My Face Before and After Skin Cancer


My plastic surgeon helped me accept my new face after basal cell carcinoma left a hole in my face.

Image of a doctor putting on blue rubber gloves.

My Face

My Former Face,

The one I was born with,

Was perfectly symmetrical.

As most faces are.

Evenly spaced,

Eyes from nose,

Lips equidistant.

It was Me.

Every time I looked in a mirror

I saw Me.

Facial recognition

On my smartphone

Recognized Me

And opened on sight.

Confirmation that

I was Me.

But cancer seeped into

My Former Face.



Burrowing deeper.



Once it was finally detected,

The ramifications were undeniable.


Little by little,

Layer by layer.

Nine hours and thirty minutes,

Before it was all completely removed

And the margins were declared ‘clear.’

I was free from the disease that kills so many,

In various forms and iterations.

One of those (Melanoma) took my younger sister’s life,

When she had so much more life to live.

So unfair.

But once the cancer was removed,

What remained

In my face

Was a hole.

A hole

The size

Of a Golf Ball.

Oozing and gaping by the side of my nose.

My (once) beautiful face.

Me, myself and I,

Was torn and tattered,

Carved and shredded.

What was left was reconstruction.

How to fill in the gaping hole?

How in the world to close that gap?

And then, a Miracle Man performed a miracle.

He closed that gap.

He sewed up that hole.

He put my face back together again.

Although my smartphone didn’t recognize my face,

My New Face,

Which is scarred and no longer perfect,

I am free from cancer.

My New Face will live on with me until

Death do us part.

I will forever be grateful for

The Miracle Man

Who saw Me

Despite the hole in my face.

He sewed me back together

Helped me say goodbye

To my Former Face

And allowed me to

Welcome and Accept

My New Face.

Almost two years ago, a deep, aggressive and fast-growing basal cell carcinoma was detected in my face, resulting in a 9 ½-hour Moh's surgery, leaving a golf ball-sized hole in my face. Several days later, I underwent an extensive repair and reconstructive surgical procedure followed by several smaller surgeries. I wrote this poem to help me process this traumatic event and to thank the plastic surgeon who performed the surgeries. I share it with you with the hope that it may help even one other person who faces a similar experience.

This post was written and submitted by Catherine Horn. The article reflects the views of Horn and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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