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Wednesday 3 November 2021

Mole Hills

Blinking mole hills. What can I say, but if you have them then you'll know where I'm coming from. 

Thought I'd party with them. If you can't beat them, join them.

Ellen Dean

Thursday 29 July 2021

MOHS Surgery for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Let me start by saying I don't sit in the sun. Don't get me wrong I do like the sun, that beautiful big yellow thing in the sky, I'm just not a sit or lie in the sun kind of person. So, when I ended up with a BCC in the crease of my nose I couldn't understand how it got there. How on earth did the sun strike into the crease? I found out that it could have been there since my teens and appeared many years later due to stress.

It started with a spot and then it went, disappeared. Six months later it came back and stayed. I mentioned it to my doctor as I thought it was a wart. Straight away she said it wasn't anything to worry about but referred me to a Dermatologist who would see me within a fortnight. That was the end of December 2019. 

I was seen within a fortnight at Harrogate Hospital, a great start to 2020. A biopsy followed and sure enough further treatment was necessary. I then saw a Consultant in the Maxillofacial Department who referred me to Chapel Allerton Hospital for MOHS surgery. 

Then we had lock down. I guessed that I wasn't going to have this minor surgery within the next few months.

Fast forward to March 2021 and my appointment with a Consultant at Chapel Allerton Hospital arrived. A trip to Leeds was necessary. I didn't relish this trip because I have a vestibular disorder, accompanied by anxiety, I don't travel well especially on motorways. Anxiety certainly isn't my favourite travelling companion and I suspect it is the same for many others.

I would receive a letter within three months for MOHS surgery the consultant told me during our consultation. However, a couple of weeks later I received a phone call asking if I'd mind changing consultants and I'd be seen in April instead of May. Of course I looked up the Consultant Dermatological Surgeon Dr Walayat Hussain online, and found he was one of the best in the business. So, I rang back and said yes please.

On the day of the operation 22nd April 2021 I had to be there at 9.15am. The traffic to Leeds wasn't too bad, thank goodness. I was accompanied by a friend who would have to drive me home. 

When I met Dr Hussain for the first time he was wearing a mask, gloves, gown, and a scrub cap. The only part of him I could see were his eyes. They were friendly eyes, and I could tell he was smiling as he spoke to introduce himself. Two nurses attended, Staff Nurse Rose and Sister Lisa who were pleasant and friendly too. Everyone did their best to make me feel at ease in a strange situation.

Once I was on the operating table I was fitted out with a gown. My hands had to stay underneath the cover placed on me. Then came a cap, and then my eyes were covered. Nothing but my feet exposed. I felt like a mummy especially when my nose was plugged to stop the anaesthetic going down my throat.

Oh the joys!

I won't go into detail about the operation only to say it wasn't akin having a trip to the Spa. But, the nurses and doctor talked to me all the way through it and we even shared a few fun bits.

They do MOHS surgery in stages. The surgeon takes away the BCC and off it goes to the laboratory to be looked at on a machine. It takes about an hour. They leave your wound open (covered with a pressure bandage) to the elements until the results are back. I was eating a small sandwich when Rose, the nurse, came back for me. The doctor needed to take a little bit more of the surrounding skin away, but the area was still quite numb so he didn't need to inject much more anaesthetic. A great relief. I didn't have my eyes covered this time so the next thing I saw was a needle and his hand bobbing to and fro sewing my nose. 

All done and the surgeon asked me if I wanted to see his work. I politely declined. I really didn't feel brave enough. He was disappointed and assured me it looked good. I felt I couldn't refuse, so very reluctantly I agreed. He handed me a mirror. I looked. He was right, it was good. So neat I had to ask, 'Where did you learn to sew like that?' He replied, 'YouTube!' We had discussed YouTube while he was operating so we had a laugh and he did a little jig.

Then a pressure bandage was fixed like cement to my nose and it covered my nostril. I couldn't breathe. Dr. Hussain told me that I should take the bandage off in four days and that I would need to sleep upright until the bandage was removed. Also that the stitches were dissolvable. Very important, I had to do no bending or lifting of anything heavy for at least seven days from the operation. When I removed the bandage I had to apply Vaseline to the wound for a specific time to keep it moist.

While the bandage was on my nose I looked like I was auditioning for Phantom of the Opera. I thought I'd turn a negative into a positive and make a TikTok video.

I didn't need any painkillers. The only problem was not being able to breathe properly. But, the second week I started feeling extremely anxious and started having flashbacks to the surgery day. I spoke to my GP, told him how I felt weird and panicky when having my hair cut and my check up at the Dentist, and he said it could be a control issue. So, I re-listened to Dr Claire Weekes (MBE) CDs. What an amazing women she was. I definitely recommend her books and CD's for anxiety issues. I bought her book Self Help for Your Nerves a few years ago and keep it close. I also bought her Pass Through Panic CD. 

Three months later on the 26th July I had an appointment to see Dr. Hussain. The anxiety had not levelled. Leading up to the journey and while travelling on the Motorway it was horrendous.

Dr. Hussain was pleased with how good the surgery site looked. You can hardly see what's been done. He did say it will take around eighteen months to heal properly, which is why I'm still having a tingling feeling and sometimes a cold nose. But, I'm glad to say, I'm discharged. And what a wonderful word that was to hear.

While all of this was going on I decided to look online for natural remedies and found a Skin Cancer  site with some very good information. Then another informative site Dr Cynthia Baily.

Another site I found for the prevention of skin cancer puts a great emphasis on diet. 

Little did I know when I wrote a previous blog in June 2011 for my local Kirkby and Masham Surgery when they received their first Dermatoscope, that it would spot, pardon the pun, my BCC. I have to say all of our doctors and staff at the practice are absolutely brilliant.

I found and joined a Facebook MOHS Surgery support group and it was lovely to chat with people who had gone through the same thing. 

Always respect the sun. Wear a brimmed hat, sun shades. Dr. Hussain recommended suntan lotion anything above factor 30. So, now I have factor 50+!  Try to keep stress levels down and maintain serenity.

Ellen Dean recommends Dr Walayat Hussain.


Friday 12 March 2021

The World In A Selfie By Marco D'eramo - An Enquiry into the Tourist Age - Book Review

 The World In A Selfie

An Inquiry into the Tourist Age

By Marco D'ramo Published in English in 2021

Press Release

We were all tourists at some point in our lives. So, why did we look down on people taking selfies in front of the Tower of Pisa? What licensed our condescension? Was there really much to distinguish the package holiday from hipster city-breaks to Berlin or Brooklyn? Why did we invest so much in an activity we professed to despise? 

The World in a Selfie offers a spirited critique of the cultural politics of a tourist age that, at least for a while, has come to an end with the pandemic. Marco d’Eramo investigates what might happen if that virus-inspired pause proves permanent. Tourism is not just the most important industry of our century, generating huge waves of people and capital, calling forth a dedicated infrastructure, and upsetting and repurposing the architecture and topography of our cities. It also encapsulates the problem of modernity: the search for authenticity in a world of ersatz pleasures. 

D’Eramo retraces the grand tours of the first globetrotters – from Francis Bacon and Samuel Johnson to Arthur de Gobineau and Mark Twain – before assessing the cultural meaning of the beach holiday, the ‘UNESCO-cide’ of major heritage sites, and the impossibility of tourism during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Will the industry recover from the coronavirus lockdowns or has self-isolation taken away our wanderlust – not to mention the earnings to pay for it? The impact of an end to tourism will be immense but, as d’Eramo suggests, may also be liberating.

About the Author

Marco D’Eramo is an Italian journalist and social theorist. He worked at the newspaper il manifesto for over thirty years. He writes for New Left Review, MicroMega and the Berlin daily Die Tageszeitung. His books include The Pig and the Skyscraper, which has been translated into several languages.

My Review:

I really didn't know what to expect when I received this book to review. It's definitely opened my eyes to just what damage tourism can do. I had no idea how the ski slopes, which are for fun and obviously professional sport, are causing untold problems to the ground beneath. I don't think people realise that everywhere now is becoming a tourist attraction and somewhere to escape to.

I suggest everybody reads this book especially now after all of the lockdowns we've had due to the Covid Pandemic, and that they take stock and appreciate what they've got at home, and not to go flying round the world to sit on a beach as a way of escape. I hope they think of the damage to the environment that's caused, decide not to add to it, enjoy what they have nearer home and at the same time treat all destinations as the precious places they are. 

Ellen Dean Recommends

Thursday 21 January 2021

That's Sew Belle Handmade Clothing

 That's Sew Belle

Let me introduce you to That's Sew Belle handmade clothing by showing you some of their amazing products. All handmade. 

From their Facebook page: At That's Sew Belle we aim to provide quality custom clothing and accessories for children that are long lasting and will grow your child.

Ellen Dean definitely recommends

Thursday 14 January 2021

The Curse Of Mary Ann Cotton by E. P. Kelly - Book Review


The Curse of Mary Ann Cotton

Synopsis from back of the book:

In October 1872, Mary Ann Cotton was arrested for poisoning her Stepson, Charles Edward Cotton, at their home in West Auckland County Durham England. The truth only came to light once Mrs Cotton tried to put her stepson into the local workhouse and was told that she would need to go in too. She told the villagers “of course, he will never be able to get up; he will go like the rest of the Cotton family”. A few days later the child was dead. This raised concern with the locals and the local doctor and the bodies of some of the victims were exhumed. Once tests were carried out on the organs, traces of arsenic were found and Mary Ann was arrested on suspicion of murder. Once the police started to look into Mary Ann’s past, it is believed that she murdered 3 of her 4 husbands, 11 of her children, and a lodger. All of this was by arsenic poisoning and to collect insurance money from each victim. Mary Ann Cotton was hung at Durham Prison in March 1873.In Mary Ann’s last residence, on front street in West Auckland, strange things were happening to the tenants that lived there. An angry spirit seemed to reside on the top floor, a boy was seen on many occasions and people were being scratched.A team of local paranormal investigators were invited along to see if they could discover what was happening within the home. It was a night that they will never forget, but that was only the beginning of a roller coaster journey that has lasted for 4 years.This is the story of what happened on that ghostly night and what has happened since.

About The Author:

E. P. Kelly (Elaine) has, with her group Spectre Detectors, been investigating the paranormal for over nine years in the north east of England, and London. They have videos I recommend you watch on YouTube  

My review:

I have had an interest in Mary Ann Cotton's case for some years now. As children we had all heard the story along with a song made up about what happened. This book isn't about the story as such, it's about a paranormal investigation by a group of spiritual detectives who talk to the spirits of people Mary Ann was alleged to have murdered. I have researched evidence of the alleged murders by Mary Ann Cotton and, if it was presented to court today, it would be thrown out. The book is advertised as For Entertainment Purposes.

I enjoyed reading the book but had to keep going back and forth to ascertain who was doing the talking i.e. spirits or the spectre detectors as there were so many names to contend with. I believe there is another world where spirits reside and I believe we get messages from the spirit world. I also have to wonder if the spirits, over the years, heard residents in the said house talking about Mary Ann (what she allegedly did) and thought the stories were true so passed this information on to the spectre detectors. Who knows?

Shown below is a copy of the actual death certificate of Charles Edward Cotton one of her children she was supposed to have murdered with arsenic poisoning. But, the whole house, utensils and contents, were forensically analysed and no traces of arsenic were found. The teapot, possibly belonging to Mary Ann, which is in Beamish Museum will not be analysed for arsenic (according to the museum) because they are not sure if it is Marry Ann's teapot. 

We also have to remember Mary Ann has living descendants who are constantly bombarded with theories about her. Because of this I think it would be an idea to open a cold case investigation and then we will really know what happened. It can be done.

Ellen Dean Recommends