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When to go see the Flight Surgeon

picklesuit

Dirty Hinge
pilot
Contributor
As you all know, I am completely against speaking to doctors outside of my yearly proscribed checkup.

There is nobody who can more quickly end your flying career with a stroke of the pen than the flight surgeon.

That being said, sometimes you really need to put yourself first. I had a "thing" by my nose, probably for the last four years. Thought it was an acne scar, or at least that is what I told myself (and others.)

I hadn't seen my brother for just over five years, so when the second thing he said to me was "What the fuck is that?" I knew I should get it looked at.

image.jpg

I pestered my flight doc to get to a dermatologist, which takes forever in our system.

Turns out I had a basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer).

Yaaaaaaayyyyy...

So today I got it removed (Moh's procedure) and it was a bit more invasive than I thought. To the tune of a marble size piece of flesh, a nicked facial artery (we have a bleeder!) and thirty or so stitches.

If I had gone in three years ago, when my gut said it might be something, two years ago, when my wife mentioned it, or last June, when my brother said something, I probably wouldn't have had near as much trouble.

Moral of the story: if your gut says you have a real issue, do something about it.

Pickleimage.jpgimage.jpg image.jpg
 

mad dog

current champion of Mattel Electronics Auto Race
pilot
Contributor
OK...I just hurled. :eek:

Seriously, good to hear (see) that you got it taken care of, picklesuit. :)
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
What Pickle said.

If you get an annoying, asymmetrical spot that bleeds and won't heal, chances are you have basal cell - especially for those with northern European complexions. Got my first years ago and blew it off (figured I cut myself shaving and was accidentally hitting it on occasion). Wife made me go to dermatologist and had something done similar to Pickle. Now I am on top of it - see the dermatologist twice a year and always wear a hat. Have had several more instances which were minor due to now I know what to look for - early detection meant either small incisions to cut off or frozen off with liquid nitrogen.

As Barney Fife said, "Nip it, nip it in the bud." You do not want it becoming squamous cell or much, much worse - melanoma. Be safe.

Thanks again to Pickle for bringing this out for everyone to think about.
 

Hopeful Hoya

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
Speedy recovery Pickle. Basal cell/Melanoma runs in my Dad's side of the family so I know firsthand that's nasty stuff. Glad you caught it before it became a much bigger problem.
 

707guy

"You can't make this shit up..."
Glad you got that taken care of and thanks for the info - good to know. Hope you're feeling better soon!
 

TimeBomb

Noise, vibration and harshness
Good news and sound advice all around. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the skin cancer to get if you're going to get one. BCC grows slowly and rarely metastasizes. But, as shown, lesions can be locally advanced, and if untreated lead to the archaic, but very descriptive term "rodent ulcer". Had this been melanoma, no treatment for 4 years from first presentation would have been a likely death sentence. As it is, NCD, no waiver necessary after curative surgery. Basal cell and squamous cell cancer are closely tied to chronic sub-sunburn sun exposure, malignant melanoma more closely related to severe sunburns in early life and probably some genetic component. Since most of us have spent a lot of time outside in the course of our employment, constant vigilance is key.

A physician I knew said that wives saved more of his patients than he did. Pays to listen to the bride.

R/
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
Thread update as summer rolls around to remind everyone to see their dermatologist / flight surgeon on a regular basis. Got sliced again about 6 months ago for Basal Cell - recently the dermatologist scheduled me for a new ultraviolet light treatment to get rid of some actinic keratosis. Nip it in the bud.
 

picklesuit

Dirty Hinge
pilot
Contributor
Thread update as summer rolls around to remind everyone to see their dermatologist / flight surgeon on a regular basis. Got sliced again about 6 months ago for Basal Cell - recently the dermatologist scheduled me for a new ultraviolet light treatment to get rid of some actinic keratosis. Nip it in the bud.
I have three to freeze off, including most of my lower lip ("It's really going to hurt" sez the Doc) my ear tip and bridge of my nose.
Yay!!
Pickle
 

robav8r

Future performance not guaranteed . . .
None
Contributor
I have three to freeze off, including most of my lower lip ("It's really going to hurt" sez the Doc) my ear tip and bridge of my nose.
Yay!!
Pickle
Good gawd man, you're going to wither away to nothing . . . . .
 

GroundPounder

Well-Known Member
You've all heard it before, but don't let skin issues go. My wife had one that everyone said would be fine, turns out to be Melanoma. She caught it soon enough to be treated and things so far are OK, but there are no guarantees. When you go to the Melanoma doctor, you hear a lot about 5 year mortality rates, and not a lot about cures. She is in a program at Emory, one of the top three places to go with this particular form of cancer.

I've heard a lot of people say ( and I said the same thing prior to her situation ) " It's just skin cancer, how bad can it be? "

The answer is graveyard dead.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
A special thanks to Pickle for starting this thread and the others that have posted, it was one of several reminders that I needed to get off my ass and see the Dermatologist which I finally did last week and found that spot that has been there for a while actually was a little something. No big worries but I can breathe a little easier now that I know for sure.
 

Rockriver

Well-Known Member
pilot
"...and always wear a hat."

Now you know why lots of old men wear goofy looking hats. They get tired of being assaulted with liquid nitrogen each year.
 

Kp172015

New Member
pilot
As you all know, I am completely against speaking to doctors outside of my yearly proscribed checkup.

There is nobody who can more quickly end your flying career with a stroke of the pen than the flight surgeon.

That being said, sometimes you really need to put yourself first. I had a "thing" by my nose, probably for the last four years. Thought it was an acne scar, or at least that is what I told myself (and others.)

I hadn't seen my brother for just over five years, so when the second thing he said to me was "What the fuck is that?" I knew I should get it looked at.

View attachment 15222

I pestered my flight doc to get to a dermatologist, which takes forever in our system.

Turns out I had a basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer).

Yaaaaaaayyyyy...

So today I got it removed (Moh's procedure) and it was a bit more invasive than I thought. To the tune of a marble size piece of flesh, a nicked facial artery (we have a bleeder!) and thirty or so stitches.

If I had gone in three years ago, when my gut said it might be something, two years ago, when my wife mentioned it, or last June, when my brother said something, I probably wouldn't have had near as much trouble.

Moral of the story: if your gut says you have a real issue, do something about it.

PickleView attachment 15219View attachment 15220View attachment 15221
Hey Pickle,
I assume you were still in flight status when you got the procedure done? I’m pretty sure I have the same exact thing on my upper back. I’m concerned that if I go see the doc, I could get NPQ’d. Just looking for the warm and fuzzy that this is waiverable. Thank you!
 
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