Saturday, March 29, 2014
When Peter Farley went to his GP with a scab on his nose, he thought little of it.
But a few months later, the retired charity director was undergoing surgery to remove a large tumour from his face and having reconstruction surgery, which he says made him look like a “Picasso portrait.”
The 71-year-old, of Sheringham, went to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on February 27 2013 thinking that he would only need one operation to remove a basal cell carcinoma.
However, his surgeon was surprised at how far the cancer had spread and he needed five procedures to remove all of the cancerous cells from his nose and cheek, which left an area of his face, 60mm by 30mm, being removed.
The patient, whose nose was rebuilt using skin from his forehead, said the whole experience was “invasive” and “psychologically disturbing.” However, he is full of praise for the team that removed and cured his cancer.
“I had flakey skin, which I could not get rid of. I did not think of any of it and this was over a number of years. I went to the pharmacy and I was told it was sun damage and I needed to see the GP. I had a scab on my nose and he was more worried about that,” he said.
The founding director of the Matthew Project said he was “horrified” following the surgery under a local anaesthetic. He has had three surgeries at the N&N to rebuild his face and is due to have another to fix his nostril.
“It is very difficult to get the balance between informing the patient without frightening them and they were spot on. It was a frightening, but the team were superb and I felt reassured and felt in good hands.”
“Although it was on the surface, in a real sense superficial, somehow the surgery seemed more invasive. After all, my face is me, that’s what people recognise. Whenever I did venture out for the next month or so, it was only to go to the dressing clinic at the hospital once a week and I certainly felt a freak.”