How I Got a Swollen Eye the Week Before Christmas

I am typing this with one eye because my other one is swollen. How did a woman of my age end up with a swollen eye in this season of love and giving?

I didn't get this black eye from zombies, fighting during Christmas shopping, bad botox or sparring with an MMA champ. It was skin cancer.

I’m glad you asked…



Zombie Apocalypse

I went outside to do a little gardening only to discover the Zombie Apocalypse had begun.


Like any sane person being chased by undead monsters intent on sucking away what little remains of my brains, I turned tail and ran. I immediately tripped over my son’s scooter that he had left out and fell face first onto a rock. Which I then heaved at the unsuspecting, and rather slow moving creature, killing it instantly.

Is that how you kill zombies? I don’t know… I don’t watch scary stuff.

Hatchimal Horrors

All of those secret FB groups and spying on the stores paid off.  I got the scoop on a small store in Reseda that was set to receive a surprise delivery of Hatchimals and I just had to try to get my hands on one for my sweet little sugar dumpling.


Kidding! J has no idea what a Hatchimal is.

Sparring with Holly Holm

Holly Holm needed a sparring partner to train for her upcoming UFC Championship Bout in February, so out of the kindness of my heart I volunteered to help her out.


I outweigh her by a “few” pounds but traditional boxing is more my style.

Botox Gone Bad

Would you believe I tried Botox injections?

No not really. But, it actually is closer to the truth than the others.

The Truth

A few months ago, what I thought was a pimple started growing under my eye.  I left it alone and didn’t pick at it (much) but it didn’t go away. Hmm. That didn’t seem right. So I did the unthinkable, for me; I made an appointment with the dermatologist.

The nurse practitioner that examined me tried not to scare me, but, like Holm, she didn’t pull any punches. It was probably Basal Cell Carcinoma and would require surgery. She further explained that she would remove the growth and send it off for testing which will probably confirm it is cancerous. And it was.

If you are going to get cancer this is the one to get. It almost never spreads beyond the original site and is fairly easy to remove.

It is the most common form of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation

BCCs are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars and are usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense, occasional sun exposure.

Luckily for me, it appeared in a very obvious place so I noticed it. Honestly after years as a swimmer and then a physical education teacher and rarely wearing sunscreen during those decades, it is a bit surprising  it hasn’t happened before.

Unluckily for me, it appeared in a very obvious place. When the office called to schedule my surgery she was very upfront with me about it swelling and bruising after the fact. And since it was right under my eye, I probably will end up with a black eye.

The Mohs surgery is pretty simple. Under local anesthetic, the doctor cut around the area to try to remove all traces of cancer. Then while I was twiddling my thumbs in the waiting room (reading Persuasion on my Kindle) the tissue was checked to see if all of the cancer was removed.

And in a rare stroke of luck, it was all gone on the first try, so no repeat of the cutting and testing/waiting procedure. They stitched me up and sent me on my way. With a swollen eye and a scar sure to follow.

Some advice

Truthfully this experience hasn’t changed my habits all that much. Years ago I started wearing hats and using sunscreen. But, now I know to check my skin (everywhere) regularly for any new growth or moles that magically start changing appearance.

From the Skin Cancer Foundation:

Since its inception in 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has always recommended using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however. Read our full list of skin cancer prevention tips.

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.


So let my bad example be a lesson for you and be sure to check your skin once in awhile. Especially if you were overexposed to the sun in your youth like most people my age.

And whatever you do, stay away from Zombies and other undead creatures like crazed parents trying to find a Hatchimal.

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  1. So glad you found that and got it taken care of. Scary stuff. The Hatchimal fight would have made a pretty good story though!

    1. I am just glad my son has no idea what a Hatchimal is. Shudder.

  2. Ok, loved your stories. Are you alternating between them when strangers ask? I’m so happy they got everything with one try, and I pray for no repeats. 🙂

    1. I think a few people have snuck a glance at my husband the last few days thinking he might be responsible. Which is absolutely ridiculous! So I had to have some good stories ready.

  3. glad this all worked out for the best. Have a happy holiday! #fridayfriviolity

    1. Thanks, Jeremy

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