Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Of all the things... it is needles.

I really want to like my dermatologist.  He genuinely seems like a nice man.  The two times that I have talked to him.  On the occasion of my two visits.  

My first ever visit to him was last year at the prompting of my girls who think it is nuts that I, their mom who lives to be in the sunshine, has never, not once visited a dermatologist or even considered their importance.   

I as a mom who still uses only Ivory soap and water to wash my face... who does not moisturize other than to stay hydrated...who is not a huge proponent of sunscreen... before you come at me, I made sure all 7 of my kids were slathered, but by that time I was done with them, I already had been exposed for significant time, or I got distracted, and hey I just do not burn. 

Last year, I went to my family physician recommended dermatologist, who gave me a thorough once over.  He checked my scalp, where I have a hidden mole (that until this moment only my hairdresser and my husband and he knew about) to the bottoms of my feet, even between my toes.  

Because that was my first visit, he was great at documenting all the areas that he thought were areas that needed to be looked at again later (none) and the location and information about other skin uniqueness that I have (several life time moles/patches of freckles etc) so that he had a base for my future visits.   

Because I do not; actually I refuse to google anything related to my health, I had no actual idea what went on at a dermatologists office.  I have come to understand however,  if you have a suspicious skin issue, they like to deal with it immediately.  

This does not work well for me.  While the spot on my back last year was not new, it had been a life long friend, when said doctor spied it, he thought perhaps it would be best for me to sever that relationship and send it out for some testing.   

Sure I said, I will make an appointment and come back with my support woobie and a hand to hold next week.  "Nah", he said, "it would be simple."  He would make the area numb and cut out the spot and slap a bandaid on it and I would be fine.    STILL NOT OKAY !  

At this time, I explained to him my irrational and intense fear of all things needles (not the cutting part) the needle part.  The needle needed to make the area numb.  He brought in his assistant who sacrificed her hand to be my fill in woobie, and after some intense sweating, fretting, wiggling, squeezing of hands and puffing mouth noises it was over.  

I left, made an appointment for this year.  Got a call a week later indicating that nothing was suspicious about the mole they removed from my back, and life went on.  Never, not once, did I think about the dermatologist again.  

Fast forward to the robo call reminding me of my upcoming yearly exam.  Then the email to check in online.  Even sitting in the waiting room, I was still not concerned or even remembering the last visit, because last year he said my skin looked great.  That he had no concerns.  

I get prepared for him to come in for the exam.  He says hello.  Takes one look at my forehead and says, "that's new",  pointing at my forehead.  Oh yea, that.... it has been there a bit, I thought at first it was a bug bite.  It was red and itchy, and bumpy, but then just sort of blended in with my skin, although the bump, never actually went away.  

Next words out of his mouth..."we are going to biopsy that today."  WHAT!  NO ! I said, "look I really want to like you sir, but you make it hard.  Last year you cut me and this year you are going to stick a needle in my forehead. "  I am not okay with this.  I am not prepared for this at all.  

He sort of laughed, until he remembered how traumatic last years appointment was for me.  I think he also glanced at his notes where it must say...."this patient looks like a grown woman, but acts like a baby". 

He begins to tell me that he is 96% certain that this is a basal cell carcinoma, and it will have to be surgically removed, but first he needs to confirm with the biopsy so he can refer me to the surgeon.  He continues about how simple it will be.... my focus is slipping,  my heart starts pounding, my hands get clammy, my legs start shaking, my breathings a bit irregular ....  I am so fearful of needles. 

Since I am already in a reclined position, and strategically there is already a cart of supplies behind my head, (since now I know this is a standard procedure that is often carried out in a dermatology office, I just did not recognize the signs upon arrival),  he instructs his nurse to come to my side and start thumping my forehead to distract me.  

Literally, she is thumping me with her finger in the middle of my forehead, to which I reply that is not helping me, that I need something to hold.  She offers her hand.  The thumping continues, as a matter of fact the doctor that I would like to be a fan of, tells her to do it harder, she wont hurt me... and she does.  

The prick, the sting, all of it is making it hard to breathe.  I hate needles.  I am alone with strangers.  While I have never read of a person who died at the dermatologist because they biopsied a skin spot, I can't help but think I could be the first.  

He finishes.  I release that poor woman's hand. I hope she has since regained feeling in that hand. I sit up. I feel a bit off.  He waits for a few minutes until I seem to have normalized, he has me stand up so that he can finish my exam.  No other concerns.  Every thing looks great. 

As he is preparing to leave the room, he reminds me again, that the results will be in next week.  He will make referral for the surgeon, that I have to keep this small round bandage on the spot for a week, changing it daily, and that he will see me next year.  

I reply to him, "Yes you will see me next year sir, but I will not be alone!  I will be with my person.  My life size woobie."  The one that holds my hand and only mocks me a little for being such a wuss.  

Life lesson learned today: No more doctors visits alone.  Period. End of discussion!  Also, those small round bandaids are visible. No they do not blend in with my skin tone, and yea it is so cold here in  Florida I can probably wear my boggin for the next 5 of the 7 days!! 


As life progresses, and yellow and red flags start creeping into my 50 years of excellent health, I am reminded that it is what it is, and all you can do is make the best of it.  But I sure hope it does not always involve needles!!!! 

You just can't make this stuff up!   


1 comment:

  1. You poor thing! I'm sorry you had to go through that alone. You are a BRAVE woman! Good for you! I'm proud of you!