# Weird medicine

#### Elixir

There are probably lots of new medicines of which I am unaware. But I started this thread because of one of them:
Fluorouracil.

About ten years ago my primary doc cut a little piece of skin off my forehead and sent it to a lab to see if it had malignant cells. It was just a rough patch, but he had deemed it a "precancerous lesion". The lab said no worries, it was benign. But my doc warned me then that it would need to be dealt with...
A few weeks ago, his PA referred me to a dermatologist after feeling some similar rough spots on my forehead. The dermatologist was the one who prescribed Fluorouracil, saying it targets and destroys "abnormal" skin cells and doesn't usually effect normal skin. Put a thin coat on the forehead, cheeks and ears 1-2x/day for 2-3 weeks.

Well, I started doing that about ten days ago. Now, if I saw myself walking down the sidewalk toward myself, I'd cross the street.

My face lit up with red, raw, painful lesions and I look like a victim of some sort of pox or scurvy. The dermadoc did warn me "don't be alarmed - people call me and they're like OMG what did you do to me??"
But still, it's kinda shocking and I'm not sure if I can make it for another week-plus. Reading about the stuff, it does appear to be effective at its assigned task, preventing the development of skin cancers and suppressing precancerous lesions for several years at least. But... damn! I can't go out in the sun, don't really want to show my face in public for fear of freaking people out... I'll get over it (they say) and I guess it's better than having my face cut off... or ingesting chemo agents, or going through radiation treatments...

#### Toni

##### Contributor
Just wanted to offer some support. A dear friend has actually had a couple of melanomas and has numerous other basal cancers and precancerous lesions—that gel does a great job! Unfortunately the truth is that damage that appears is the result of sun exposure decades earlier. You cannot turn back time but you can take care of your skin now by surveillance and by preventing new damage by limiting sun exposure now. Sucks, I know.

#### Elixir

Just wanted to offer some support. A dear friend has actually had a couple of melanomas and has numerous other basal cancers and precancerous lesions—that gel does a great job! Unfortunately the truth is that damage that appears is the result of sun exposure decades earlier. You cannot turn back time but you can take care of your skin now by surveillance and by preventing new damage by limiting sun exposure now. Sucks, I know.

Thank you Toni.
Yeah.... I knew it even as it happened. Most (at least a lot) of the damage was done the first time my uncle took me snow skiing, circa 1964. The first night at Alpine ski resort (near lake Tahoe) it snowed 5-6 feet. It drifted up against the side of the cabin we were staying in, past the top of the door so that when opened, it presented a flat wall of snow. The resort eventually dug us out, and it was crystal clear and bright. That was dramatic. Other than that morning, the main things I remember about it were the discomfort of the "T-bar", and getting steady enough to brave the chair lift on the easiest slope by the third day. And I vividly remember the days afterward, when my entire face blistered and peeled.

Not like I hadn't been over-exposed prior to that, especially while surfing, but that's the only time I ever got significant blistering.
I still do too many things in the sun to 'avoid" it entirely, but in recent years I've been using SPF 50 spray on exposed areas, mainly face, forearms... but as you say the damage is done.
If this shit works as advertised, I'm grateful for it. A tube cost $60 and at this rate it would last for months if used every day, so a pittance compared to most other interventions. I'll have to ask the dermatologist about spot treatment in the future. Right now, gotta go out in the bright high altitude sunshine to walk the dog, exercise the horse and plant potatoes. Neck gaiter and ski hat provide protection, leaving a slit for the eyes. #### Loren Pechtel ##### Super Moderator Staff member I believe my father had something like that way back, probably in the 90s. #### Treedbear ##### Veteran Member I have a sneaking suspicion that I started having eczema as a autoimmune reaction to the massive vaccine doses I was getting when I turned 65. A dual dose of pneumonia vaccine and two separate dual doses of shingles vaccine. The second one hurt like hell for a week. It was soon afterwards that I started getting excessive reactions to burns and abrasions that would previously heal without a problem. And then itching and scratching that would take forever to heal and need lots of hydrocortisone (topical and by injection) to get my skin to calm down. By I'm not anti-vax. Just don't get them all at once, especially with the elderly or those with a history of auto-immune sensitivity. #### Swammerdami ##### Squadron Leader Staff member A friend reports a severe acne-like facial rash from taking erlotinib. That medicine is swallowed orally rather than applied to skin, but I wonder if there's a connection with the Fluorouracil symptoms. #### steve_bank ##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ... I have been seeing doctors for the last six yeras mostly good, but there are doctors and there are doctors, and at the end of the day they are just like verybody else. Legally you are the final juge on meds you take. I was taking metformin for diabetes. I sted to have probems. I'd wake up at night gasping for air my mu=y bliood )2 was belw 90. I looked on line and fpimd the med can lea to lactic acidosis which ca intefere with heart. I taled to my PCP at the time a rrsident ho sad it was theorertocaly possible but d;t worry. My A1C and daily blood sugar was low so I stopped taking the drugs. Symptoms went away. I talked to a retired nurse in my building who had the same proem. If you are unsure get a second opinion. My cardiologist talked to me about new meds presenting potential risks and benefits I declined. He said fine. Before you take a med these days the thing to do is go online. The FDA has a system for reporting side effects. #### Toni ##### Contributor Just wanted to offer some support. A dear friend has actually had a couple of melanomas and has numerous other basal cancers and precancerous lesions—that gel does a great job! Unfortunately the truth is that damage that appears is the result of sun exposure decades earlier. You cannot turn back time but you can take care of your skin now by surveillance and by preventing new damage by limiting sun exposure now. Sucks, I know. Thank you Toni. Yeah.... I knew it even as it happened. Most (at least a lot) of the damage was done the first time my uncle took me snow skiing, circa 1964. The first night at Alpine ski resort (near lake Tahoe) it snowed 5-6 feet. It drifted up against the side of the cabin we were staying in, past the top of the door so that when opened, it presented a flat wall of snow. The resort eventually dug us out, and it was crystal clear and bright. That was dramatic. Other than that morning, the main things I remember about it were the discomfort of the "T-bar", and getting steady enough to brave the chair lift on the easiest slope by the third day. And I vividly remember the days afterward, when my entire face blistered and peeled. Not like I hadn't been over-exposed prior to that, especially while surfing, but that's the only time I ever got significant blistering. I still do too many things in the sun to 'avoid" it entirely, but in recent years I've been using SPF 50 spray on exposed areas, mainly face, forearms... but as you say the damage is done. If this shit works as advertised, I'm grateful for it. A tube cost$60 and at this rate it would last for months if used every day, so a pittance compared to most other interventions.
I'll have to ask the dermatologist about spot treatment in the future.

Right now, gotta go out in the bright high altitude sunshine to walk the dog, exercise the horse and plant potatoes. Neck gaiter and ski hat provide protection, leaving a slit for the eyes.

I just thought of this and probably you already know: LandsEnd and I am certain other sports/active wear manufacturers sell rash guards with UV protection built in, I believe at UV50.

My older sister used to get sunburnt through her shirts when we were kids. Wish that had been available all those years ago.

#### Loren Pechtel

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
I just thought of this and probably you already know: LandsEnd and I am certain other sports/active wear manufacturers sell rash guards with UV protection built in, I believe at UV50.

My older sister used to get sunburnt through her shirts when we were kids. Wish that had been available all those years ago.

Yup, typical summer fabrics have fairly low SPF factors. I've got a SPF 50 hoodie on order right now. Very lightweight fabric, it's to keep the sun off, not to keep you warm.

#### southernhybrid

##### Contributor

A few years later, one of my patients who was on tramadol, had what sounded like a partial seizure, so I called her doctor and asked her to change her pain med. She changed it to hydrocodone and my patient never had any negative side effects to that. So, if anyone is ever given tramadol for pain, and you start having weird brain sensations, stop the drug immediately and see if you can get you provider to order something else. I now take hydrocodone without any problems. Tramadol causes seizures in about 1% of people who take it. I'm one of the lucky ones.

Staff member