Making a mountain out of a molePosted: January 16, 2014
So a little before Christmas I was sat in a rather boring lecture and trying to distract myself so I didn’t nod off. I’d doodled, people watched and drank my water, so I was out and wound up biting my nails and looking at my hand.
I was looking at the mole I have on the back of my left hand.
Has it always been that shape?
I’ve had the mole for years, at least since comprehensive school (so at least 13 years) and after a while I’ve just sort of taken it as part of me. The expression “I know it like the back of my hand” in my case means, I know what’s there, but I don’t pay attention to the details.
It’s a bit of a weird colour, my mole, and a few years back my Mum took me to see the doc about it, but I got the all clear. I think part of the reason it’s a weird colour is cos I stabbed it with a pencil back in school.
Whatever, I couldn’t be certain because I hadn’t paid attention, and it’s not like I’d snapped a bunch of closeup shots of it for future reference, but the more I looked at it the more convinced I became that it was a different shape. Surely it was a much smoother oval shape before?
I’m not a hypochondriac, honest, but the more I stared at it the more I started to worry.
I don’t know much about skin cancer (as the deleted verse of “Wonderful World” goes), but I know moles changing colour and/or shape is one of the warning signs. But isn’t skin cancer mainly to do with over exposure to the Sun? I’m Welsh, until I was five all I knew about the Sun was that it tried to get me to buy margarine.
I would have Googled it, but as any fool knows, if you search for anything vaguely health related you’ll quickly become convinced that the Grim Reaper is entering your address into his Sat Nav.
I decided to go to the GP, just to check and stop myself from disappearing into paranoid cancer fantasies.
The first appointment I could get was a week later.
This led to a week of me forgetting about it and going around all carefree before remembering about the appointment and starting to plan out my funeral playlist (“Come on Eileen”, “Just a few things that I ain’t” and Rich performing “Dust in the Wind”).
The appointment was uneventful. Doc had a look at it, said it was probably nothing but he’d refer me to the dermatology department.
Christmas came along and I barely thought about it as I tried to consume my own body weight in chocolates, cider and mince pies.
Last week I went to the dermatology clinic and my skin doctor, a nice enough bloke, had a look of it and then described it with the word “atypical”.
Atypical? As in not normal?! I thought. Come on, doc, give it to me straight, how long have I got left?
He said I’d have to come back the following week and have it removed but first would I mind having my mole photographed for teaching purposes (calling to mind the old Steve Martin gag “First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me”)
I walked up and saw he’d written a scientific phrase on my slip of paper “Lichenoid Keratosis”. That sounded heavy.
I broke my health Google rule. Luckily half the results seemed to include the word “benign” which set my mind slightly at rest.
The photo shoot was weird. I had to pose my hand on a board and have two women snap photos while talking to each other and ignoring me aside from my hand. I imagine this is how non-famous partners/friends of celebrities feel, having to stand around while everyone pays attention to them.
So, today I went back to have the mole cut out.
It was pretty cool, and I watched some of the process, which was just surreal. I could see the guy cutting a chunk out of my hand and yet felt completely fine, and then watched him stitch me up. All I felt was a slight pulling as he tightened the stitches. Apparently I’m gonna have a little scar on the back of my hand, which I hope will look stigmata-like.
Anyway, I was going to post a picture of the stitches, but I have to keep my dressing on for 48 hours, so here’s my bandaged hand, with my rather messy sink in the background.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.