Mandy Banton, London, 21st July 2021
Dear Dr Koutroumanos
I’ve been worrying that I have not thanked you sufficiently for your excellent care and expertise over the last two years – maybe I have, but I thought I’d be happier if I put something in writing.
I can’t expect you to remember our first encounter. I had already had two skin cancers removed from my face, one surgically the other by radiotherapy. I then developed a third tumour, very close to my eye, and was in discussion with various specialists – all having different opinions about the best way forward. Your secretary then phoned wanting to make an appointment. I tried to put her off – thinking I could not cope with yet another specialism – but she was very firm (also kind) – this was a consultant to consultant referral, she said, and she really did need to make an appointment.
As soon as I met you I knew that you were someone I could talk to – no, that is not actually right, I’m not frightened of talking to consultants – it was more that I felt you would listen. You laughed when I said I was totally confused (I was also rather desperate) and said something along the lines of ‘yes, we are all inclined to think our way of doing things is the best way’. You suggested we speak to the lead dermatology consultant. Amazingly he was available, and we went to his office to discuss the matter. You then brow-beat (is that too strong an expression?) him into agreeing that Mohs surgery followed by eyelid reconstruction by you was a better option than more radiotherapy, which I was dreading. It must have played havoc with your clinic timings but you showed no sign of impatience. So I am everlastingly grateful.
You carried out that first procedure in July 2019. I was terrified, but you put me at ease and the result was excellent. During a follow-up appointment that November you said that you didn’t need to see me again, but then changed your mind and arranged a further appointment one year later. By then I had just developed what seemed to be a tiny spot in the corner of my other eye which I would probably have neglected but of course mentioned to you; it was another basal cell carcinoma. After a further Mohs procedure you carried out a second eyelid cancer reconstruction in February this year with equally excellent results.
The dermatologists tell me that I will almost certainly get more BCCs, and probably on my face. Of course, I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does you may see me again. I know I will be in safe hands.
Thank you, thank you – and very best wishes