Sunday, October 5, 2014

Out, out, damned spot!*

(* or: My First Cancer)
Don't pick at that spot!
It started as a zit -- or that's what I thought it was. But zits typically aren't persistent enough to come back to the same place over several years -- especially once one is in their 50s and safely past pubescent hormonal fluctuations. (In my case, any hormonal fluctuations at all.) Of course, the first time I consulted a dermatologist about it, the spot in question had gone into hiding. The other bumps I had examined and excised at that time proved innocent, so I was hopeful that the blemish that made regular visits to my nose was harmless, too.

This summer, though, the damned spot came and stayed. It bled. It got red. And bigger. It had to go. 

Long story short, a month ago I had the spot scooped out and scrutinized, and as my dermatologist suspected, it was indeed a basal cell carcinoma. The literature says that if you're going to have an epidermal malignancy, BCC is the way to go, as it doesn't metastasize. It can, however, run more than skin deep, and the procedure I had may have left some of the overachieving cells behind. So I'll be keeping an eye on my nose -- and on all those other freckles, bumps, moles, and "age spots" that dot my carcass like points of interest on a roadmap. 
I guess as long as nobody else is going to take an interest in my body, it might as well be my dermatologist. I just wish I didn't have to pay for the attention.