Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12

So, here's a fun story for you...

As a preface to this story, I must disclose that this week is Go To The Doctor Week. (Seriously. Monday was the dermatologist. Today was PT. Friday is the oral surgeon.) Good times. I heart co-pays.

This story comes to you from the examination room at the dermatologist's office.

A little more of a back story... I'd noticed some new moles on my face (delightful) in the last few months. I freckle really easily, and have several moles that are flesh colored, so I didn't think of much of it when the first one popped up on the point of my chin in the spring. A few weeks before surgery, I noticed another one cropping up in the middle of my chin. About the time I went back to work, I realized that I had another bump coming in just under my left eyebrow.

Uhhhhh... Time to call the dermatologist.

I mean, I get new freckles all the time, but moles are a little different and these were all coming up really quickly in a relatively short period of time. So, almost a month ago, I called the skin doctor. The soonest he could get me in was this week. (Who would have thought that dermatologists would be so busy, to be booked a month in advance?! Must be that Arizona sun that's so damaging to our skin. Note to self: possibly look into finding a dermatologist to love and marry. They may be in even higher demand than cancer doctors.)

Monday, I went in, filled out all the new patient paperwork and was seated in an exam room within ten minutes. (Holy fastest waiting-room-to-exam-room turn time ever, Batman!)

A sweet little old man doctor came in and asked me why I'd come in. He was a little entranced... or maybe concerned is a more apt word... with how many moles I have. Seriously, he could not keep his hands off my face and my arms. (It was more than a little reminiscent of my little cousin, Megan, and her fascination with my "beautiful" moles.) He asked if it was a family trait, and which parent's line it came through. (I am sorry to report that BOTH of my parents have moles. In other words, I was doomed.)

When I explained that the reason I'd come in was the new growth on my face, he got all intrigued and started pushing on each of them, individually, feeling around to see exactly what was going on.

His first thought (I know this, because he said it out loud) was that they might be warts caused by the Human Papillomavirus. (My first thought? "HPV? Maybe I should look into getting vaccinated..." I crack myself up.) Seriously, who knew that HPV could cause wart-like growths on a person's FACE?! ... Not me, that's for darn sure!

But he kept pushing around on my chin, and corrected himself, saying that it wasn't HPV. Rather, it looked like something else. Something really unusual. Something he hardly ever saw...

My thoughts? "Welcome to my life, Doctor. I have six wisdom teeth. My right ear is noticably higher than my left. (Getting new glasses to sit right is always a treat.) I can bend my thumbs to touch my wrists. I went almost eight years without having a period - until I got cancer, and now I'm as regular as clockwork. I'm missing more than one internal organ. I have a double digit scar running down my abdomen and, unaccountably, the only lasting effect of my most recent surgery is that I am unable to lift my right arm over my head. My body specializes in the unusual." ... He would so not be the first doctor to (literally) call me a freak.

And then he proceeded to tell me that what he thought he was seeing was a virus that's common in children, but really rare in adults. It doesn't happen very often, but it seems that severe stress can bring back a virus that has lain dormant for, oh... thirty years.

Apparently, my body has been in stress (childhood-wart-causing-virus-recurrent stress, no less) over the last six months. ... Who'd have thunk?

Guess who had a wart on her chin when she was in first grade?

That's right. Me.

And it was a stubborn, ugly little thing that would not go away. They tried to burn it off. It turned black, but after a few weeks, was back to flesh-colored and wouldn't go away. They tried acid. (Literally. Acid. I have very vivid memories of my dad telling me to lie still while he dripped acid onto my face in hopes of getting rid of it that way.) Nothing. ... Eventually, they had to cut it out. I mean, cut a hole around it, through my skin under my lower lip and pull it out, cut it out. Grody.

Here's hoping these new little guys aren't as stubborn as that first demon was. (Because who can't handle the thought of having multiple scars on her face? This girl.)

The treatment plan: he froze/burned them with liquid nitrogen. Per the good doctor, I should be good as new in a week or so. (I'm sort of doubting the "week" time frame, as it's been three days and I'm just now firmly in the blistering/peeling stage ... yeah, on my face, which is ever so pretty ... that he had indicated would happen overnight.) ... I'm just hoping that these three little bumps are as bad as my "recurrent childhood virus" will get.

Honestly. My body. Its weirdness never ceases to amaze me.