Describe your idea of a surreal experience.

Back in 1997, I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my upper lip, the area encompassed parts of my upper lip and the philtrum, the medical term for the area between the upper lip and the nose. On the day of my surgery, I didn't know exactly what was to transpire because no one knew exactly how far spread the cancer was, so that was a little bit much for my little brain to deal with, I must say that in light of all my uncertainty, both of my surgeons were fantastic.

My first surgeon, the one who cut away all of the cancer using the Mohs technique, Dr. Christine Hayes, was a champion. While she was doing her work cutting, cauterizing and suturing, she worked very quickly and efficiently surrounded by her two nurse and an assisting surgeon. It was such a friendly and polite atmosphere, so many pleases and thank yous, they also sang me a rendition of Frere Jacques with me translating the verses into English. Now tell me that isn't surreal enough for you. Listening and translating a French lullaby while your surgeon is calmly skimming cancer cells off your lip.

My second surgeon, Dr. Michael Lewis,was the teaching plastic surgeon on staff so when it was time to repair my lip, I had a full audience. Dr. Lewis needed a skin graft from behind my right ear and as they were draping my head with the green surgery sheets, all I could think of was the Bionic Woman from the late seventies. Oscar's voice was in my head "We are going to make her faster, stronger, we have the technology". Since the side of my head was completely numb all I could do is hear the work being done, I could hear the fat being scraped off the skin before and after hearing the scissors cutting off the skin and I could hear the needle going in and out of my skin as Dr. Lewis was sewing my skin back together behind my ear. It was so bizarre.

All in all the worst part of the two surgeries was the awful smell of my flesh burning as they were cauterizing the wound at several different stages of both operations. It is the worst smell in the world; sweet and cloying, it's enough to turn my stomach nowadays. That day my little brain was too overwhelmed by the things that had been done to my upper lip, it truly was a surreal experience that seemed to last a bit too long.

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