fade?

    AP

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  3. Thank you AP, I appreciate your support! To follow the blog, just save the link. I will continue to update, The face will take 2 weeks. The redness can take up to 6 more weeks to go away. My arms will take 4 weeks of treatment. Yes, I must stay out of the sun during treatment.

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  4. Yikes, you are definitely suffering! Wish I could give you a stronger pain med. I can relate about the med induced coma. Also have wished for a spinal tap so I can't feel the pain in my body. Nothing works adequately on muscle pain/spasms.
    You can do it Trish! I'm rooting for you.
    Is there anything you can use that would numb your skin?

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  5. Thank you for all the sympathy. I'm going to ask for stronger pain meds and maybe some cort cream on Monday when I see the Derm. I've read that others put cort cream on and it helps....

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  6. My dearest Trish, are you kidding me? When did you decide to do this, without help at home? I am here for you with all the support I can give. I do hope that you will be happy with the results and that it is worth all the pain you are in. You are truly a strong person to endure this misery for so long. If there is anything you need, call me. Nancy

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  7. Thank you Nancy...I had been putting this off for quite some time. The derm doc prescribed this to me a while back but I waiting till I was off of my CPAP machine to do the treatment. I've finally kicked sleep apnea. I couldn't do this treatment while wearing that nightly mask! And, the AK's on my upper lip were getting very scary looking, so I decided to start the treatment. As you can see, I had significant sun damage. I would rather do the treatment before it gets to hot out as well. I thought about stopping by the other day, but, I'm afraid I may scare Zach if he see me...Ha Ha

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  8. OMG Trish! I don't know what to say, I feel miserable for you. You need to reward yourself with a really great purse. We definitely need to go somewhere with great shopping. And a beach. And cute pool boys. And pina coladas. AP

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  9. I agree....although sunshine doesn't sound good at the moment!!! A new Fossil purse does though...oh, and eye candy for sure!!!

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  10. Wow, what a trial you've signed up for, but you've been clear that it's about health, not "mere" appearance - although skin like a baby's butt ain't bad either! :-) You might consider putting a really really clean towel down on your pillow every nite and sleeping on that? that way the skin sheds have less chance of sifting into the pillow itself? Just a thought. Can't wait to see the final pix! -KathyA

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  11. Sorry, but I don't want to click on the picture for the mega view! If he'll let you begin to apply topical healing ointments, get the Unda 270 ointment from Seroyal. If you can't find it online I'll mail you one. It will heal the skin very quickly. I used to use it on diaper rash for Jack. His skin would be healed by the next diaper change (2 hours). It's a homeopathic. I use it all the time for skin stuff at home and in the clinic. AP

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  12. Kathy, thank you for the great idea! I used some flannel recieving blankets and it worked perfectly (towels were a bit rough). Covering the pillow is much easier than constantly washing.

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  13. It's looking a lot less angry today. Hope you're feeling better. AP

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  14. Good job. All that nice new skin. I love my Efudex! I managed to get some Efudex in solution, to use for spots on my scalp. Very convenient and fast acting. You wouldn't believe what I just treated: my navel, as brutalized by the sun as the rest of my paler than pale skin. Got a good reaction. Also using for plantars warts on my foot, where it's much less effective--I've been working on them for years.

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  15. Trish, you have done a remarkable job documenting your treatment. I an currently doing the same thing except after applying efudex twice a day I also cover the area with Beta derm. Whether that helps or not I am not sure although from your description I don't itch and burn as much. In any event you have told me more about the treatment than my dermatologist. Thanks.

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  16. I updated my blog. Hoping for fast healing Mel and Anonymous. Your posts inspired me to update the blog. I added a picture taken today.

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  17. Thanks for the great info and accompanying pictures, Trish. I am sorry you've had to go through this but by educating others, it may help prevent someone from developing skin cancer. My dad is undergoing multiple problems with having areas burnt off, and some even requiring surgery. Good luck, you look wonderful!

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  18. Trish I commented a couple of days ago on the excellent way you have documented your efudex experience. I just thought I would add that for any men considering this treatment, particularly if it has to be applied to the cheeks, that it is very uncomfortable to shave with an electric razor. I tried with a conventional razor but it was too painful. The skin is very, very sensitive. As you can guess, I am a male (74) I checked with my pharmacy for Aquaform. It seems it is not available in British Columbia. Good luck with the rest of your treatment.
    Dennis

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  19. I am going through EXACTLY what you just went through. My daughter googled EFUDEX pictures and your story popped up. I am still in the treatment stage and it's very tough. I have not been outside since week two. I apply the ointment once daily for 28 days. I have just a few days left but I often wonder if I will ever look normal again. Thank you for your story...it really encouraged me.

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  20. Dennis, I am so sorry you can't get the aquafor. It isn't prescription. I bought mine at Target. Maybe you can find it in a drug store?

    I can certainly imagine how much shaving would hurt. I don't think I would even try!

    Anonymous~I so understand how you feel. I got a little nervous when my face looked like it was dipped in acid. I wondered if it would heal. It's so incredibly painful. Big hugs to you and everyone else going through this. Just remember, you side stepped skin cancer on your face! That is the fact that kept me going.

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  21. Thank you for writing about this. I have just ended a 3 week treatment using efudex twice daily, my face looks like yours did and I was concerned about the swelling tightness and pain so much I was about to see my Dr. again but now realise it is just a normal part of the treatment.
    This is my second treatment after a 6 year break and a far more aggressive one. I am looking forward to a nice complexion again.
    After my last treatment I had to have a squamous cell carcinoma removed from my top lip that had been hard to see previously, so a good result really.
    thanks again
    Sharon

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  22. I am about to take my second round of Efudex. Please come over to my blog and read my skin cancer journal. I hope you get back to this blog soon and update your results and what has happened since your treatment. My dermatologist tells me this will be my battle for life. Don't you wish you knew then what you know now...

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  23. Trish I had been using efudex for 2 weeks and stopped 4 days ago because it was looking so bad and it was incredibly painful. After stopping I am shocked that my face is getting worse. It is midnight and I googled, finding your blog is so reassuring. I was beginning to wonder if I would be scarred for life. I would love to see pics of you know. I am guessing/hoping that it is amazing and that you have a beautifully clear skin as a bonus for your pain. Thankyou for being brave enough to put up the pics and also for the commentary. Carol from Oz

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  24. Hi Trish,
    I just wanted to thank you for your blog and congratulate you on your stamina! I started my treatment 17 days ago and am having a rough time of it today. I came back to your site again and can sympathize with what you must have been going through. Like Dennis, I'm in Canada and can't seem to find Aquafor anywhere either. I have 13 days left and wonder how I'll get through... but I'll do it! You're my inspiration! :-) If you're interested, I started a blog at efudexed.blogspot.com.

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  25. Thank you Trish, for the comments left on my blog. You have been through a lot also. My doctor wants me to do a treatment again, but I told him no. I really had a time with that second round and I just cant do it again. We are keeping an eye on some spots and hopefully they can be burned off. I wish I knew this would happen to me when I was younger. Take care.
    Betty

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  26. Hi Trish,

    I'm just starting my treatment today. I want to thank you for preparing me for this journey. The outcome seems worth it, your skin looks great. Heidi

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  27. Hi Trish, I want to echo what everyone has said - this is a great blog, very helpful, very reassuring, and very educational. I've shown it to several friends and family to explain what I'm going through and prepare them for what I look like. One question for you: what was the name of the cortisone ointment that made you say AHHH? I've tried two so far and they were the ouchy kind. The itching is driving me insane and I NEED RELIEF!! And did you ever switch off the Aquafor onto something else like he recommended? Everything stings so badly that I'm afraid to try anything else. Thanks again for this blog, it's been a lifesaver.

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  28. Hi, so sorry I didn't see your post until today. You commented 4 days ago, and I know that 4 days of efudex is an eternity. The Cortisone ointment I used was the grocery store brand (HEB) 1% hydrocortisone ointment with NO cooling gels or anything. Make sure it's the ointment, not the cream. Good luck and know that you are doing yourself a huge favor by doing this treatment. The pain is worth it.

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  29. why cortisone ointment, not cream? I am now on day 23, after applying twice a day for 17 days, today I started using cortisone cream after 5 days of using Aquaphor post efudex. I agree the Aquaphor is amazing, however super goopy. I really admire your thoroughness with your blog, I am so grateful for the images and information I found on the web.

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  30. Hi, I hope everything is going well and you are not miserable (I know, I know, impossible when your using efudex)...LOL. You asked "why not cortisone cream". The only reason I didn't try it was because I accidently bought ointment. The stuff is all so cheap, you could buy both and see which is better. I would love to know. Just don't buy any with cooling gels or aloe, they really burned and hurt! Ouch. Thank you for the compliments on my blog. Writing the blog helped me cope. Good luck with your journey.

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    1. I am using the cream because it is not as shiny and goopy as the ointment. Agree, I bought the most basic store brand 1% cortisone cream. I am not miserable today, day 24. I look red, however the blistering and bubbling appears to be over. Again, excellent blog, very responsible advise.

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  31. Thank you for sharing your Efudex experience. I'm on day 16 (day 2 post-treatment) and I can't see the end of the tunnel yet, but seeing your photos gives me hope! I am applying Aquaphor twice a day and I used Efudex twice a day for 14 days on my nose and cheeks. E.B.

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    1. I no exactly how you feel about now (((((hugs)))) You will get through it. It's worth the outcome. Get yourself some good pain meds from the doc, like Loratab. It helps greatly.

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  32. You poor thing (((((hugs)))) there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will get there, hang on. Keep your eye on the prize!

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  33. Trish, I found your story and photos very helpful. I am on Day 12 of 21 days of treatment with Efudex. My face is starting to itch and burn and I look ugly! However, I probably look much better this week than I will next week. The good thing is that I made the decision to tackle my sun ravaged facial skin now and hopefully will avoid actual skin cancer. Thank you so much!

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    1. Hang in there, you are coming to the toughest part of your treatment. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor for some good pain meds. I took loratab and life was better after that. The doctor I saw for the flu also prescribed some Loratab, she thought I needed it and tylanol was no longer cutting it. It helped a great deal.

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  34. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Susan

    Tonsil Stones Removal Guide

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  35. Hi Trish, Well done for putting this information on the net it was very helpful to me. I have just finished a month long treatment with Efudex and totally sympathise with your experience. I had read and watch most of the blogs and videos on YouTube and so armed myself with some Aquaphor but found it made me itch during the night and turned the scabs quite gungy and soggy. I live in the UK and over here we have a cream called Sudocrem. It is used primarily on baby's bottoms for nappy rash but on the jar it says that it is suitable for burns, eczema, rashes etc. so I thought I would give it a try. It was AMAZING!!! The first night I put it on, although I looked like Caspar the Friendly Ghost (it's a very thick white cream), it didn't make me itch or burn or sting and in the morning I noticed that my skin was a lot less red and some of the splits and cracks had stopped oozing. Over the last week I have continued to use the Sudocrem and the redness is almost gone... well almost!
    So I thought I should post a comment for all of those people like me who trawled through the internet looking for information from other patient's experiences.
    Just as an aside, although I didn't put any Efudex around my eyes, they blistered, cracked and bled, even on my lids. It was awful. I wish I had tried the Sudocrem earlier as every facial expression was a nightmare ! That said, I almost look normal now and my last day of Efudex application was on 9th of February. Good luck to you Trish and thank you . Imogen

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    1. Thank you for telling me about the sudocrem, it looks like I can buy it on Amazon. I still have to do my arms and will give it a try. I'll compare it to the Aquafor. I'm glad your treatment is over. I'll bet you are more than glad to have it behind you. Trish

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    2. Hi, I'm in day 6 of Efudex on my face. I also am a great believer in Sudocrem after having three kids. But did not think to try it after Efudex treatment. I was told not to use any other creams on my face while using Efudex. I've just stopped treating my chest area and have been using an antibacterial cream mixed with vitamin e healing cream. I'll try the sudocrem now. www.heather-ellis.com/efudix.html

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  36. Thank you for bravely sharing your journey with Efudex. I am starting on hands for two weeks, then face. I have had several MOH surgeries and this seems a better way. It is so scary. Bless you Trish for helping me feel a little more comfortable knowing you did look great after treatment.

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  37. Hi, Trish! First of all, way to go! I'm very proud of you!

    My complexion, hair color and eye color are practically identical to yours, and (probably no coincidence) my own reaction to the treatment seems to have followed about the same schedule as yours. I was surprised too at some of the areas that didn't react that I thought certainly would (e.g. the bridge of my nose; the sides did react strongly, but practically nothing on the bridge itself). All that said, I'm hoping that my derm will give me permission to stop the treatment when I see her tomorrow (today was my 14th day, the original prescribed period). I woke up so swollen this morning, even my eyes were quite swollen, and I hadn't applied any of the treatment to my eyes. With that news and my affirming that it had become quite crusty all over, she thought it would be okay to skip my 14th day of application and assess tomorrow.

    Here's hoping that I get her approval to officially "stop" tomorrow, as I see you were looking VERY presentable within a couple of weeks after stopping. Luckily, I've been able to work from home, but I MUST attend some onsite meetings at my company the first few days of April so I'm pretty nervous....again, because of the similarity of our skin and your own experience, I have hope that I will heal as quickly as you seem to have so that I'm not so self-conscious about that public appearance around my colleagues.

    Thanks again! and WAY TO GO!!!!! :)

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    Replies
    1. Good luck with your appt tomorrow. I hope you get to stop. It sure was music to my ears when the doc finally gave me the green light to stop. It was amazing how fast my face healed after stopping. I think you will be fine by the time you have to see co-workers. One thing that has been interesting to me is how different my face reacts to moisturizers. I use to spend a fortune on keeping that damaged layer of skin on my face moist and not dry and flaky. Now, I have to use lite moisturizers in small amounts or I risk blackheads and pimples!!! I have not had this problem since high school!!! Good luck and let me know how it goes. Congrats on getting through this difficult treatment in one piece. It's not easy, but it's worth reducing the risk of skin cancer.

      Delete
  38. Trish,

    Thank you so very much for posting your experience with Efudex. I am 50 with a similar complexion to yours, and a long history of severe sunburns. I have already had Mohs surgery twice on my face and they seem to have given up on freezing pre-cancerous spots off of me because they are too many and too large. I am on day 2 of Efudex today, and my doctor gave me absolutely no information on what to expect. Maybe because he knows that if he had, I never would have agreed to subject myself to such torture and said NO WAY?! Anyway, it is very helpful to know what to expect, and to know that I am not alone. I only hope that I can garner up all the resolve that you did. Great job sticking it out like you did -- it was definitely worth it. Thank you again!

    Ellen

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  39. Good luck in your Journey Ellen. Keep remembering that the pain you are feeling is temporary and the benefits outway that suffering. Keep me posted! Also, I wish I had asked for good pain pills at the beginning of this treatment, it really is needed. I got some about half way through it from an urgent care clinic. I went in for the flu and the doc told me that I was the most deserving person she had seen that day for pain pills. Life was better after I got the Loratab!!

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  40. Thank you for the support and encouragement Trish! I live as far south in mainland Florida as is possible, and after reading that Efudex is not recommended to be used in the summertime, I can't help but wonder why this treatment couldn't wait till next winter. I suppose they figure that it is always winter in south Florida, which is pretty much true. Today is Day 3 and the spots are smarting and really beginning to light up today, plus many more than I even knew existed. I was starting to freak a bit last night watching some youtube videos about other people's experiences with Efudex, until I came across one posted by a dermatologist that compared the effects of several different treatments for the same condition. He showed one particularly horrendous Efudex patient, who looked like molten lava had solidified all over the patient's face. You couldn't even see the poor patient underneath all the scabbing. Then he said not to worry, and that you will NOT become one of the horrible cases as long as you are sensible enough to know when enough is enough and don't apply any more than you need to. I guess some people "don't know enough to come in out of the rain," so to speak, and figure that if a little is good, then more must be better. I have my 2-week follow up on May 22 and will most definitely heed my doctor's advice, and not apply this stuff a day longer than necessary. It must be difficult for doctors from a patient management perspective -- putting such a powerful chemical into the hands of patients and expecting them to apply it properly without medical supervision. But they should be supplying us with this information, and not expecting us to have to sort out the myriad reputable information from the unreputable information available online with just a few clicks of the mouse. Sheesh!

    Thanks again for all your help, and I will keep you posted! Have a great day!

    Ellen

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  41. I'm a 61 year old male now paying the price for prolonged sunbathing as a youth in Australia's summers! I've just finished applying Efudix twice a day for 17 days to my forehead, cheeks and bottom half of my nose and am in my first day of healing.There has been no sign of blistering or splitting of the skin as yet but the itching has been driving me crazy! I'm experimenting with paw paw ointment and shea butter, the latter seems to work better. I'm also using Advantan, a cortisone based cream twice a day, which cools the itching for a couple of hours. From reading both your blog and others, I guess I can 'look forward' to some major changes to the affected skin over the next few weeks. But I'm more than happy to go through this than have to face possible consequences of not taking any action. Thanks for the information and the inspiration that it has given me to keep on going!!

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  42. i am a 49 year old female from Australia A big thank you for blogging your experience. I am on day 7 and so far my treatment is following a similar path to you at the same time. It is really helpful to have a little insight as to what you may expect in the days to come even if it is unpleasant, Thanks again!

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    1. I hope your journey goes well Donna. I know you are in for some rough days in the near future, but, by doing the treatment you get the reward of avoiding skin cancer. It is well worth the misery! Good luck and stay strong.

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  43. Thanks for the blog! I'm on day 12 and feeling pretty miserable so I thought I would look around the net and here you are :) Thanks again

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  44. Hey Ryan, I hope the rest of your treatment goes well. It's totally worth the effort. I had forgotten what my undamaged skin was really like. Before the treatment, it was dry all the time, I felt like I had a thickened layer of dry skin. Now that the damaged dry layer is gone, my skin is not dry anymore. I do not need a ton of lotion. Also, my pores seem to be back, I had to remember how to care for teenage skin again so that I could keep pimples at bay.

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  45. Trish I have just read your treatment you went through and all I can say is I hope I will be as strong as you, your a remarkably and special lady.
    I am a 75 year old male and have cancer on my forhead which dermatoligist treated with liquid oxygen it helpled a little but she has now told me to use the Efudex cream I only hope I can be as strong as you and do you know the best shower gel to use to wash my hair
    Thanking you in anticipation
    John
    Nobody I know has had to use this treatment before so reading your period of treatmnt has given me some strength
    I have has some cancer cut ouit of my sholder and hand and that has cleared but the forhead is not the same as the skin is thinner I was told.
    Any tips you can give me would me I would be truly thankful for

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  46. Hi John, good luck on your treatment. I think you will do fine, just make sure you have some good pain meds for the days that hurt the most. Congrats on getting treatment for the cancers you had cut out. About hair washing....I just used my regular shampoo, it didn't bother me.

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  47. Hi Trish
    I feel so privelaged that you took the trouble to read my questions as you have with so many other people, it shows to me that you not only care for yourself but you care for other people just as much which nowdays seems to be a thing that is fading out.
    May I wish you all the luck and happiness you deserve and the many people you have helped
    John

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  48. My derm was so casual about Efudex. Just that I'd be red -- NO warning that it would be this painful process. Maybe she thought I had less damage than I did, but what a rude awakening! Maybe best not to know, as it was more of an experiment. After weeks, I looked online for others being treated. Your blog is SO helpful. You look gorgeous in the end --welldone!

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  49. Thank you!!! So your derm doctor didn't bother to warn you that your face would feel like it had been set on fire and put out with an ice pick.....nice!! Gotta love those casual docs! I hope all goes well with your treatmeant Anon.

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  50. Hi Trish,

    I'm a 58 year old Australian at the beginning of day 11. My face is on fire and swollen, also very itchy and dry with dead skin flakes appearing in the corners and crevices. My eye sockets are the only white patches in a sea of red and purple. In all conscience I can't contemplate applying any more Efudix and based on your blog I've decided to abate and see my doctor today to ask if I can stop. I can't believe the impact on one's general condition and really wasn't warned how bad it gets. Anyway thanks heaps for allowing me/us to share your experience.

    BruceH

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    1. Hey Bruce, so sorry I didn't see this until today, I was out of town. What did your doc say? Were you able to stop? (((hugs)))) I know this has been tough:( Hang in there.

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  51. TRISH, i'M A73 YR. OLD MAN WHO PLAYED GOLF 5 DAYS A WK. FOR THE LAST 20 YR'S i'LL CUT TO THE CHASE. iJUST COMPLETED 6 WEEKS OF TWICE A DAY REGIMINE i HAD 2 SQUAMUS CELL SPOTS &2 OTHER PRECANCER SPOTS. mY MOHS SURGEON SAID THAT ALL ARE GONE. hE WAS VERY HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS.aFTER TREATING MY NOSE, WHICH SHOWED NO SIGNS OF ANYTHING WRONG. I DISCOVERED I HAD FOUR SPOTS WHICH WERE WAITING TO POP UP AT A LATER TIME. THEY ARE NOW HISTORY.TREATMENT IS A MISERABLE EXPERIENCE, BUT BETTER THAN SURGERYS,OF WHICH I'VE HAD MANY. THIS TRATMENT WILL TEST HOW MUCH WILL YOU HAVE TO CONTINUE THE TREATMENT TO THE END. I ENJOYED YOUR BLOG.

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    1. Wow...6 weeks, and you have actually had some cancer. Bless your heart! I'm so happy that you were able to treat your damaged skin with efudex and avoid future surgeries. The treatment is bad, but cancer and surgery is way worse. Great job hanging on for 6 weeks of treatment. It must have been painful to say the least.

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  52. Thank you for sharing your experience Trish. I just started the Efudex treatment today on my forehead and chest area. It has taken me three years to finally reach this decision. I must say, I'm still nervous about the days ahead, mostly because I will have to continue working and face the world red-faced and iritable (I wear business suits and speak publicly everyday). I'm also a little nervous about the healing process.... did you experience any discoloration of skin or permanent scaring after your treatment?

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    1. I can think of a few things you could say about your face when you speak publicly....

      1. severe sunburn from a cruise to Mexico
      2. Ex-spouse threw boiling water on me. (JK)
      3. I am being used as a human guinea pig for the cosmetic industry.
      4. I was in a fire and don't want to talk about it.
      5. I had a facial that went went wrong.
      6. I got caught in the stirrip of my saddle and my horse drug me 200 feet.
      7. BEST ONE: I had Laser Facial Resurfacing. This would cause a red iritated face as well, and would not evoke much scrutinization, except for the question of vanity I suppose.

      I do not have any scars, or discoloration post treatment. My skin is very nice and normal, no ill affects from treatment. I was concerned about this as well, and it did not happen, all is well and I look great.

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  53. Thank you for your inspiration and support. Only day 4. I feel like I'm developing anxiety becuase of this process; so many unknowns ahead. I will try to stay on track and lean upon your strength and wisdom.

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    Replies
    1. Hang on and remember that this short term hellish process is only temporary and that you are sparing yourself from skin cancer which is so much worse than this preventive medicine. Remember that this to shall pass. Take it one day at a time. Good luck to you. I'm not sure about anxiety, but depression is a known side effect of Efudex, try not to own it, as soon as I realized that depression was a side effect, and that I was experiencing it, I refused to own it, I willed it away, refused to own it, and it went away.

      Delete
  54. I am a 66 year-old male on day 2 of my Efudex adventure. While I am very nervous about the journey, your blog has been very helpful in knowing what to expect. Because of my complexion and amount of AK, my dermatologist said I am likely to be a "severe reponder." Isn't that encouraging? However, knowing that many others have been down this path, and survived, will help me stay the course. Thanks much for the hints and detailed information.

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  55. Hi Trish,
    Just viewed your journal on your efudex treatment.
    Your info has been a great help to me as to knowing when to stop appling the cream.
    I must say your results look wonderful.
    Regards
    Roxy

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    Replies
    1. That's fantastic Roxy, I was hoping it would help someone know when they were "ripe" for stopping. Arn't you glad you are at the tail end of treatment?

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  56. Hi Trish,
    I found your blog to have the best written descriptions, support and photos of the many I've read in the past month. Thank you for being so generous. Today is day 14. I couldn't bring myself to put the final application on every part of my face today. My skin looks terrible but my spirits are soaring because I know I'm on the downhill side of this rough climb. I was surprised that my outer cheeks had little response to the cream (not counting burning and itching) except for some brown spots which became more pronounced. I'm not willing to keep going with them in case they may one day erupt. My nose, chin, and inner cheeks were purple and painful enough. Thanks again.

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    Replies
    1. Congrats for getting through treatment! I'll bet by now you are starting to look like yourself again. I was elated at this point, it was the light at the end of the tunnel!

      Delete
  57. Hi Trish,
    I can't thank you enough for your valuable insight. Did you stop treatment to your face after day 12 or contineu for the full 14 days? Not sure what the docs advice meant. I'm now on day 10 and only spot treating, as I got afraid to do large aress of my face and chest. My doc says anything is good. My spots vary, sone are light scabs, some are just red and one spot is a dark flat brown. Is this normal, from your experience, to have different colors and reactions in your skin?

    ReplyDelete
  58. I went the full 14 days, I was already near the end when the doc reviewed my blog and then said I could have stopped earlier. Yes, the spots varied by how bad the damage was. My upper lip had to continue beyond 14 days to get all the damage cleared. Hope this helps.

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  59. Hi all
    just finished 21 days on Efudex-am now on day 3 after treatment-using Betaderm cream (corticosteroid medication)
    which seems to be helping with the dryness and stinging. This part of the treatment is more painful then before! skin is UBER sensitive!! have this gross zombie skin after showering and the cream combined with a soft wash cloth help to remove the skin.

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  60. to add to the last message-how often will the skin peel? and did anyone else have strange looking darker "indents"? did anyone try vitamin e cream on their skin? same as after a sunburn?
    thanks

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  61. I am now beginning day 13, and I am pleased to say this has not been a painful experience thus far. I have been applying the Efudex twice a day over my entire face. It looks as bad as any photos I've seen on the internet, but feels like a very mild sunburn. I have not used anything but Efudex and am taking no pain meds. Perhaps the pain will begin, but I just wanted to let people who are contemplating this procedure know that not everyone finds this a miserable journey. So far, so good. One more week to go.

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    Replies
    1. Followup to my 1/24 entry. Last night I finally experienced the level of pain many others have experienced. It was impossible to sleep, so I got up and broke open the tube of Desonide (steroid ointment) and applied it to my face. Within 10 minutes, the pain subsided, and I was able to get back to sleep. The stuff was amazing. My dermatologist prescribed Desonide when I first started treatment and told me to use it as soon as 30 minutes following the application of Efudex if I started experiencing too much pain. I hadn't felt the need to use it before last night. I encourage anyone looking for relief to contact their dermatologist and request a prescription. I am on day 20 of my 21-day up-hill climb and looking forward to starting the healing process tomorrow night. Thanks to everyone for the info on this blog.

      Delete
  62. Thank you for a wonderfully detailed description of Efudex treatment! My doc told me to use on my face for 14 days and come back in 6 months. Like others I was wholly unprepared for the effects. Your photos are unique in showing when to stop applying the medication, which is so important and seems few docs want to view or give advice during treatment. I finished my 14th day and will spot treat bad areas for a few more days. So grateful for your blog!
    Laurie

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  63. Thanks for this blog. I am a bald (mostly) 54 year old male, who has been bald since I was around 20 I have just lurched through a treatment that started on my scalp.


    Amazingly there was little reaction on my scalp. The doctor did not say do the rest of the face but some accidently got onto the side of my head and BAM, out it came. The second doctor who saw this said that the majority of damage is done before you are 20. she was at totally bronzed lady who grew up in England. she said she had tried it but nothing happened.

    There was no indication from the doctor that it would hurt!! so knowing when to stop or whether to try other areas was hard.

    So I have had uneven treatment and was a bit confused. I went to the local skin cancer clinic to get the big red blotches looked at 9 days ago. I was told that I could stop now as the redness was at a level where the efudix had done its job. The mole scan did not show any other spots which I guess is good, but that was the outcome of the first visual examination (a different doctor in a different town)

    I got the stinging, tight face and the burning. It was not as bad as yours as sleep was ok. But it is ichy!! I shaved my head and face before and during the treatment, that was NOT fun. I stopped that idea, but at least the cream got into the "Haired" areas and pulled up some great red spots.

    Now I am sporting a 5 day growth and lots of itching.

    So my learning is

    Hair does not help stop the cells, so dont be scared of going into that space.

    Glasses seem to concentrate the areas of reactivness. My eye sockets look like yours!

    I also had reactions in the folds of my eyelids. !!

    Protecting children from sun damage is REALLY important.

    I am not sure it has all been targeted, but I am not sure i want to try new areas while other areas are healing.

    and finally, healing seems to take longer than I expected. Again, no indication from the doctor.

    I have to admit, I was prescribed the cream in August and did not start until christmas as I do a lot of public work and did not want to have to deal with everything from remembering to put it on to potential bad reactions. In hind sight, probably a good move.

    Thanks for the photos and commentary, it really helped me understand what has happened and that I have a few more days of itching to deal with!!


    Andew


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  64. Hi Trish, thank you for taking time to describe your journey and for posting the pictures. I'm on day 9 of my flourosil treatment and am taking pics because I never imagined the extent of the subclinical cell damage. It's a bit scary but encouraging to see you come through it! Take care...

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  65. I had AKs all over my scalp which occasionally itched, so I decided to do something about it. I was prescribed Efudex for four to six weeks. After week one my scalp was red, sore and very itchy, which apparently is normal. It is important to wash the scalp before each application. I took some paper towels which I soaked in warm water and very gently rubbed my scalp. It was very soothing. I took some more paper towels and gently blotted the water off my scalp, using a blow dryer to make sure my scalp was dry. I then applied a thin coat of Efudex on the lesions. After two weeks the lesions on my scalp started to get hard and crusty. I still had the soreness and itch. During week three the lesions started to weep (ooze fluid) and were sticky to the touch. One or two dropped off, leaving a very tender area behind. I am now at the end of week 3 and am reaching what is known as the erosion stage. This is where all the lesions are crusty and will shortly drop off. I am going to quit the Efudex at the end of the week and use a moisturizing cream on the scalp, which should help lessen the discomfort and tenderness. I am hoping to be finished with this treatment at the end of week 4.

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    1. I don't know why your derm said 4-6 weeks, I am on my third time "efudex treatment" three different dermotologist's , and they all said twice a day for three weeks. My wife just underwent the treatment, with her doctor. and he gave the stuff in the office and back in 18 days,, and once a day. she was done in 21 days. she did not get the dreaded redness.
      I am on day three, twice a day.
      I would like more doctor supervision, like see them once a week as it affects us all different.
      You did not say if you are once, or twice a day. I think most are twice a day.
      My wife also got a tube of cortizone, which I can use later.. my derm gave me nothing for pain.
      You started the first the month, so you are about done. Its hard to put the stuff on when it hurts as you know it only make it hurt worse. good luck J

      Delete
  66. My name is Peter and I am an 87 year old male (in great shape). Over the years I was active outdoors but with thinning hair I got too much sun on my scalp. I was told my actinic kerotoses could get nasty and cancerous, and even though I am at an advanced age, I decided to do something about it and embarked on a course of treatment with Efudex. I am now on day 21 and have suffered like all others with burning, itching, etc. I thought I just had a few AKs, but soon realised my whole scalp was damaged. My main difficulty was in deciding when the erosion stage was reached, as my family doc was not all that familiar with the Efudex treatment. I waited till the lesions got crusty and then I stopped Efudex and started applying Prevex, which is the Canadian equivalent of Aquaphor. It is an ointment which is quite thick and sticky so you have to spread it around with your finger to apply a thin coat. With a tender scalp, not easy. I am hoping I have used the right procedure as I am more or less using trial and error. If anyone can tell me I am on the right track, I would appreciate their comments.

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  67. Jimmy Jay
    I started last night on scalp and ears. told to use twice a day for 21. some derms say once a day ? most twice! They never mention the pain. My wife's derm said he wanted to see her back in 18 days.@ once a day treatment. My derm is twice a day and back in 21 days for a "look see" and gave me a Rx for Batafine, a expensive cream the last time I underwent this treatment, (this is my third time) the last go was face and scalp. I am think of going to once a day as I see that is is some of the scripts. The doctors don't really seem to realize the power of this med, and different reactions to it: this blog is very helpful.
    The last time I went to my dentist, of course in the bright light of the chair, pretty ugly. they never heard of it and treated me like I had something to be afraid of > I should have brought a brochure to show them.
    Not looking forward to the next 3 weeks. My derm takes 3 weeks to get a appointment with, so no help.
    What I did was note the meds that helped the above users, and maybe get a script from drugstore clinic's for pain.
    any one try pot? never know.. and thanks for the blog

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  68. Trish, I am so very appreciative of the information that you have provided. My doctor most certainly did not provide a detailed description of what I'm currently experiencing (can't wait to poke him in the eye). Having just completed the 14-day Efudex treatment, I am now at day-16 whereby I am experiencing all the pain and symptoms you've detailed. From my experience -- in addition to a daily shower, I also took numerous hot baths where I soaked (and at times submerged) my face, whereby my intention was to soften and shed much of the dead skin. I believe this is key to allowing the chemical to penetrate and reach the deeper AKs -- vs. the medicine sitting on top of the dry and at time soggy dead skin. In my opinion and within reason, the faster that you shed the dead skin the better, although I was very careful not to scrub or scrape in any manor, less gently rubbing with my hands and/or a soft wash rag. The long heated soak baths feel great and quickly shed the dead skin. THANK YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN!!! Chuck, Georgetown, TX

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  69. Trish, your info was very helpful. I have just completed 14 days of Efudex on my face. I am red and sore...especially my lower lip ( onto which I did NOT apply the medication).I am continuing for two more weeks (a total of four) on my arms, hands, legs, feet, shoulders and chest. My lips feel like agony...they are dry and crusty and burn like fire. The lesions on the rest of my body look angry, but are not painful....yet. Is there a pain killer you found worked best for your face? HELP!!

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  70. Thanks for everyone's comments, now I am petrified... getting Efudex tonight, starting twice a day for 4 weeks on my nose (will I have one left!!) plenty of years in the Zimbabwean and South African sun :), work in London, so commutting should be a blast, maybe I'll get a seat people will be afraid to come near me, but honestly after reading all these comments and knowing the end product will be worth it, I have to say my stomach is in knots.. Well done all I only hope I am as brave as you. ScaredyPants!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. I saw on the above post a couple of thing for pain
      OTC Aquaphor a baby cream of sorts
      a script; "Desonide" it has a steriod in it. and a few others. I never had anything for pain and needed it, so this time I will try any or all of the above in the last stages of treatment... they say a half hour or so after applying you can use the pain killer. so good luck and keep posting, I think you should go back after 3 weeks to have your doc "have a look see"

      Delete
    2. It is so true that I think the doctor's withhold the information about the burning and feeling like Richards of glass on my eye lids. I am on day 13 twice a day. He had me come back after 10 days. Initially he wanted me to use the Efudex for 6 weeks but after seeing the irritation on my eye lids, around my nostrils and around my mouth he is having me continue for just 10 more days and then see him in one year. I thought that was odd. When I could not sleep last night I read up on Efudex.
      It mentioned not to use it on your eye lids. That is where my issue was to begin with. So I guess I will see what happens. I have also had some depression and bloody noses. Not sure if the bloody noses are a side affect. What is really hard for me is I work with elementary children and I do not want to scare them. My question is, how long does it take to look normal again once you stop the treatment?

      ROBIN in Washington state.

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  71. HI fellow Efudex bud's I am on day 10 of 21 treatment and no redness or pain. Trish was red on day 2, so it really affects us all individually. This is my third treatment over the years, mostly head and face, just scalp and ears this time.
    I found that the doctors are a little different about how they perscribe the medication. anywhere between two and four weeks and once or twice a day. the most its 3 weeks 2 x a day. for me anyway.the back to the office on 21 days for a look. I saw some of Trish's followers recommend some good help for the pain. from OTC's to script's I think you could call your doc and get a script call in to your pharm.
    I just went for my check up and my family doc was not famaliar with efudex as most outside the derm doc. They all and., I mean all love it. I have at least five dermotoligist perscribe it.

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  72. I was prescribed Lortab for pain and it did the job after tylenol failed me.

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    Replies
    1. HII TRISH. I HAVE FOIND UR STORY SO HELPFYL. I AM AN ALBINO IN JAMAICA AND USING EFUDIC ON MY ARMS. IT LOOKED REAL BAD LAST WEEK BUT BETTER NOW - LOOKS MORE LIKE SORES NOW. HAVE 2 WKS TO GO.

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  73. Sunday will be two weeks. i have some red and nasty looking spots ears,neck face. Of course hurts a bit. I don't like to use the word pain. Once you start you can't quit..It seems the spots that have been treated before are reacting more the the sections I did the previous times. (this is my third Efudex treatment} No you don't get "used to it" having Trish's blog is a help. She reacted so quickly, I am in two weeks now and just now getting to " I don't want go out in public" but not bad.
    Like the way I look at winter Nov/Dec, not bad, then Jan/Feb, pretty rough-- Mar/Apr its downhill
    winter is behind us,. So if I get through the next week, the third week, it will be over. and get better each day after.... The last time I had a Rx for Batafine cream, for the follow up. expensive and I did not know what it was spos to do. I still have most of it. My first time doc gave me nothing, just smiled and said; look like it worked. that was it. He died and his helper doc took over his practice and is my doctor now.
    What I did not till I starting using the blob, is the "after you stop" of follow up. I did not know it would be another three weeks to finish. The first time I got nothing for the follow up. I read now that the "after" treatment is important.
    Thanks again for blog

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  74. Tomorrow I will have to see doctor.. she said three weeks and I made the appt for 21 days. but I got a late start so it will be only 19 days.
    Getting pretty noticeable. I won't use the unsightly word.. When I go out in public, I can't see it.... so tough! Just go on as nothing wrong with me.
    This is my third time, first with the blog of others, and that is a big as to what to , or how to handle the treatment. Like I say this is my third time, so I know what to expect.. the doctor always looked like; what you talking about when I told him it hurt like; (like I can't sleep) pain. just smile say; "looks good" The last treatment the doc gave Aquapor or something like that. expensive cream , I still don't what it is for. and I used to think the 21 days up.. that was it!
    Not so , of what I read this time three weeks or so to finish treatment.. and some meds to use..
    I will post after I see my doctor tomorrow and say how it went.. happy to be so near the end.
    Really has not been too bad.. unsightly and disconfort, but almost over J

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  75. this is a week later. the doc to keep applying on head, but stop on ears and face.. so good and bad.. this should be the last on scalp.. she said it was not red enough. the scalp had been treated twice before and is getting immune to the efuxex, I guess.. all in all pretty easy this time. just treated and I think that will be final, maybe again tonight. Doc wants to see back in two months. I can live with that.
    No one has been blogging so I would think all is well with all fellow Efdex'ers Not a pleasant thing to undergo, now stay out of the sun till May or June.

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  76. Thanks for doing pics and posting. I did this treatment, just like you did. Not a pleasant experience, but worth it. Pretty amazing that it knows what cells to attack and what to leave alone. Great stuff.

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  77. Thank you and congratulations!!! This is a great and informative record of your experience and one that many others have and will go through. It's also interesting to read the many comments. I found this when researching Efudix after my dermatologist recommended it. I am 49 and have had to use Efudix on my whole face for 4 weeks and finish tomorrow. The amount of visual irritations on my face are about the same as yours were on day 5 but are as inflamed as yours on day 14. My whole face is painful and itchy and I can't wait to finish tomorrow and start the healing process. When it has got me down I looked at your beautiful skin in your last few photos thinking that will be me soon. My GP has suggested Chlorsig to kick off the healing process and I am planning to have a facial soon to hopefully help. Several people suggested I do sections at a time instead of my whole face at once but that would just have prolonged it for months so definately not. All teenagers and parents of young children should see this to get the slip, slop, slap message hitting home.
    Thank you again. Fran

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  78. Do you live in Atlanta? I have heavy sun damage and I am looking for a good derm.

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  79. During the efudex recovery period, "Is it ok to wash your face with a soft washcloth and mild soap even though it removes the dead skin and scabs, or is there a possibility of scarring?

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  80. My treatment finished four weeks ago. It was too painful to use a washcloth for the first 1 1/2 weeks but as soon as I could I gently scrubbed off the dead skin. I don't have any scarring but still have a few red areas that haven't settled. Fran

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  81. I'm on day 13. Appointment on day 15. Hoping it's done. One thing I did notice, your smile grew as the days passed. Vince

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  82. SHIT - I am starting tonight and you have all got me running scared ..... however, I will man-up and face this with the required amount of enthusiasm required. I am so glad that I happened upon your blog - my Doctor told me diddly-squat, didn't discuss after-care cream and conveniently forgot to mention anything about my appearance or the pain that might be associated with it :-( Wish me luck and I will be back for a daily look to see what the stages are I might have to deal with. Julie

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  83. Hope that you are doing good. Its been a long time since you updated. Please come over to my blog and also to my journey with Efudex blog.
    http://efudexskincancer.blogspot.com

    God bless

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  84. I am on day 5 of a twice a day 14 day treatment with Efudex but even though parts of my face tingle a little, I don't have the all over red skin, just a few reddened spots, mostly on my upper forehead and on the sides of my forehead where I knew I had patches of skin that flaked indicating pre-cancerous spots. I smooth on a thin layer of the Efudex all over my face and kind of rub it in. Perhaps I'm not putting on enough of it?

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  85. I enjoyed reading your blog. I am 4 weeks in with some spot treatments. I have done my face all over twice with results similar to yours. I hadn't used fluorouracil for a few years and had kind of forgotten how miserable it is.

    I am having a bad reaction on both ears and my hairline. I guess I will have to do my whole face again this winter. I have to change my pillowcase every night because it is such a mess from the bleeding and oozing.

    I am in HELL! Can't wait to start healing.

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  86. Hi...great blog! I recetly went thru the same thing... the red sores and itchy burning PAIN!! The Derma told me to do it for 3-4 weeks twice a day, I only took it for 11 days, called and saw another Derma ( while traveleing) and this one said ok to stop and gave me some cream. I thought great I am on the mend...but NO, I ended up in the ER with half of my face swollen, apparently I got an ear infection while healing. The skin lesions had started to go 'almost' but when I got the ear infection, they cam back and almost were like scabs of a burn victim! I 'tried ' not to touch them even though I wanted to rip them off! I would put a hot wash cloth on try to soften the sores. The cream the Dr. gave wasn't doing much hydrocortison cream ,so I switched to Vit E oil and also Aloe.....no matter what it just takes time to run it's course.....finally I became presentable...BUT here is the bad news...I have permanent scars, like keloids on my face! I haven't heard anyone else having this?? It's sucks, my face looked pretty good before!

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  87. Maybe i shouldn't call them keloids...I just looked at some pictures of that...(ick). more like just a scarred area (like tough skin) in the dimple area

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  88. What a great blog, gives confidence when resolve challenged. I am on my third treatment over the years, it doesn't get any easier for me.
    I am treating above eye brows and into them plus sides. My eyebrows have been so itchy I contemplated shaving them off. Have stopped now so should improve over the next week.
    Thanks for everyone's feedback and great blog!

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  89. Hi folks.

    I will start this procedure shortly.

    I direct my next question to the male of the species.

    What do you do about shaving during this process.

    Can you do without it or what.

    Thanks in advance.

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  90. Thanks for your chronicle, Trish. Really helpful. I'm at day 9 and freaked! It hurts, the stuff gets in my eyes and feels like there's boulders under my eyelids. My lips are getting raw...i guess the efudex spreads on its own. Doc says you keep repeating this cycle: 14 days of treatment followed by 1-2 months of healing; 14 days treatment, 1-2 mo. healing---until treatment causes no reaction. Good God! This could take a couple years. Can't really go to work like this--people think you're carrying the plague! : ) Better than skin cancer, tho.

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  91. OH I WROTE EARLIER. I AM USINF THE CREAM ONCE PER DAY FOR 28 DAYS ON MY ARM. THE ITCH IS BAD. I TRY NOT TO SCRATXH BUT ITS HARD. I APPLY AT NIGHTS. I AM SCARED THAT I MAY EVENTUALLY HAVE TO DO MY FACE BUT READING ALL UR COMMENTS WILL HELP IF THAT TIME COMES. MY LIFESTYLE WILL SURELY CHANGE AFTER THIS EXPERIENCE. H( ALBIBO IN JAMAICA)

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  92. Hi Trish - you have reassured me that the horrible pain, itchiness, burning, swelling & horrific appearance is not abnormal. I live in the world's worst (but very beautiful...) area for skin cancer, Queensland Australia & made sure I cooked myself in the sun in younger years. I'm doing one entire arm & am in my 4th week & ready to stop it. I can guarantee I will not be treating the rest of my body, despite numerous solar keratoses. Agony! For relief from itchiness I used Phenergan which also helped me sleep after numerous sleepless nights. Good luck everyone. I'm sure it's worth it in the long run. And Trish, you look fabulous!!

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  93. HiTrish - I read with great interest your treatment with Efudex. I have just completed 14 days and am now at day 16. Went to the doctor yesterday and they told me to use calamine lotion as a calming agent. It worked well. Today no pain, no itching just dry dry skin. I was told to go on it fofr 14 days and then off it for 14 days and then back on it for 4 weeks. I hope my skin is cleared before that!

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  94. hi, my name is susie and im right now on day 17, with effudex. i saw a change about day 7, i have pretty much everything you have discribed. i have 4 more days of taking it.i found your idea was great ,, i bought some cortizone 10 oitment, and ohhh felt so good. however from day one never used soap to wash before applying day and nite.. i just used cold washcloth and blotted very very gently.im wondering did you or any one else reading this have happen. i have spots on my neck quite large that turned real brown.. their not red either just ugly brown, and i cant wash it of i tried. its like this ugly looking mask.. im actually hoping it turns red and crust like the rest of my face..im using the cream all over my face and neck.. i hope those big brown blotches go away.. any idea?

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  95. I am presently at day 11 of my treatment. I have previously done the whole face and neck back in 2008, then again in 2010 and now again but this time I am only doing half the face plus are few spot areas. I know it is really worth it when finished, can't wait until the end and hopefully this will be my last time. I am at the crusty stage and some areas are starting to weep (on the cheek) plus of course the itching, itching, itching, itching. Colleen from Australia.

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    1. i see you done this before when you did your face and neck did you have any places turn brown on your skin? my whole face and my neck turned dark brown were applied the cream except were the skin turned red and im still red today.

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  96. Okay, SAS in England, about to start my treatment. Fair to say I am dreading it terribly. Having read all this information, I know what I'm in for - just hope I have the courage to see it through. Here goes....

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  97. I also went thru the efudex treatment. "just like a baby's butte" was also quoted to me. If I had to do it over again, I would not, as my skin has aged enormously over the past year where I did the treatment. Withered looking! I found this blog while looking for a class action suite. I would never use it again on a whole area, but on spots if needed. Also, my little warty looking spots are still showing up and Efudex did not remove a growing larger red spot on my hand. I have started removing the wart looking spots myself with a sharp single blade, razor blade. Just roughing them up and applying triple-ointment will sometimes make them disappear.

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  99. A dermatologist has recommended treatment for my forehead, which I have tentatively planned to start in mid-October. She mentioned 3 weeks of treatment but seemed to downplay the effects during treatment and healing, compared to what I am reading here. Thanks for this blog and to all the contributors. One question in my mind is how long the treated area is likely to remain very sensitive to the sun. We generally go somewhere warm for a week in the winter. If I finish the treatment by mid-November and heal through December, am I likely to be okay to go south in February, with lots of sunscreen and a hat of course. Thanks for your replies.

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  100. Hi Trish,

    Your blog is the one that I constantly refer to when I am on EFUDIX treatment.

    A couple of years ago I removed a SCC on my chest using EFUDIX. Only the SCC area became red and inflamed. I taped a plastic spoon on my chest to allow the inflamed area to breathe. I did this after each application.

    Now I am treating a small nodule on my face. I am not sure exactly what it is but it is ever so slightly raised, but hardly seen.

    I have spot treated this for 5 days. Strangely enough the surrounding area 3 cm in diameter has become red and itchy and inflamed.

    The surrounding area had no visible signs of abnormality before the treatment, and I am curious to find out why the surrounding area has responded to the treatment.

    The nodule is in the middle of the surrounding area and is also red.

    Any suggestions?

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  101. I have just been prescribed Efudex and have been told to only apply it to the known areas of AK and to use a spatula or glove. Did you apply the cream all over your face with your bare hands?

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  102. Thank you for posting your treatment, I thought mine was bad but you are very brave, you did the whole fase. YOu look great now. I am taking your Aquaphor advice.

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  103. Great blog. I'm starting my third treatment in 10 years on my bald head. My Dr. has not told me to put it on my face but I think I will try a few places to see if they react. I have to use a cpap machine and I think it makes the treatment even worse. Harder to sleep too.

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  104. Hi Trish - Can you or anyone else comment on Efudex and hair-loss? I have thin hair that I think I'll shave to do the scalp treatment. I read conflicting reports on Efudex and hair-loss. Thanks for any opinions/experiences. C

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