FYI, this might turn into one of those “preachy, PSA-type” posts that I generally hate reading. But I think it’s kinda important so bear with me. Also, I talk about blood and scabs so if you’re squeamish, consider yourself warned.
Two weeks before my May 22 wedding I noticed a little pimple-looking thing on my right shoulder. Being the incredibly vain person we all know and love, I attempted to pop it. My dress was strapless and I wanted this thing to go away! I broke the skin and it started bleeding. Ok, no big deal. It’ll just scab over and clear up in the next 2 weeks.
But it didn’t. Not even a little bit.
It scabbed over, but never actually healed. In the shower my loofa (loufa? Whatever.) would remove the scab. It would come off while I was sleeping. And every time it bled a LOT. This concerned me, but to be honest, I had a wedding to worry about so I just accepted it and moved on. If it was still there for the wedding my photographers could Photoshop it out of the pictures.
On my wedding day, it was still there, scabbed over. I left it alone for most of the day, but literally MINUTES before we were announced I, like an idiot, scratched it and opened the wound. And it bled. And I was wearing a white dress. Thank GOD Josh had a small, clear band aid (it was actually for foot blisters, but worked beautifully in this case.) I put it on right as our entrance music began and we walked into the reception like champs.
See it? Ugh. Also, hello, linebacker shoulders. Photo by Linczak Photography, cropping by me.
Over the summer it would partially heal, open back up, heal almost completely, open back up, and so-on. I kept saying, “I gotta get this checked out. I’ll do it eventually.” My mom noticed it, friends noticed it, Josh noticed it, and all told me, “Emily, please go have some one look at that.” Truthfully, I was scared of what they might find. I’m a self-admitted sun lover. I’ve used tanning beds many, many times. There is no history of skin cancer in my family, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen to me.
Yesterday I finally went to the dermatologist (if you’re in the DC/MD area and need one please let me know, I’d be more than happy to pass along his info.) I wasn’t nervous, necessarily, just anxious to get a definite answer. The doctor was AMAZING. He was attentive, personable, didn’t make me feel stupid or that I was wasting his time. He was young (dare I say kind of cute?) and very knowledgeable. He asked me a few questions, urged me (gently) to stay away from the tanning beds, and pretty much identified the problem right away.
He told me it was something called “pyogenic granuloma.” They are always benign (whew!), but he wanted to remove it and send it to the lab just to be sure. And he did. Like, right then and there. So with no hand to hold (and holding back tears) he injected me with a local anesthetic, sliced that baby off, and cauterized the incision, all within the span of about 3 minutes.
Although I’m still waiting for the results, I can say with 99% certainty it’s probably nothing. However, I’m SO glad I got it checked out. The whole ordeal was a bit of a wake-up call for me. I need to stop using tanning beds (self-tanner isn’t all that bad, I guess.) I need to use more sunscreen. I need to keep an eye on my moles and freckles for any new ones that pop up or existing ones that change. Basically, I need to get serious about my skin.
Like I said up top, I don’t want to be preachy, but I urge all of you to do a check of your skin and your moles and if you see anything weird, have a doctor look at it as soon as you can. And as the ladies of Cosmopolitan say, Practice Safe Sun!
Have you had moles or other weird “skin things” removed?