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 & Heart

Today is Valentine’s Day and this made for a perfect treatment day for my husband, Markus. As some of you may or may not know, he walks up to 30k a day on his job as a letter carrier at Canada Post and reflexology is a necessity for his rest and recovery. I love rubbing his feet with Cherry Rocky Mountain Body Butter, it makes his feet silky and smooth while giving me good traction.

After his foot treatment, I did a chakra sweep with the pendulum as a closing ritual and found his heart chakra to be active (the pendulum made small circles – I recaptured this in the video to the left). I placed a rose quartz on this chakra while reciting some of the characteristics. The heart chakra represents love, healing touch, walking (in the forest), and joyful endeavours. I use the chakra system as a means to reflect on different things in our lives, such as the activities over the past weekend.

Vancouver Island just had a huge winter storm bringing with it tons of snow so yesterday we took a walk in the forest near our home. It is a magical thing to be able to walk out of our home and in the old growth forest. Interestingly, Markus heard the eagles while there and today he picked the eagle card (representing truth, power, karmic transformation) from the Wild Unknown oracle deck. He also picked the ‘Right Brain Hado’ Water Crystal Card; a healing card representing creativity.

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.

Markus is still recovering from skin cancer; in June it will be his 1 year since surgery. You can see in this photo – the scar is still slightly visible but he is no longer in any pain. There is still one spot under observation that emerged over the surgical site and will be taken care of in the spring. Skin cancer sucks and I now dread summer because of this. Although we don’t get as much sun during winter, he still needs to protect himself. We need to observe him often as we learned that both Basal cell carcinoma and Melanoma run in his family. I thought this photo provided a decent visual update on his recovery.

Skin Cancer Update

Markus in Vancouver

We headed over to Vancouver for Markus’s 3 month post surgery check-up on Sept 21. Surgeon was amazed to see the level of recovery and stated that there has been rapid changes showing incredible recovery of upwards to 6 months. He recommended we keep doing, what we are doing. (This strategy has been a combination of careful consistent coverage of the scar, diet and facial therapy combined with home-mixed jojoba / lavender oil. Markus uses Dien Chan tools and techniques about twice a week to help irrigate and level out the scar.)

There is concern about a new spot that has emerged overtop of the newly formed cheek on the left cheek. The surgeon observed the new spot but says it’s too early to diagnose as the skin is still forming and healing from surgery. It is suspected to be the same that emerged on the left side of his face; a precancerous spot. He is to go to a local dermatologist should he need any intermediate attention for this. We will return at the end of May of 2021 for a 1 year post surgery update where the surgeon will be able to diagnose the spot better as the skin will have healed. At that point, that spot can be treated, like the one on the right side. Because the right side was sprayed by a local dermatologist office, he recommended following up with them to observe that progress.

(Left image: bulging of cheek swelling, right image: irritation, Sept 29 at 11 pm)

Markus followed up with the local dermatologist office on Monday Sept 28 who quickly examined his right cheek and cleared him of precancer on the right side since receiving the treatment spray. He then proceeded to harshly press (with long finger nails) into Markus’s freshly recovering cheek and scar area unnecessarily. Markus pulled back and verbalized pain during the session but the Dr proceeded anyways. Markus is now on day 3 of recovering from pain, swelling and redness to this area after this visit. Markus feels as though he has been punched in the face and it’s been affecting his sleep and is bothersome at work. Markus has consulted the surgeon with photos, to make sure no long term damage was done. We hope this is not the case but either way this is completely unacceptable especially to someone who is currently in the healing process from such major facial trauma.

As this office has shut down, Markus is now left trying to locate a doctor who can over see his situation. Markus went in to pick up his medical records with the local office and found falsified information on his records. Markus will be filing an official complaint. Read the timeline of events to see full scope of problems.

This has been a stressful, frightening and frustrating process for us both.

Reflexology Presurgery

This weekend, I carried out a reflexology case study session for my husband, Markus, this one being the last before his Mohs (skin cancer) surgery on Tuesday. A miracle happened two days ago; he got the call on Friday to go in for Tuesday as there was a cancellation. His original surgery was scheduled for the end of October and we have been putting pressure on the medical system to see if there was a way to get him in sooner, but we were loosing hope. We are quite relieved and very grateful as the wait has been a long one (a year now). We leave to Vancouver on Monday and return home on Wednesday.

Markus is tired from his job (letter carrier) during the pandemic and since we didn’t do a session last weekend, it was overdue. He has noticed however an increase in energy on the job due to his new (gluten free) diet. I noticed something interesting during today’s session; the large bunion on his left foot is significantly smaller! His feet have been surprising us lately! There have been many changes over the past weeks and months from new shoes to diet changes so I am guessing the combination of footwear correction and inflammation reduction have helped the bunion to shrink. The lifestyle and diet changes implemented in May continue to make significant changes in Markus’s well-being and have given us hope. I have started to adopt some of these changes into my own life as well. We are now both gluten-free.

After a full foot reflexology routine, I accentuated the stress-relief reflexes (solar plexus and pituitary) on the foot with the tuning fork. Then, we spent time working on facial reflexology. I have introduced myself to Dien Chan, a unique facial reflexology system founded in Vietnam by acupuncturist and professor Bùi Quôc Châu and further adopted and developed in Spain and Italy. These techniques are used to release tension in the face, for beauty and also health benefits. Oh and it also feels good! I have acquired a few additional tools and have been exploring some new techniques. Since I have been experimenting on my own face, I have noticed a change in my skin and a few of the deeper character lines have receded a bit. Today Markus explored using some of the tools on his own face. After his surgery and once he is healed, he will also be engaging in Dien Chan regularly. Dien Chan is also said to be helpful for healing surgical scars. It will be interesting to see how his face responds since having dealt with skin cancer. In the future, I hope to get certified and offer this modality along side of the foot reflexology. But in the meantime, we will experiment as we are the perfect guinea pigs. Stay tuned for those updates.

Markus appeared very sleepy during the session and expressed some excitement and nervousness around the surgery, but an hour later felt energized. He commented as usual about how amazing his feet felt after the session. Reflexology is effective for reducing the stress of surgery. I will approach carefully afterwards. You can find peer reviewed articles on Google Scholar about this.

Although his (Basal Carcinoma) cancer isn’t fatal (at this stage or that we know of), once we saw it starting to spread back in April – we knew we were in trouble as we realized this wasn’t an isolated incident. Thankfully with the abrupt diet and lifestyle changes, things have helped to calm some inflammation. None the less it has been incredibly scary as we felt so out of control – this in combination with the pandemic have made it a very trying time. I do feel optimistic that we are now in the home stretch.

Markus picked the Wolf (reminds me of the wolf who visited our village in the mountains of Italy last year) card and I added in the Healing Archetype card from the Wild Unknown card series (Kim Krans). Finally we used the Healing card from the Water Crystal (Masaru Emoto) deck for intentionally inspiring his cup of water. This is a special session, so I decided to combine an additional card (Healing) for guidance and good luck.

Markus selected the Italian Dolomite mountain footage for his ambience.

I will close with this new music video from Depeche Mode : Fragile Tension

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.