Monday, May 17, 2010
I've got a Boo-Boo (or three)
Today was the day. I was sliced, diced and frozen all in one sitting. And folks, I am not talking about food here. I am talking about my skin... or what is left of it in certain spots.
A few years ago my dad had a run in with skin cancer. Since I am as pale as Casper on a good day, and know that my years of slathering on baby oil to fry in the sun would one day catch up to me, I decided to have my doctors do a mole, freckle and skin inspection for anything suspicious.
My days of looking like a Maine lobster, red from the pot were long gone. However the skin damage from those days gone by catches up to you years later. Take it from one who knows, and who silently curses those with gorgeous, glowing brown skin and wonderful genes.
Today I walked into the procedure room and was greeted by the nurse. As she laid out various instruments of torture, I asked her about the process. She said we should wait for the doctor to come in. Within moments there was a tap on the door and in walked the doctor, a resident, and another young man young enough to be my son. The young man, sensing I was a bit uncomfortable baring body parts to 3 strange men said he would leave if need be-but I told him it was fine, I'd had kids and there is nothing more intimate than opening your legs and pushing in front of complete strangers male and female, so he could just stay right where he was if he wanted.
After a few nervous laughs by all, I showed the doctors my areas of concern. All appeared just fine, but some were in areas that needed removal. I had a large skin tag right on my bra line, that always seemed to catch my underwire bra at the wrong time. That one was definitely a goner. Another skin tag on my back shoulder-which I actually thought was a mole-that one needed to go too. And finally some sort of ugly warty looking thing which had sprouted out of my forehead within the last month or two. (I told them all I had considered leaving it on for Halloween and dressing up as a witch, which would have been perfect, lol.)
First up, my forehead. They decided they would cut it off and put some sort of gel or whatever on it to keep it from bleeding. But first, the needles. Ah, the numbing process. I asked them how deep the needle was going in-the resident smiled and said that it wouldn't penetrate my skull or anything but I would feel some slight burning. Gee thanks, see that's what I get for watching too many darn horror movies I said to the group assembled over me peering at my forehead. Of course, the warty thing had to appear right where I have a huge patch of white or gray hair (that I tell my colorist to make sure she covers up) and it was only drawing attention to an area that did not need any help since I kind of resemble a striped skunk if I let the darn hair grow out without color for a certain amount of time.
So in goes the needle, and then the burn. But oh no, one was not enough. They decided to torture me with TWO. Lucky for them, they numbed it up good. No screaming came from the room at all. The implements of torture were working just fine. But then when they mentioned two more needles at the other sites, I asked them what about freezing it off with liquid nitrogen. Hmmm, definitely a possibility. Off runs the nurse to get the mixture.
When she returns, I lift up my johnny and we get started on the bra area. Freezing them off consists of dipping some plier like things or scissors into very cold water. They get it at the very stalk, and do it three times, each time it turns white. I kept my eyes closed. I really did not want to see. Both areas received this same treatment, and while it stings a bit it was much better than more needles. The areas are red, and within a few days the skin tags will fall off. I will spare you the photos of that area, since this is not WebMD or anything like that. But rest assured, it does work.
Now that I have chattered way too much in the doctor's office (it was the nerves talking, folks) the nurse asks me if I would like to do the fun part. Considering I had no idea that there even WAS a fun part to any of this, I asked her what she meant. She hands me the very cold liquid nitrogen cup and tells me to throw it on the carpet. I felt like a kid about to do something very naughty... but she was telling me to do it, so she'd be the one to blame if something went horribly wrong. So I tossed the contents onto the floor and immediately a cloud of white smoke came up, my daughter would have thought that was too cool! I thought it was too cool, but figured I would be pushing my luck if I asked her to get some more so I could do it again.
Right now, as I write this, the forehead is pounding, and my bra is off and the girls are resting comfortably. My skin tags still hurt a bit but in a few days my agony should subside. But the great thing is that I passed the test, all moles and freckles appeared normal and my years of not slathering on SPF 45 have not caused major damage or skin cancer. So blog readers, be aware of any changes to your moles, freckles, etc... and be sure to wear lots of sunscreen when you are out and about this year enjoying your summer. And if my hairdresser happens to read this, rest assured we will have an appointment within the next 2 weeks :) photo above for your viewing enjoyment of my boo-boo (I wanted a cool Barbie Band-aid but the nurse said they were all out) excuse the bad angle, you have no idea how hard it is to photo your forehead with only one eye open. Have a great night folks!