Toronto for Skin Cancer Removal

Happy New Year! Cheers to new beginnings and a better year for us all.

My husband (Markus) had extensive Moh’s facial surgery for skin cancer (after nearly a year wait) during the first week of June in 2020 – see this post for the first half of the story. Shortly after surgery, Markus noticed a spot emerge in the location of the new formed skin, very close to where the cancer that had been removed, was. Markus contacted his surgeon about it by email with follow up photos, he recommended to observe it but leave it alone as the skin was still new and forming. Upon a follow up with the local dermatology office about six months after, the Dr offered to spray the (precancerous) spot with a solution however the surgeon said not to as the skin still needed to heal and form. Upon one of his distance consultations, Markus thought for sure the surgeon said that if the spot was still there during his 1 year follow up with him, that he would deal with it there in the office by spraying it. Markus traveled to Vancouver for 1 year follow up in June of 2021, the apt was about 15 mins long, confirmed the healed skin and scar looked good, and that the spot appeared to be precancerous or cancerous, but wouldn’t spray it or remove it then and there, telling Markus to go back to the start of the healthcare line by attending a walk in clinic for a referral to a dermatology office on Vancouver Island. Wait times were said to be about a year. So here we go again. Markus had to wait a year for surgery, while a cancer grew and resulted in major facial surgery, yet cancer grew back almost immediately. The surgeon was quick to point out that it was by no fault of his work, that cancer had remerged right over the surgical site.

In Toronto at the end of September, 2021

With no other options, Markus went to a walk in clinic in late June to get a referral appointment for the spot of concern, was warned again, about long wait times. Over the next couple of months, Markus noticed the spot would begin to fester, like the one before it. It would rise up, retreat and so forth, each time creating a larger and more invasive impact. Markus began taking a medicinal fungi supplement and noticed the spot settled down as it’s an immune system aid. This was promising to buy time but not going to remove the problem. After 3 months, Markus felt concerned and wanted to see about expediting an appointment which required him to go back to the walk in clinic. He first tried to call the clinic about this but then found the Dr he had dealt with previously was no longer at the clinic (left island all together) and he would have to come in person. With no car, Markus walked to the local corner clinic on a Saturday morning and joined a line up before opening, only to find out that the clinic decided to remain closed for the day. Then, a small group carpooled to the next walk in clinic to find a large line formed and was cut off from being seen as late at 8 pm. He knew he was fucked. He called a hotline that recommended him to call the online Dr system. When he called that, he was hung up on before even speaking with a Dr and was met by a bot who told him to go back to the original doctor (you know, the one who no longer works in the area?) and locked him out of the website.

At this point we knew the wait times would take him well over a year to resolve (wait for consultation up to 1 year, biopsy = 3 months, wait time for removal up to another year = 2 years) just look at part one of this story to see how that went. My mother (thanks mom) contacted her local walk in clinic in Toronto who agreed to see Markus virtually and set him up with a Toronto dermatology clinic referral – that appointment was available to him once he traveled to Toronto from Victoria. We booked plane tickets, flew a month later and he had the cancer cut out within days of arriving. The biopsy came back a week later (not 3 month later) confirming it was cancer and that it had all be removed (if not, he was facing another surgery). After 2.5 years, he was finally cleared of skin cancer. The clinic in Toronto said that had he not come to get it removed there, it would have grown resulting in another round of major facial surgery with the wait times in tow.

It’s now been 6 months since his post surgical follow-up and walk in clinic apt referral to a local dermatology office, and no one has called – we plan to wait and see just how long it takes before that call comes in. No one here knows, that he is skin cancer free and it appears that no one cares. Shame on BC healthcare. Many people are quick to assume this is because of COVID. No, this started the year before COVID happened (in 2019). Of course in the meantime the pandemic has been an obstacle course for non-COVID related issues but the management of his skin cancer has been deplorable from the start. If BC healthcare had it their way, he’d be lined up for another round of major facial surgery. This system does not look out for the patient and if you’re not on top of this, you will loose. My suggestion is to leave the province as soon as possible and get help elsewhere. The clinic in Toronto has provided Markus with the assurance that should he need any further assistance, not to hesitate contacting them. The amount of stress this situation has caused both of us is difficult to describe. I cried a lot when it was finally over but we are both still angry and as long as we are living in BC, we fear for our health. It’s good to know there is something out there to help, even if it requires plane tickets. For both our health and sanity, it’s worth its weight in gold. This post is catharsis for me but also to warn others so it doesn’t happen to them.

We are now in the process of trying to move out of BC and after that happens, you will see a major change to this website including a new name and appearance. My husband is currently waiting for a transfer to a new location (many thousands of miles from here), and when that happens I will happily share where we are living.

Reflexology & Inflammation

This week is bringing some good news for Markus! It’s been two weeks since we started the “oil change” (removal of offending omega 6 and increased omega 3) and his skin is changing for the better! First we noticed how soft and plush his feet were during his reflexology session this past weekend. His feet still bare some hard calluses but the sandpaper heels are changing. He also noticed how much softer his hands are and the lines on his face are softening. The course I am taking on inflammation indicated that by day 10 there would be some noticeable differences in the skin and that by day 40, an entire oil change in the body would be complete. We are so thrilled by these changes and is giving us hope. Not only this but the suspicious spot on his left cheek has retreated from a few weeks back when it started to emerge similarly as the cancer on his right cheek. We have continued to feed Markus a cancer fighting diet in combination with directed herbal teas. Markus also had his blood work done and is quoted to be in top physical condition. The doctor said to keep doing what he is doing as it’s working. His knee pains have also resolved now that he has introduced a better supporting shoe.

We did a reflexology session on Saturday afternoon to help bring his body into homeostasis or parasympathetic mode (stress-relief) after a heavy work week as a letter carrier with Canada Post. After a full foot routine, I used the tuning fork to accentuate key stress relieving reflexes connected to the endocrine and nervous system (solar plexus, pituitary, thymus). I also used my multi-reflex tool to relieve tension in the face – specifically the jaw line where we clench due to stress. Reflexology is used to combat stress and pain and Markus swears by it; he receives one treatment a week on weekends. I selected two cards for this weeks session; the Thymus Water Crystal card (a powerful immune defence gland in the endocrine system) in combination with the Chamomile Herbal Tarot card (a powerful immune defence herb). It’s a bit ironic that this card also illustrates a crown (head) impaled by a sword (upcoming surgical removal of cancer on face) symbolically suggesting the herbs role in his immune defence. My Herbal Tarot card deck is proving now to be a very helpful learning tool as it outlines the medicinal uses of many popular herbs. The Water Crystal card is placed against a cup of filtered water for Markus to drink post session. The creator of the cards, Masaru Emoto, believed that the card’s intention will infuse into the water molecular structure as it’s conscious. It’s a nice ritual to include in the session and people seem to appreciate it. The other card is used for intention setting and is read at the end of the session. I pair the session with a relaxing nature video and Markus loves to watch the Italian Dolomites.

Markus wearing his new personal Covid / skin cancer mask by Finawear – locally made Indigenous clothing designer

This week in my course with Pacific Rim College, I learned about different herbs, in particular about Chamomile and it’s significance in fighting inflammation. We are now focusing on reducing Markus’s digestive inflammation (has been dealing with excessive bloating for a long period of time) and are introducing an elimination diet in combination with specific herbal teas into his diet (green tea, chamomile, nettle etc). This week also marks his first week of six, of going gluten free. Markus’s appointment with the dermatologist is on June first and we will have a phone conference about how to proceed with the cancer on his cheek. Markus continues to completely cover up on the job with the exception of a 20 min vitamin D exposure window – this is needed to help fight digestive inflammation in the body. Markus’s nutritional changes have been set in motion for hopeful future cancer prevention. When I started out on this journey, I never could have guessed that my husband would become my biggest case study and challenge. And all this on top of a pandemic.

As for me, I am slowly getting my sleep back now that my stress levels are coming under control. What a roller coaster ride the month of May has been. Soon, we are commencing our case studies again and I cannot wait to get reflexology treatments through one of my colleagues! Bring it on! So far 2020 has brought on unprecedented stress due to too many factors crashing down all at once. Our lives are forever changed.

Cards: Chamomile of Herbal Tarot and Thymus of Water Crystal

Note: I am not a nutritional expert. I am coming at this from a learning perspective to help my husband through a critical time.

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problemReflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.