August 21, 2012
I had a dermatologist appointment this morning — my super-exciting annual mole check. Sexy, right? Sorry to shatter any fantasies about what my hot, droopy mother-of-three body might look like in person, because seriously: I am covered in weird-ass moles.
The good news is that none of my weird-ass moles are dangerously weird. They are all perfectly normal-weird. Hooray!
(Though I still requested a quick liquid-nitrogen blast to the face for a normal-but-crazy-annoying sun spot I developed on my cheek during pregnancy. I go back in a month for another one, or possibly a follow-up with a laser. What a wonderful time to be alive! Nitrogen blasts at your convenience! Prescription-strength lasers! Botulism shots on a walk-in basis!)
But then, there's my ear. My ear is apparently very, very weird.
For about as long as I can remember, I've had a small lump in front of my right ear. It's under the skin, perfectly round, and not particularly hard OR soft. It never hurt or anything, it was just...well, weird. I remember going to a doctor about it when I was very young, but don't really remember what the diagnosis was. Extra cartilage? A benign cyst?
No idea, and my mom doesn't remember either. Something of the "mumble mumble fine harmless as long as it doesn't change or get bigger mumble" variety.
Welp. Fine. Until it changed and got bigger.
I think it started when I was pregnant with Ike, then continued after he was born, but now it's a LUMP. An annoying, visible lump. It's super itchy and freaks me out when I touch it, because it manages to be both solid and immovable while also...squishy and fluid-filled.
(OH HI WERE YOU EATING? I'm sorry, maybe I should have just let everybody Google around for pictures of my bizarre skin condition. Because THAT always goes so well.)
Thanks to Google, I'd managed to diagnose myself with a variety of Things, ranging from benign and no-big-deal to OH MY GOD YOUR BRAIN IS FILLING WITH CANCER THIS VERY SECOND.
I wasn't sure the dermatologist was the best place to take the lump, but I had the appointment set up already and figured I could get a recommendation for an ENT or whatever kind of doctor they felt would be the appropriate medical destination for the lump.
(Lump. Lump! It's starting to not even feel like a real word the more I type it.)
Turns out, the dermatologist knew exactly what it was, and it was NONE of the things I'd researched on Google. It's basically a rogue, malformed sinus that I've had since birth, since I was an embryo. "Like, it happens when the cells are still splitting," she explained, not without a slight hint of OMFG THIS IS SO COOL excitement.
The next thing I knew, I was the show-and-tell exhibit of the entire practice. Two physician's assistants came in to ooh and ahh over the lump. Medical references were pulled out and passed around. An official multi-word diagnosis was announced to me (and then promptly forgotten). Usually, this sort of thing is accompanied by a small extra hole for draining, but I don't have that, so that's why the lump is getting bigger and more uncomfortable.
So basically, the lump is full of face-juice and probably boogers. Great. Just...great.
But that still didn't mean my disgusting aural mucus blob wasn't HOT SHIT at the dermatologist's office. My doctor pulled in another dermatologist to look at it, a much older gentleman I've never seen at the practice before.
My doctor introduced him to me. "He invented ACCUTANE," she added proudly.
So. Okay. How does one respond to that? I mean, if you were normal and not at all a failure at basic human interaction (aka me)? You came in for a mole check and suddenly the inventor of Accutane is standing three feet away from you and would like to see the weird thing you've got going on with your ear.
I think I stammered out something about it being nice to meet him and like, wow and shit, I've seen your medication advertised on the teevee, hurrr durrrr, and then apologized for the lump really being kind of boring looking. It's just skin, you know? No blood or oozing or tiny fetus in fetu teeth sticking out of it, or anything cool like that.
The doctors hmm'd and ahhh'd over the lump and I was given several cards for several local plastic surgeons who could determine whether it should be drained or surgically removed, and then the older doctor asked if he could take a picture.
"Oh...kay?" I said.
And that's how I ended up getting a photo of my weird-ass ear lump taken by the Inventor of Accutane this morning for future medical posterity, or perhaps his personal scrapbook of weird-ass dermatological shit. I didn't ask.