Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sunflower Harvest

Yesterday (8/25) Tom and I harvested some of the sunflower kernels from this summer's crop. See my blog entry here for more background.

 We have been cutting the flowers off the stalk when they fell (wind, whatever) and placing them on the picnic table to dry. Bad idea. They have gotten wet in recent rains and many of the heads were soggy and beginning to decompose. In the future, the heads need to be arranged on newspaper in a dry place, probably the floor of the garage. I know that creates a risk of mice getting to them before the birds.

 We should have wore gloves, too. Some of the heads were a bit sticky and all of them produced enough friction on the fingers that gloves would have added protection. There are still plenty of sunflowers standing in the garden so this operation will have to be completed later.

 We each chose a bucket and shelled into that.

 The "Giant" variety of sunflowers have a lighter colored seed which is much fatter than the regular variety. The plants become massive, growing easily to 10 - 12 feet tall.

 The regular sunflowers produce a thin, dark seed. This is the seed that's normally found in bags of birdseed. The whorls of each are an example of Mother Nature's great artistry.

 We poured our collected seeds into a cardboard box where I'll stir the seed daily with my fingers to remove any moisture. Eventually we'll bag them and hold them for the birds this winter.

 I marvel that all these seeds came from two small packets of seeds a few months ago. The multiplication in that short time is a miracle of sorts.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Skin Cancer Removed

Note: This blog entry contains pictures of a wound
and may not be suitable for all viewers.

 I have had an area of pink skin developing on my back for some years and being something that I don't often see, I chose to ignore it. Tom recently convinced me that I ought to have it looked at by my family doctor to determine if it was another skin cancer.

 I had two basil cell skin cancers many years ago (more than ten), one on my right arm, another on my right temple. They were surgically removed and I've never had any recurrence of either spot.

 Here's what Tom thought I needed to show my family doctor.


05-29-18: This pink patch was on the left of my back, on the lower scapula. I showed it to Dr. William B. Ashcraft at Miamisburg Family Practice and he agreed that it needed to be examined by a dermatologist.


06-25-18: I visited Dr. Karl K. Kellawan at Forefront Dermatology in Centerville. He thought it was a skin cancer and took a biopsy.


With the bandage  removed after one day, the site of the biopsy can be seen near the top edge. Also note how much redder the area has become in less than three months.


The biopsy wound bled quite a bit  and I have a number of t-shirts that needed laundered quickly. It was otherwise virtually painless. I had three spots on my chest attended to, also. They were frozen with liquid nitrogen. Biopsy results came back showing it to be a squamous cell skin cancer.


07-13-18: On my 69th birthday I went to Dayton Skincare for an appointment. Dr. Shannon Buck looked at the site, marked the outline with ink and measured the area (I believe he said 2.4 x 1.5 cm). They set an appointment in two weeks to have the cancer removed via MOHS surgery. I was told I might have to be there "all day".


07-27-18: Tom and I arrived at Dayton Skincare very early (maybe not quite 7:30 am) and we sat in the parking lot until my appointment time of 8:00 am.


The surgery lasted about 3.5 hours (mostly wait time). Dr. Buck didn't have to go back for more. There were some precancerous cells which the nurse then took care of. The nurse then put on ample dressings and wrapped me in an elastic bandage to hold everything firmly in place.


The next afternoon Tom removed the elastic bandage and we found this waterproof bandage beneath. I managed to keep it in place for two weeks while the wound healed. Though I showered (carefully), the bandage stayed in place. At first the wound was tender, even slightly painful. It soon merely itched.


08-10-18: I returned to Dayton Skincare to have the stitches removed. I asked the nurse how many there were: 36. She said the wound was healing beautifully and that I could go back to my usual routine with no restrictions.

I'll have to keep an eye on things and not let any further suspect areas go so long before I see a doctor. I'm sure this could have been taken care of easily many years ago. Even so, the procedures that were used weren't painful at all. Great care all around.