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ScarFace Undone

This past October 2014, I had surgery on my face. The surgery was to remove skin cancer from beneath the surface of my face.

September, the month of impending change, is when I learned I had cancer. Before surgery, I had a couple of weeks to think about the alien living below my eyes, beneath my skin. I hated the idea of something foreign living there. Knowing it was caused by too many unprotected days in the sun, I vowed to never again go outside without wearing a good quality sunscreen. I’ve honored the vow.

Below is a photo of the day I learned that the yellow fireball in the sky had not been my friend.

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This is what the spot looked like… a pimple that wouldn’t go away. I didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about. Until it lingered and wouldn’t clear up.

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I had both dreaded and looked forward to surgery. I was not excited about having my face opened up, but I was anxious to get the show on the road. October, one of my favorite months, ushered in Surgery Day; my good friend Angie Alexandersen drove me to Marietta for the procedure. I went into surgery believing all cancer would be removed and knowing I would have a scar afterwards. I just didn’t know how wide, long or deep the scar would be. But my attitude was: Ok…you’ve had fifty plus years of a relatively unmarred face. So you may have a scar. Deal with it. You’ve fought tougher battles than a blemished face.”

But I also knew I would help the scar heal physically with the products I “peddle” (that’s how one of my son’s friends described my business skill-set). 🙂

I am a consultant with Rodan+Fields, the skincare company created by Drs. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields. During the past year, I had seen my client’s wrinkles decrease, age spots disappear, rosacea, eczema and acne cleared up… leaving behind a flawless complexion. And while RF doesn’t make claims of healing scars, I knew I would give our products a chance before using the expensive creams my doctor suggested.

The doctors and nurses had instructed me to wait a few days before removing the surgical bandages. In the meantime, I tried to set my mind for whatever lay beneath the white netting covering one side of my face. Expect nothing, just pull the bandages back and accept what’s there.

Alone and holding my breath, I carefully removed the gauze and tape. One look and my stomach knotted up slightly and I sort of wanted to cry; but then I talked myself back: It could be worse. It wasn’t in the bone. Others have dealt with so much more. Think of what Denise is going through. If this is the worst of it for you, consider yourself fortunate.

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I developed my Rodan+Fields Game Plan. And when the stitches were removed a week or so later, I began applying RF Night Renewing Serum and RF Overnight Restorative Cream directly to the raw, invaded area.
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RF Overnight Cream

A couple of weeks after sutures were removed, the scar area began to harden and raise up in a long rigid line down my cheek and alongside my nose. It reminded me of the Rocky Mountains, except it was an angry red mountain range rather than one of snow-capped beauty. My physician told me it was from the internal stitches healing and pulling the tissue and muscle from different directions. “The roots of the cancer were spread in different angles, you were stitched accordingly. We can talk about procedures to correct it after you’re completely healed”.

Searching the internet for restorative possibilities, I came across a surgeon using a ‘needlling’ process to break down scar tissue. Watching the video, I had an “aha moment”: “Hmmmm, RF has the AMP MD Roller. I wonder if that would work as well as what the doctor would use? The roller has surgical grade needles on it. I’ll give it a try”.
Six weeks after surgery, when most of the tenderness was gone, I began “needling” the scar with the AMP MD Roller. Immediately after “rolling”, I applied the serum and the PM Cream. I did this every night before going to bed; in the mornings, I reapplied the Overnight Cream. I still “roll, needle” the area every evening. Since then, I’ve added the full Redefine Regimen to my bedtime routine.
RF Serum Roller

I began to see a rapid improvement in the look of the scar once I added the RF AMP MD Roller to my scar-healing game plan. I’m still elated with the results I’ve received with Rodan+Fields products. Many times I had been impressed with the improvement in my my friend’s skin after using RF, but I was shocked with my outcome. And then one day the thought floated through my head…“Why are you shocked? Didn’t you believe you were worthy of the best? You tell your clients they deserve improved skin. So do you.”

I’ll never stop using Rodan+Fields products. Each and every thing I sell has a 100%, empty bottle, 60 day, money back guarantee. If I can help you, message me or one of your Rodan+Fields friends….we’ll talk about your own game plan. Whether it’s for wrinkles, age or hormone spots, acne, skin irritations…we have something to help you. You have nothing to lose.

Your skin will be with you until the end…treat it well.

I no longer wear foundation cosmetics, so each photo posted here is naked skin, no editing.

Photo in the bottom right corner of the collage was taken in January 2015.

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March 2015

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April 11, 2015

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Changing Skin, Changing Lives

Video: Scarface Undone

Danita Clark Able
Rodan+Fields Executive Consultant

Take 10

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That dang pimple just wouldn’t leave me be. It would go away after a week or two, I would forget about it… and a few weeks or months later, there it was again. In the same place every time, too.

Last January I became a Consultant with Rodan+Fields. I loved the healthy glow and smooth surface of my skin after using our products; happy to be working for a company that enhanced my skin as well as my income. But then July rolled around and with it came my old nemesis, the ‘Pink Pimple”. “Fifty + years is too old to begin having acne problems”, I remember thinking. No worries though, because Rodan+Fields has a Redefine Cleansing mask that will clean the most stubborn pores. So about a week after the pimple reappeared, I applied the mask and left it on for thirty minutes. Washed my face….nothing. The pimple was still there, the pore was still clogged. I tried the mask a second night and then a third. No change. Later, after the third masking, I woke with a sudden realization: If the Redefine Mask didn’t clear this clogged pore, then I’ve got a bigger problem than a pimple.”

The next day I made an appointment with a dermatologist. A receptionist said it would be a month before any of the doctors could see me. I wasn’t concerned, because at some point that morning, I had once more convinced myself again that I had nothing more than an irritating pimple. So, I waited a month to see the doctor and in the meantime, I kept my face clean; tried the mask a few more times. Bought some of those blackhead strips (just in case).

The pimple changed from light pink to almost red and became nodular; raised. Back to worrying.

During my very first appointment with a dermatologist, the young doctor (was he really old enough to be out of medical school?) performed a biopsy of the spot on my face and said he believed the biopsy would confirm his suspicion of Basal Cell Carcinoma. “Basal Cell Carcinoma isn’t malignant in the way melanoma is malignant,” he said. “However, we do consider it malignant, because left untreated, you will become disfigured. And it could lead to other health issues.” He explained the MOHs procedure a surgeon would use to extract the cancer. He said they “would cut until they got it all”. No…he couldn’t tell me how many stitches or how big the wound would be….that would all depend on how wide and deep the roots of the cancer cell had grown.

“Deeper is better than wide,” he said.
“Can it grow into the bone?” I wanted to know.
“Yes. We don’t want that to happen,” he said. “But if it has, we will get it out. All of it. In that case, or if the cancer has grown wide, reconstructive surgery will be a second step. We have wonderful surgeons on staff who will fix you up good as new”.

Last Monday I had surgery to remove this uninvited, pest of a guest, from my face. I’m glad he’s gone. Here’s the thing….he never should have been there. Had I known to use sunscreen or wear a hat as a teen, this little problem could have been avoided. But my generation had not heard of sunscreen until around the time we were having children of our own. In light of my ignorance of the damage caused from the sun, I probably wouldn’t have used sunscreen anyway. I wasn’t a ‘sun worshiper’, but I tanned easily (only had a few sunburns over the years, one really bad one as a kid) and could stay outside all day with no problem; when I went to the beach or the pool, my tanning oil of choice was Hawaiian Tropic or Johnson’s Baby Oil, neither offered protection from harmful rays. Hats and caps were a nuisance.

Later, I had an hour long commute from my home in Cartersville to the Atlanta airport. And it is there, in my car, that I feel I took on the most damage to my face. My doctor says it was probably from the burn I had as a kid. But when I think of skin cancer, I remember the sickening feel of the sun and heat hitting me in my car on the ride home from work. For years, I was frequently held captive in my vehicle while the hot Atlanta sun kissed the left side of my face. I would attempt to cover my face with my sun visor and my hand, but never sunscreen. Because by then, I had learned I had a sensitivity to sunscreen. No matter the brand I tried, sunscreen made my eyes burn and would irritate the skin around my mouth, nose and eyes until it became raw and red, usually after a single application. (Today, I use Rodan+Fields Reverse Sunscreen without any problems or skin irritations. RF has the only sunscreen products I’ve ever been able to use on my face. I keep a tube in my car, my purse and on my bathroom counter).

The point of this article is to encourage you…men, women, teens and children…to use a good quality sunscreen. Use it every day, regardless of the weather. Make sure it is a broad spectrum, UVA and UVB and is Skin Cancer Foundation approved. (This is important, in the past there has been false advertising surrounding sunscreen products. Finally, new legislation is changing that practice.)

A better quality sunscreen may cost a little more, but you’re worth the cost.

For now, I’m concentrating on healing and future protection. And I’m asking you to take your skin seriously. My doctor said, “If a spot persists longer than three months, have it looked at by a professional”. If it looks like a bug bite or a pimple or a scaly patch of skin, or a mole that grows or changes shape….don’t delay. See a doctor. Don’t tell yourself It’s no big deal. So what if it turns out to be nothing? You are something. You are a big deal. Take ten seconds and apply your sunscreen. Better to be safe than sorry.

Take Care,
Danita

Sunshine, Lollypops and Sunscreen

The summer of 68 I took on a terrible sunburn. I was still a couple of years away from being a decade old, my skin still tender. Up until then, I had never blistered from the sun. I had been born with a complexion slightly tanned, so sunburns were never a worry. I don’t think we knew about sunscreen.

My family had journeyed to St. Augustine in early June, for our yearly family vacation. On the first day of the trip, I spent all morning and early afternoon on the beach. After lunch, I went to the pool. I remember playing Marco Polo with some other kids; reluctant to leave when my mom said it was time for dinner.

I remember waking during the night. My skin hot and raw, the crisp cotton sheets felt like sandpaper on my arms. I was miserable. And I remained miserable all week.

Last month I visited a dermatologist for the first time in my life. I had what I thought was a stubborn clogged pore on my face. Rodan + Fields has a fantastic mask that works wonders on such things. So I used the RF mask, but the pore was still clogged. After applying the mask three days in a row without a hint of success, I knew I needed to see a physician. Because the RF product works.

The dermatologist performed a biopsy and a few days later he called with the results: Basal Cell Carcinoma. Non-malignant skin cancer. He said it was probably from a sunburn I had as a kid. Next month I will have surgery to remove the cancer. And depending on how deep and wide the roots have spread, there could be follow-up, reconstructive surgery. I’m praying this isn’t the case.

So…moms, dads, grandparents….apply the sunscreen to the kiddos. Rodan + Fields has a great, waterproof, sweat-proof sunscreen that doesn’t have to be reapplied every ten minutes. Insist on hats and caps. The children may fuss now, but they’ll thank you when they’re in their fifties.

The photo here was taken the day of the biopsy…after the biopsy. I didn’t want to show the blood and gore, but I wanted you to have an idea of where the spot is located. Prior to the cutting away of skin, the spot really looked like a bug bite or small pimple. Nothing to worry about. But it was. If you have a recurring pimple or red spot that never completely goes away, don’t ignore it. See a physician.

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