Posts Tagged ‘Actinic Keratosis’

Actinic Keratosis – Part III

To read….. Actinic Keratosis Part I (Days 1-15) and Part II. (Days 16-18).


This is the final post on this series……

Day 21 (Three weeks): It is now 1 week since he stopped the Fluorouracil Cream treatment and today he felt really good.  Each day his face is looking better.  He still has a few areas that are  peeling but all the angry redness is gone. His face is still red but it looks more like he just got a good dose of sun.  He there are also a few sore spots but they are not bad.  The sorest areas are on the top of  his forehead just below the hair line and over the cheek bones. The burning sensation is gone. He put lotion on this morning but did not reapply during the day. He was also able to use sunscreen today.



He has a few little “whiteish” spots (two above his left eye and one above his left ear)  and “darker” spots (at the edge of his right eye, in front of his ear and on his cheek). It will be interesting to see what happens to them.

Day 24:  Today he was comfortable going out in public again and went to church.  Except for a few small flakes of skin peeling and a few other spots that aren’t quite healed,  Gene’s face is looking good.  If you didn’t know he had the treatment you would just think he got a little too much sun on his face.  He is almost healed and every day is an improvement. Hopefully when he goes back for a checkup in six months he will be given a “clean” bill of health and not have to do the treatment again.


Actinic Keratosis – Part II

To read… Actinic Keratosis – Part 1  (Days 1-15 of treatment)

Day 16:  And just when I thought he couldn’t look any worse….over night he does! He tries to stay out of the store as much as possible but it can not be totally avoided.  He is not embarrassed by how he looks but feels like he is a white elephant in the room. His approach has been to just tell people what is going on and that will usually opens a good, sympathetic, “I feel your pain” conversation.   Some people will ask what is going on, some will look and not ask, and some will ask me!  He is so ready to feel like he is over the hump and on the downhill side of the mountain he has climbed.  It is amazing to discover how many people have had this treatment or know someone who has.



We are amazed at how these pictures make his face look better than it really is. I can’t capture the deep, purple-red, puffiness!  And all these years I thought camera made me look worse than I thought I looked!!!  How ironic!

His face really hurts today and it is making him feel bad.  He can not stand any ointment or lotion that has alcohol in it.  The pharmacy does not have any sunscreen lotion here in March and he can not stand to be outside even if the sun is not directly shining on his face.  He is suppose to protect his face from sun with sunscreen even in a vehicle and wear a wide brim hat.

Day 17:  Today was a rough day and Gene did not feel well at all.  His face was puffy and hurts; there just was not much relief.  It was good that today was Sunday and there was no work pressure. He was able to lay on the sofa and take it easy.

Day 18: He feels like he is finally over the hump!  He had a good night’s rest and woke up without a headache. Some of the angry redness seems to be lessening.  One of his big challenges has been what to put on his face for relief.  The skin feels tight and brittle.  It is basically like a terrible sunburn. A & D Ointment has worked the best. Neosporin has helped but it makes him look like a greased pig.  Everything else seems to set his face on fire. Most lotions and ointments have alcohol in them. Because of the “heat” in his face the ointments tend to melt off his face and he has to continually dap up the grease!

Today a display of “The Naked Bee” supplies that he ordered at a recent Purina expo came into our store.  It is an assortment of hand and body moisturizing lotions,  chap stick, soap, and salve made from Orange Blossom honey. He decided to try the lotion on his face. It was almost instant relief to his face with non of the greasiness, residue or burning of other lotions.  By the end of the day his face was even looking a tiny bit better.  He is now starting to peel, but this is good. It means the damage skin is starting to slough away and  I am seeing glimpses of ‘pink” skin underneath!!!

Now for a commercial on The Naked Bee.  And the good part…we sell it in the store!!!

Naked Bee Lotion

On the product it says…”All the good stuff” (70% Certified Organic).  It has a mild but pleasant, citrus smell. In reading the below list it is easy to see why this is working!

  • Organic Aloe and Sunflower Oil helps restore, heal, promote healthy skin.
  • Green & White Tea extracts protect skin from oxidative stress.
  • Honey is antibacterial, moisturizing and nutritive for all skin types.
  • Hyaluronic acid, a powerful hydrator that smoothes and softens skin.
  • Spirulina, concentrated nutrients for skin conditioning and detoxification.
  • Ph balanced, Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.

“None of the bad stuff”

  • Paraben-free.
  • No propylene glycol.
  • Gluten-free.
  • No drying alcohol.
  • No dyes or pigments.
  • No mineral oil.
  • No EDTA.
  • Phthalate-free fragrance.

Part III: Days 21-24

Actinic Keratosis – Part I

Actinic keratosis  (AK)  is a precancerous skin growth that happens on sun-damaged areas of the skin.

Gene is a farmer and has basically spent his life outdoors working and playing softball. He always wears a hat and most of his farm work is done from the cab of his tractor. But that has not protected him enough from the sun’s rays and through the years has caused red blotching on the side of his face (see the picture below).  It had gotten worse and he had developed some slightly crusty areas. Finally the family doctor recommended that he see a dermatologist.


  Years of sunlight (UV) exposure damages skin and causes it to grow abnormally. Patches on skin pale or redden causing a mottled appearance. Then rough, scaly, or crusted areas develop. These areas are usually pink, but can be gray. Sometimes a small horn of fingernail-like material grows.   This is often due occupational sun exposure or sun-bathing.

The lesions are benign (noncancerous) but they can occasionally convert to squamous cell skin cancer.  If this happens it must be surgically removed. Patients that  have many lesions have a higher chance of skin cancer.

AK may remain unchanged, spontaneously resolve, or progress to skin cancer. The fate of any one AK is impossible to predict.    People with sun-damaged skin should see a doctor at regular intervals.

This information was taken from

Fortunately for Gene, they are not seeing any cancer but they decided he needed to do preventive treatment to his face with Fluorouracil Cream which is a chemo drug.  The dermatologist also “froze” some spots on his ears and face. We knew several people who have taken this treatment and heard their stories about how “bad” their faces looked. Now he has his own story.

Gene is allowing me to photograph and write about his experience so that it can help or educate others.  He has found other people’s personal blogs and utube posts to be very helpful. The doctors give you medical expertise but people tell you personal experiences.

Two weeks ago he started the Fluorouracil Cream treatment. Twice a day he had to put the cream on his face and ears.  This was a bigger ordeal than it first sounds.  He would take a shower and shave. Then he had to wait half an hour before putting the cream on. He feels like it is taking him a long time to “primp”, especially in the mornings. It took about a week before the skin reaction started showing.  Each day his face has become more blotchy and red.

Day 11: I decided I should take a picture….



His face is starting to hurt.  The skin feels tight and tingly. He said it feels like there are needles pushing into his skin.  He can not stand for the pillow to touch his face. He didn’t go to church on Sunday as it looks bad enough you don’t want to be in a group of people-you try to avoid people!

Day 14: Two weeks and each day it is getting worse and worse.  It is really bothering him and hurting. The corners of his mouth hurt and feel sore. The skin feels tight and hot.  He is having headaches and trouble sleeping.  He had a two-week appointment with the dermatologist today and he was anxious to go.  She gave him some options going forward but decided to stop the cream treatment and see how it looks in six months when she will reevaluate. He may have to do it again or take the “blue light” treatment. Going forward he is suppose to wear sunblock lotion every day-even cloudy days as there are still ultraviolet rays coming through the clouds and wear a wide brim hat.  He asked her on a scale of 1-10 how bad he looked.  She said a 6.  She showed him a picture of a guy who looked a lot worse.



Day 15:   Gene is plain miserable. He felt terrible last night and had trouble sleeping.  He finally got up and dug around in the medicine cabinet during the night and found some pain pills. He also put some Neosporin on which gave him some relief.  Now in addition to being deep red he looks like a greased pig!  His face hurts.  The skin is tight,  slightly swollen, deep, fiery red and painful.  He says he looks like he has been lost on the ocean on a raft for two weeks with no shade protection!  I went to the pharmacy today and got him some A & D first aid ointment and Caldyphen Clear Lotion for pain relief.  The Caldyphen Lotion did not help as it set his face on fire.




These pictures soften how bad it really looks in “real life”!  Needless to say he doesn’t like to be out in public any more than he has too!

Two of the men from church came by today to see him. They could sympathize as they have had to do the same treatment.  Both were rather shocked at how bad he looked. They thought they had looked bad but both said they were not this bad!!  At this point you cling to the promise that there is hope at the end of this ordeal. He will have a new face and everyone says his face will be good-looking again with nice skin-better than what he had.  He is blessed. He does not have cancer and he does not have to have areas surgically repaired.

Actinic Keratosis-Part II  (Day 16-18) and Part III (Day 21-24)



%d bloggers like this: