Trajet: Drivers, travelling in Morocco, and the road to Marrakesh

couper la parole

Door Knocker blue door france (c) Kristin Espinasse
In case you were wondering, this photo has nothing to do with anything. I was just scrambling to find a picture, in my photo archives, for today's post! (This door-knocker picture was taken in Orange, where today's story takes place...) Note: the next edition will go out on Monday.... 

couper la parole (koo pay lah pah rhohl)

    : to interrupt a person who is speaking

 Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read these words:
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Excusez-moi, je vous ai coupé la parole.
Excuse me, I interrupted you. 

A Day in a French Life... Kristin Espinasse

Guts, Madame!

I left the surgeon's office feeling more uncertain than ever. Perhaps this doubt had to do with a certain certainty: I had gone into the consultation with a plan of my own and, almost as soon as the doctor began talking, I cut him off. How stupid: je lui ai coupé la parole!

And we had been off to such a good start! I had nodded bonjour as I watched the white-smocked chirurgien walk across the office, dossier en main, and take his place behind a massive bureau. True, I was a little surprised by his youth--and it brought me back to the realization that middle age has indeed hit when doctors and surgeons begin looking younger than you! (and when, in fact, they are younger than you!)

"Bonjour, Madame. Que puis-je faire pour vous?" the doctor greeted me. I noticed his smooth skin--it had that "healthy glow".

In answer to the doctor's question, I pointed to the growth on my forehead and tried to remember the translation for the diagnosis given by my dermatologist: "J'ai un basil.. baso... basilo.... Uh, c'est un carcinome."

"How long have you had this?" he questioned, his eyes crossing as they narrowed onto the bump in the center of my forehead.
"About a year... I think."

"...And there's another on my nose..." I pointed to the second growth, the one my dermato said we'd keep our eyes on--for its location made it a little more complicated to remove. 

"I see..." the doctor nodded his head.

"How will you remove these?" I asked, filling in the silence that followed. "That is, do you think the second one should be taken out?"  

The doctor began to explain that he would remove the first one by excision.

"Oui, oui..." I chimed in, remembering my crash course on basal cell carcinoma (I'd surfed the net, in a frenzy). Positively brimming with knowledge I informed the doctor: "You'll take out a bit of skin... examine it... and take out some more--until all the bad cells are removed. C'est ça?"



When I learned that the growth would be removed all in one go, I became suspicious. Wasn't there a better, less intrusive, way? "Have you heard of Mohs?" I questioned. "You know, la chirurgie de Mohs?"

The doctor confirmed that he was familiar with it, had even used it in the past, but that he no longer practiced the "little by little" method; instead, a large section of skin would be excised. To illustrate this, he took out a piece of paper and drew an imperfect circle (representing the growth). Next, he drew an imperfect rectangle around that... and filled in the area between the circle and rectangle with dots. The dots represented traces of bad cells, or how far the carcinoma might have traveled.

I thought about the size of the excision. "But what about scars?"

"There will be scars, Madame!" the doctor's response was abrupt, and I sensed that my tendency to worry-obsess was beginning to show. For a moment, I regretted the formal atmosphere... how much more at ease I might be, if we were, say, at a dinner party. I might be seated next to the surgeon, who would have had, ideally, "one too many" or "un de trop". Formalities aside, I might then pour out my obsessional heart: asking, with abandon, every absurd question currently plaguing me. What's more, the surgeon, instead of responding so abruptly, might loosen his tie and answer along these lines: "Don't worry about the scars, babe, I'll take care of them!" On second thought, this scenario was even less comforting than the first...

"But can you make little scars?" I repeated, returning to the present moment.

With this, the doctor became vague, answering my question with a fact: "I do not usually operate for skin cancer on people your age. My patients are much older." (I gathered that older people did not mind the scars?...) I remembered all of the elderly patients whom I sat next to in the salle d'attente (I had passed the time trying to guess their ailments, deciding that the fair-skinned woman across from me might have a carcinoma, that the full-bellied man beside me was there for a digestive difficulty, and the little ladies with the plastered hair to my right... well I hadn't gotten yet to their diagnosis... when the doctor called on me. But the truth was the truth: none of them had put on mascara that morning, which led me to suspect that a scar on the forehead wouldn't upset their aesthetic universe.)

Speaking of the universe of aesthetics, my next question centered on the growth on the side of my nose. 

The doctor's eyes began to cross, once again, as they narrowed in on my nose. He nodded his conclusion: it was a delicate area and there would be risks. The doctor illustrated this by placing his finger at the tip of his nose... and pushing it up. I sat staring into his nasal passage. 

"Stitches might pull at the skin, causing the tip of the nose to lift--like this!" he warned. "I would have to leave part of the wound open (to heal on its own), to prevent this."

I studied the doctor's momentarily disfigured nose. Mine might be more permanent! That is when the words "plastic surgeon" appeared in my mind's eye. This brought me to my next question, more of a confirmation:

"But you are a "chirurgien digestif", n'est-ce pas? What exactly is a digestif surgeon?"

With that, the young doctor patted his stomach, and spoke, for the first time, in English: "Guts, Madame!"

So "guts", or the digestive tract, was his specialty...

"Oui, je vois..." And I did understand, clearly--though I was more disillusioned than ever. Why would a guts surgeon work on my gueule, or face?

I regretted the direction in which my thoughts were headed. And I wished I hadn't talked so much (I'm afraid all that "education" I got on the internet was no help with the current consultation). And, though the doctor's words did not inspire confidence--due, in part, to my own fixed mindset!--I did take away some very good advice... even if I've taken it out of context... yes, in the murky months to come, in which I'll need to decide on a course of treatment, I would do well to listen to the doctor's words: Guts, Madame! 

Courage, indeed.


Post Note: last night I went back to my internet searching and learned that the doctors proposed method ("standard surgical excision") is, in fact, the "preferred method" (before Moh's). I felt a little better, and will now think about going back for surgery. Meantime, it won't hurt to have another consultation with another doctor. En avant! Onward march!

Le Coin Commentaires

Corrections, comments, and stories of your own are welcome here, in the comments box.

Related story: "Peau": about my visit to the French dermatologist.


Selected French Vocabulary

je lui ai coupé la parole = I cut him off (in speech)

bonjour = hello

le chirurgien, la chirurgienne = surgeon

le dossier en main = file in hand

que puisse-je faire pour vous? = how can I help you?

dermato (dermatologue) = dermatologist

la salle d'attente = the waiting room

Capture plein écran 16052011 092531

The classic Bescherelle, the complete guide to French verb conjugation. Read the five-star reviews, and order, here.


A scene from the town of Faucon, not far from Vaison la Romaine. Photo taken two years ago... during a photo périple. Read about another photo journey here, in an inspiring stroll I took through the town of Rochegude. Click here to read the post "SAISIR".

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Bill Schubart

Il y a une annee peut etre,vous avez presente une parole qui decrivait l'estomac pendante de votre chien (ouo chat) en francais. Je cherche cette parole en francais. On dirait "a pouch" en anglais.Merci.Bill

Marijcke Jongbloed

First of all I want to say how much I enjoy your photos and stories. We like the same things in photography!
As for the present topic: I am a medical doctor (Dutch), retired in France. I think you SHOULD see a plastic surgeon for any surgery on your face. The excision should be large enough to encompass any wayward cancer cells, as the digestive surgeon explained to you. The scar correction might have to be done in follow-up surgery. I am sure a plastic surgeon can prevent a snub nose being the final result! The most important thing at the moment is to get rid of the bad cells.

Bruce T. Paddock

I was going to say exactly what Dr. Jongbloed said (even though I'm far less qualified to do so).

Also, assuming you were as put off by this stomach surgeon as I was, there's something to be said for choosing a doctor you're comfortable with. Surgery is stressful enough without the doctor making you more stressed.

Christine Dashper

Sending you lots of positive thoughts Kristin, in your search for the right solution. Which I'm sure you will find.

all the best

Rina Rao.

Do go in for a second opnion Kristin.
Take care.

Colette File

Dear Krintin,

My husband has this procedure done at least every six months. The growths show up anywhere and everywhere on his body, many times on his face and neck. The scars are barely visible. Try to keep in mind that what is most important is inside you, not at the surface of your skin. Your health is your most precious possession. Good luck.


Betty Gleason

Darling Kristie,
This is something that needs to be taken care of right now! I know through family experience that there are 2 types of plastic surgeons, the cosmetic & the medically necessary. Is there a teaching hospital near you? That would be your best bet to find the type of surgeon you are seeking.
My heart & soul are with you.

Bill in St. Paul

I agree with the others, Kristin, get a second opinion by a plastic surgeon. When I had my melanoma removed from my back, it was by the "preferred method" and resulted in the bad cells all being in situ, plus what's a scar on the back - no big deal. As Dr. Jongbloed said, you want the excision to be large enough to get all the cells with one cutting. Good luck, we're all thinking about you.


Dear Kristin,

Absolutely, please heed the advice above, and find a specialist who deals routinely with dermatological cancers and either is or works with a plastic surgeon. Run away from the "gut surgeon," he's not for you! Once you are in the right hands, all will be well.

Thank you for bringing your always wonderful photos of France, and your always welcome darling dog photos, into my inbox to brighten my life. Best wishes for this challenge.

Kary VanAllen, M.D.


I am also going to encourage you to seek a specialist. I am a physician and would definitely go to a Plastic Surgeon for any work on my face.

Good luck,


Jane Le Maux


I had my carcinoma excised about 6 or 8 weeks ago by a really excellent plastic surgeon in Perigueux. The cut (under one eye) was much larger than I had originally envisaged (about 1.5 - 2 inches) (I did leave it for about 5 years) and ended up with 18 microscopic stitches - and frankly nobody ever sees the scar now - it was pretty unnoticeable after 4 weeks. The stitches fell out by themselves. On the same day as I had my operation my daughter had her broken ankle pinned and plated in the UK - the scars are much more noticeable - homeward bounders - fine on your ankle - but not on your face. I can thoroughly recommend the guy I saw - so definitely worth seeing a specialist facial plastics surgeon.


Cher Kristin, I'm not a doctor but I agree, Plastic Surgeon for anything with your face. Next week, I'll have something removed from my face and I'm reading your entries and connecting with you. Big hugs.

Ophelia in Nashville

Kristin -- We are all obviously feeling the same way. So glad you are going to get a second opinion from a plastic surgeon. We will all have you in our thoughts and know you will be fine. Bon courage. You are much loved.


My late husband, a reconstructive plastic surgeon, would have done exactly what your surgeon proposes. He was opposed to the Moh's approach because he said cutting into cancerous lesions is potentially dangerous --- he advocated cutting the lesion out cleanly with a margin of normal tissue.

He was also not a fan of having dermatologists mess around with skin cancers, in large part because they were dedicated fans of Moh's chemosurgery. I suspect he would have been even more perplexed at a gastric surgeon cutting into someone's face.

I used to see photographs of some of the reconstructions and scar revisions Paul did on people whose previous surgeons hadn't been as skilled, and as a result, I would never have anyone but a plastic surgeon with a specialty in head and neck touch anything on my face. If I were you I'd try and find one of those.


P.S. Another thing I learned in my time with Paul is that wounds on the face tend to heal well because there is a good blood supply to the face. Certainly the cut I got to my face when I was in a car accident in France and slammed into a windshield was invisible two or three years later.

Another P.S. Plastic surgeons do nicer stitching than other surgeons!

Lisa @ Tarte du Jour

I'm with the rest of the gang.... a vote for visiting a plastic surgeon! My sister, had a similar surgery on her back. And while the the cells were all successfully removed she was left with a ugly scar which could have prevented if she had used a plastic surgeon. Her only choice now is live with the scar or get a repeat surgery by a plastic surgeon. She chose to live with the scar due to its location on her back. Your dear face is so beautiful... as beautiful as your soul. It's definitely worth a visit to the plastic surgeon!


Let me add my vote to everyone else's: Plastic Surgeon!

That's what I hear from people I know who have had this procedure.


Kristin, you MUST see a plastic surgeon. The teaching hospital suggestion is excellent. A friend had the same carcinoma on her forehead. The surgeon did it using the Mohs technique and had to remove a VERY large area of skin--but he was able to close the incision bringing it up into her hairline. You can NOT even see it. Please, please get an appointment with the plastic surgeon.

Kathryn C. Johnson (Kate)

Kristin, I had the Mohs surgery, and subsequent cosmetic surgical repair (using a small graft from near my collarbone, on my nose last January. You most certainly should seek another surgeon with this type of experience for the cancer on your nose! Even with the most skilled surgeon, the patient bears a lot of responsibility to massage the area many times a day, stretching out the graft, which does tend to pull and tighten. Because the cancer on your forehead is so prominent, you might also talk to a cosmetic surgical specialist about grafting in that area. I don't know, it might make the removal more obvious, but it could also fill in the "dent" that removal would cause. Anyway, just know that in the case of Mohs surgery here in Minnesota, there are two surgeons involved: one who removes the cancerous tissue and studies it to be sure that all cells are "clear" and one who does the cosmetic restoration. You are young (yes, YOUNG!) and beautiful, and you deserve the best that today's medicine can give you! Best of luck, my dear. I'll be reading with great interest!

Amy Kortuem

Oh goodness, Kristin. Do take care. You've got some great advice from wise, informed people here. I'll keep you in mind when I'm playing my harp over the next few days in hopes that those healing vibrations will reach you in France!

Mary Olson

PLASTIC SURGEON. I have had cancer removed from my nose and upper lip and you can not even detect it!


Ditto for the advice to see a plastic surgeon. Going to a university hospital is good because they usually train using the latest but best techniques. I live in Pittsburgh and have access to the best but I always check out things on the internet and ask my medical friends. I have several nurses as friends and I ask them who they would use.
Wish you were in the USA to get it done.
I am keeping you in my prayers. Don't delay too much.


I just love the photos you post. You really have an eye for a good setting. I try to remember to carry a camera with me all the time now as you have really inspired me. I do keep one in my car, so I am progressing.

I took a photography class in high school and just loved it. Funny how we stop doing the things we like to do as we become busier/older.

sue kelly

My husband has had carcinoma removed by dermatologists and by plastic surgeons using the MOHS technique. The dermotologist-removed place scarred, but the mohs place is invisible; in fact, they took out some wrinkles, too!


Good luck Kristin! What a coincidence that I too went to a dermatologist for a mole removal, the same thoughts came to my head when I saw a much younger doctor, I wanted to ask him to return and send an older version of himself who knew that appearances were important! Sending you love! xo


Get your second opinion from a plastic surgeon, please! You'll want to go into the surgery without the nagging doubts you clearly still have about the chirurgien digestif.


Sweetest Kristin, I must ditto the plastic surgeon second opinion idea....they do miracles with their perfect little tiny stitches. And you are definitely worth the extra effort and care. Mary

edith schmidt


I too am fair skinned and had to have a skin cancer removed from the side of my nose about 6 years ago. I did have plastic surgery the same day as the "bump" was removed. I have a scar but It's not that noticeable and the doctor showed me how to treat it. I've also got a rather small divot on my upper arm, but it looks like a chickenpox scar. I think I'm more aware of them than anyone else, but they do tend to fade so take heart.A second opinion is certainly une bonne idee.

Edie from Savannah


Reading with an ever-increasing tightness in my throat as my nostrils are both invaded with basal cell carcinomas and at the moment covered by a mass of scabbing due to a cream my German dermatologist has prescribed. It burns off the bad cells.....BUT she said if that didn't work deep enough (and no one here on your blog has talked about this cream!!!) the areas might have to be removed. So glad to read all this advice here but I'm scared!

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristin, I'm certain that you will seek a facial plastic surgeon after reading all of the sincere advice from your devoted readers. I would only add that if you happen to go to a large teaching facility, do be certain exactly which surgeon will be doing the procedure for you. In this setting, you could be turned over to an intern or a resident with little expertise. I speak from two experiences at the University of Pennsylvania involving back surgery. My very best wishes...bises...Cynthia

Susan Widmayer

Darling Kristin, go to the VERY BEST plastic surgeon you can find, it's all in the aesthetics and the tiny stitches after the bad stuff is removed. The legacy of a California childhood means that my husband had the BCC (Basil Cell Carcenoma) on the tip of his nose butchered by a very bad surgeon, but the BCC on his eyelid was done beautifully with a tiny skin graft by a good surgeon with skilled hands. Ask, talk, get referrals. After the surgery, a good doctor will recommend an anti-scar cream that you rub in daily. My heart and prayers are with you as you walk this thorny path. All will be well.


Hi Kristin, I don't like the attitude of this doctor who said, Of course there will be scars, without offering any way of removing them, mitigating them, or even saying, sorry, there's nothing anyone can do about that.

You need to find out if the scars can be addressed. Why not have another talk with your primary, tell him what happened, ask if the scar issue can be addressed, maybe, as people here suggest, by a plastic surgeon.

My husband has 2 basel cell carcinomas removed from his face. One left a big dent, and the other has a scar (but it's only been there for a few weeks so far.) I wouldn't want this outcome at all. There has to be a better way.

Marianne Rankin

The above advice is excellent.

Mainly - don't delay! Time is on your side, so don't put off having these growths removed.

Larry Pflughoeft

Ditto on the advice to only use a plastic surgeon.
I had a basil cell carcinoma removed from my face about 10 years ago by a dermatologist and have regretted it ever since then due to the significant scarring.
An acquaintance had a facial one removed by a plastic surgeon and it left no visible evidence.


Dear Kristin, I concur with the advice to find a cosmetic surgeon, someone who is experienced in this work. My mother had a carcinoma on her forehead removed by a cosmetic surgeon ... there is a tiny weeny scar ... only visible if you peer closely in the right light. One upside was that the surgeon removed some wrinkles from her forehead in the process.
Good luck, take care & stay healthy


All good advice as I sent in an email.

Judy Feldman

Kristin, I wanted say something to you before you went to the "gut" doctor. Yikes! Definitely go to a plastic surgeon! I have several friends who have had the same type of carcinoma on their faces, and after removal by a plastic surgeon, you can't see anything. Surtout, don't worry! All will be fine.



Have recently been through this issue with a carcinoma on my leg, not my face, I was specifically told by the regular surgeon that the procedure needed to be handled by a plastic surgeon. So definitely do not consider anything but the expert who can do the best for you and whose work leaves the smallest scar possible.

Nancy L.

I know you have had LOTs of advice on this, but I concur with those saying "See a Platic Surgeon". My friend, who I mentioned to you in an email has had several of these removed from her face, has always gone to the plastic surgeon for her surgery. It just makes sense, so although I have no personal experience and am not a plastic surgeon, I agree with the others. Go the way of plastic surgeon. Hugs to you!

Susan Strick

Rushed to post a comment after reading your post and found others had covered almost everything I wanted to say, except one tiny thing:
Surgeons (well,docs in general) have to present us with a picture that includes the unlikely less-than-ideal possibilities, and things end up sounding very scary as a result. BUT there is every reason to expect NO PROBLEMS will occur and with a doctor whose skill you have faith in and, importantly as well, your own body's excellent healing ability, you will experience a lovely success.

This was my experience with breast cancer a year ago, 2 surgeries, radiation, etc.

Sending you love and support, along with so many ....

Fred Caswell

Ma chere amie, Kristi,

Had a "complete" skin check by a Physician Assistant, one of a group practicing dermatology and plastic surgery. After freezing 6 or 7 precancer areas, no cancers were discovered and his last words were -- "Come back and see me in 6 months" -- surprised?!

I am so very sorry for what you are going through! I went for second opinions re both my aortic aneurism and back problem and am so glad I did. Get the best chirurgien you can -- one with a great deal of skill gained from doing such surgery successfully many, many times along with the knowledge. Knowing how to play a piano won't give anyone skill -- only practice, practice, & more practice.

Any unavoidable scarring will never destroy your beauty, both inner & outer. Toujours!

Jan in Colorado

Those of us who live or were brought up in sunny climes do have to contend with skin cancers. This is especially true of those of us who were raised in a time when they hadn't even heard of suncreen! A little over three months ago,I had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from my nose by a plastic surgeon who specializes in reconstructive surgery (people who have been in accidents, not people seeking cosmetic surgery). He had some pretty ugly "before" pictures to show me and the "afters" were significant improvements. I went into the surgery with great confidence in my surgeon, as you need to do. I healed quickly and while the dent is still filling in, it's already something that is not visible with a little bit of makeup and certainly something I can live with. The surgery itself was also a very positive experience. I felt royally spoiled by the surgery center staff and even wrote a letter of appreciation afterward. With the right doctor, it doesn't have to be an ordeal! My dermatologist recommended a plastic surgeon and I'm so glad he did after reading other "Coin Commentaires" contributions. I thought perhaps it was overkill--perhaps not! Find a doctor you can have great confidence in--I don't think that would be a gastric surgeon! Bon courage et bonne chance!

Candice Lichtenfels

Ma chere Kristin,
I just retired from the UNM Cancer Center where I worked with our state's premier MOHS expert dermatologist. More importantly, I have just been his patient for a Nodular basal cell carcinoma on my lower eyelid -- a very precarious location. After he excised the microscopic layers of tissue w/ bad cells, I went to an oculo-plastic surgeon who did the reconstruction. It is still healing but looks excellent already. My husband suggests you come here to our doctors!

Ecoutez, Kristin, c'est tres important que vous choissisez les meilleurs medecins, les specialistes! D'abord, dermatologue qui fait MOHS, ensuite chirugien plastique ou oculo-plastique.

Bonne chance -- heureusement ce n'est qu'un carcinome "basal".
Amities, Candice


When I had an excision on my right cheek many years ago for basal cell carcinoma my doctor told me to use Mederma (this was before it was over the counter in the US). It worked really well and nobody notices the scar on my cheek. I have also been told that I was very young for this kind of skin cancer and when I asked why I got it, my doctor said it was caused by chronic over-exposure to the sun.

Jill in Sydney

See a plastic surgeon. I had some moles removed years ago. The general surgeon I saw first told me there would be large scars. I was only 20 so I freaked out. Went to a plastic surgeon - no scars and 35 years later I can't even remember where those moles were.

Mary Catherine Pace

I was going to say that you should definitely see a plastic surgeon, but I see all your readers have covered that advice very well. I have had two very traumatic surgeries on basal cell carcinomas--one on my cheekbone, and one very close to my eye, on the side of the bridge of my nose. The first doctor I was referred to by my dermatologist, a specialist, scared me to death, telling me I would be badly scarred by the surgery. I went to a plastic surgeon, who told me, although it was serious, and would leave some scarring, it was actually quite routine for him, and eventually the scars would fade and look natural. I went with the confident plastic surgeon who did a regular excision. He did a great job, and I was far less traumatized by trusting the surgeon. Today, the scar is hardly visible. The cheekbone surgery was a Moh's surgeon, who also did excellent work. Just don't choose a doctor who makes you nervous.


Kristin! I told you not to google!! :-)
I detect a little wry humour threaded through your post even though it is of a scary issue. Love the image of the doctor going cross-eyed as he is homing in on your forehead! LOL!! Hope the wind changes!
Everyone here are quite right in that you need to be able to trust that your surgeon will be doing his best for you and you are definitely not being silly.
I chose a plastic surgeon over the dermatologist even though both had experience in removing facial BCC's largely because of better communication with the plastic surgeon about what he was trying to achieve and the thought in the back of my mind that his "sewing skills" may be more practiced due to the nature of his job. My surgeon, even though he had Mohs training, did a regular excision. Only a week and a half out of surgery and I am feeling very happy with the result so far. I have instructions of what to do over the next couple of months that will reduce any potential scarring that I intend to follow to a "T" (what does "T" stand for?) I am also fine with a little faint scar if that is the case as that is a little of what life is about....all of us have our little stories! My mother fell into a lions cage at the zoo when she was three and has two little scars on the side of her face to this day!
You will be fine....choose someone you are happy with and you will not have regrets! xoxo

matt mahon

Dear Kristen, I rea with horror that the doctor did not suggest MOHS surgery for cancerous or preceancerous areas on your head and face.
I have been bothered by many areas that have to be treated, I go to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and they do incredible work, I've had my forehead on both sides, my cheek, more recently my nose and the last one was top of my lip.
IN all these surgeries only the merest of a mark is left to show faintly. The MOHS is a step by step procedure going only as deep as necessary to remove the infected cells.
I don't know if the French doctors have the same procedures that the doctors over here use, but I think you should se a Dermatologist Surgeon and have this treatment done the best available way. If you would like to ask me something, please feel free. Oh, better. We aregoing to our apartement in Menton from 5Oct to 20Oct and we are not too far from you. I would love to visit your vineyard and meet the family.
Thanks, Matt Mahon
E-mail at mpmahon1@live .com


Halt! Do NOT go to any surgeon, but the best plastic surgeon in a large city. There must be plenty in Nice, Marseille, etc. Whatever is close to you. I have had multiple facial cancers & pre-cancers removed. And the one on my nose was removed by a dermatologist & naturellement left a scar. The rest were removed by a plastic surgeon--no scars!!!! I can not emphasize this enough.. Please do not let just any surgeon work on your face. It's right out there in front of everyone. And you are too pretty & young to live with lifelong scars on your face. ALSO, you have got to put heavy duty sunscreen on before you go out in the sun, every day. I also am fair & blond, so I know what I am talking about..

Kay Cotner

Chere Kristin:
I swear.........French MDs....really do get straight As in the course on being reassuring and comforting w/ their bedside manners. It's good that you've been in France quite a while so that you can properly "digest" your visit......& even find humor.
If I may weigh in w/ the others: you don't feel comfortable w/ him....2nd opinion w/ a plastic surgeon seems a great idea.
Is there anyone whom you know who has had a similar need so they could recommend someone to you?
You will be fine.......truly.

Cappy Warner+

Dear Kristin
I want to add my name to the list of those people urging you to get the best care thru a dermatologist and plastic surgeon. And from now on, please wear sunscreen. In my youth I spent countless hours over many summers trying to get a tan - I never got a wonderful tan but I did/do get a lot of basal cell cancers and pre-basal cell cancers removed from my face, chest, legs, and back. It's a gift that keeps on giving. My husband and I go twice a year to see the dermatologist who also zaps what he calls my maturity spots which we all know are age spots. :-)

Betty Bailey

You have received good advice here, Kristen, and you should fare well! You will still be your lovely self!

Susan Carter

Although it's been said already, please see a plastic surgeon for any facial surgery. My sister has had several basil cell carcinomas removed by Mohs and they are barely visable - one very large on her face. I just had one removed on my back and they had to go back a second time as the edges weren't clear after the first, but the scar there won't show as backless dresses are long behind me.


Your story reminds me of my own past experience with a couple of growth on my face. I was in Paris and I went to a dermatologue I found in the Bottin. He told me not to worry and charged me FF150. But my French propriétaire later told me to seek second opinion with her dermatologue. Her Dr removed one by excision and there is no scar. She said the other one seems normal since it is there for a long time. I don't know if she "pitied" me for being charged by the other Dr for having nothing done, her fee was cheaper. Anyway, Kristin, you should seek second opinion. Et bon courage.
A propos, si je ne me suis pas trompée, on dit "que puis-je faire pour vous" au lieu de "que puisse-je faire?"

Patience Tekulsky in L.A.

Kristen this is not a funny matter. Tomorrow I am going to Jules Stein Eye Hospital in L.A, to have a melanoma removed from my left cheek that involes the lower eyelid. This is not my first rodeo!!. I have had skin grafts on my nostrils and a plastic surgeon who reconstructed my cheek after the dermatologist took off the cancer with Moh surgery. Yes there are experts in the field and you want the Best!! Please, a visit to a city with a top of the line facilities. Our thoughts and good vibes are with you.

Jennifer in OR

PRAYERS for you, dear Kristin! All wonderful advice here for you, what a blessing.

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

Nothing to add because I concur with all the previous posts. I love your ending -- Guts, Madame! -- because that's what surgery takes. I know how nervous you feel because I'm getting ready to have surgery on my neck. I try to worry only about the scar and how long it will be because it's much worse to worry about all the other issues connected with having surgery or continuing without the surgery. But choose a doctor that makes you feel comfortable even while he tells you the whole truth. Then trust.

Gayle Markow

Adding to the chorus!! I've had four basil cell cancers, two on one side of my nose, one on the other, and one on my arm (grew up in Phoenix too. Too much sun!) DEFINITELY go to a specialist. I had MOHS twice. You definitely want someone who's had a LOTof experience working on the face. Good luck! and love, Gayle

Tim Averill

Dear Kristin,
I am preaching to the choir here, but I have had 4 MOHS surgeries with Dr, Jessica Fewkes here at Massachusetts General Hospital and you would never be able to tell where they were, even though they are around my nose and upper lips (very tight locations). MOHS allowed Dr. Fewkes to take only what was needed and made the recovery quick and eliminated scarring. Good luck whatever you decide!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
I'm thinking about you and hope you get a second opinion. It seems like a plastic surgeon should be involved in the process.
Take care!


Hi Kristin,
I hope these spots are not serious and please don't wait too long to have something done. My brother did and had to have reconstructive surgery in addition to the removal. I see that many people feel as concerned about you as I am. I have never had to look at so many responses to your posts than the two you have written about your carcinoma.
In the second picture in Faucon, I noticed the curtains looked like they were in the process of being "made". Is that weaving or crochet? or something else?
Wishing you the best,

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

I do believe you’ll find more prudent and caring advice in the comments section of your blog than any internet search could ever produce! Prayers and blessings to your healing!

Sharon Sakson

I have also been through surgery for skin cancer, but mine was the even more dangerous kind, melanoma. The doctor took out a pea-sized section of the skin of my cheek right next to my nose, just below the corner of my eye. After the lab examined the section, the doctor called me to come back immediately because under the mircroscope, they realized the cut had not taken out the EDGE of every cancer cell. So I went back and the area of the cut was expanded. That was 6 years ago and the melanoma has not come back, which is wonderful as they do come back in 60% of the cases. KRISTIN, SKIN CANCER KILLS. You must have the surgery, but as other suggested, go ONLY to a specialist -- not to a general surgeon. A specialist will know things a generalist will not.
My scar was white for awhile and quickly blended in to my skin. People cannot see it now unless they come within an inch of my face. You will still be beautiful with a little scar of life on your face, but we cannot lose you!
(In my book, Paws & Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs, I investigate the use of canines to discover a recurring skin cancer before a doctor or lab sample can find it. Fascinating.)
Sharon Sakson

Frank Spenc

Looks like lots of good advice. I am just adding my two cents for coincidence sake. I had a pea sized squamous cell carinoma removed from the back of my hand 10 days before we left for Paris! I know its not the face but it has healed very well and gave me the opportunity to exercise my french to seek out some sunscreen at la pharmacie!

Pat Cargill

K, just to say my thoughts are w/you and I am sure you will find the right person for this surgery. Love, Pat

junegasrel tibbetts

I thank you so much for being here for all of us.I hope somehow we also can "support" your needs now- if even in this silent way.
I hope nothing but the best in the outcome of what you are going thru.(here's a long distance hug).
My parents were French but came to USA after WW2- I never learned French and now at age 52 feel if nothing more I need to learn alittle so I can one day search for my parents remaining families and be accepted finally by them. It is my only dream in life. To speak and be spoken to and understood.

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