December 27, 2008

SquamousCell Carcinoma

by George Anderson

It first appears as a spec
like the fleck on the outer
flesh of a suspect

In the days that follow it breaks the
surface of my left cheek-
its core splitting
open. Morphing. Forming a
black scab. Shedding. Then
cleaving open again:


I visit Thirroul Medical Centre
& Dr Walker refers me to a
plastic surgeon. I open his letter of referral. It reads:

‘Thanks for seeing the patient who has a ?BCC on his L pre auricular region for excision’.

Eight stabs of local & my cheek is numb in fifteen minutes.
I am asked to turn on my right side. Dr Salmon goes to work.

There is a quick deep cut of the blade
& an ice cream scooping motion 3-10mm below the scab.
A rough scraping back & forth like the scaling of a fish..
A spraying sound and the smell of burning flesh.
My flesh.

‘What I’m doing, reassures Dr Salmon, is using an electric probe to electro-desiccate any remaining microscopic cancer cells’.

I feel a tightening of flesh as it is stitched up in a series of sutured loops.

All done, he says.

I sit in the foyer waiting for my son to ring
I watch and take notes as patients come & go through the aluminium framed door
my bandage like a wide white sideburn in the window
A dull ache emerging.

*George Anderson's blog:


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