Monday, December 19, 2016

The saga of another mystery spot

Spot under here
The spot on the inside of my right ankle has been there for months and months. It is a circle the size of a nickel. I have seen blogs where people post gross photos of their skin, but I'm not going to do that. I covered it with a fun bandaid.

A while back, I asked Ellen, the physicians' assistant at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center, about it, and she said that due to my graft vs. host of the skin, things like this just take longer to heal. She said it didn't look too bad.

One night shortly after that I was looking at it and decided that I should look up ringworm because it looked like a ring. The photos looked similar. I emailed the shots to Melissa and Jenn (Dr. Lin, my primary dermatologist) and asked if they thought it was ringworm. Jenn said it did not look like a fungus. She said someone should look at it.

Cristina Powell and her artwork
So I went to Brigham Dermatology in Boston and saw her colleague, Dr. Yang. She said she could biopsy it but she could also give me an antibiotic ointment that might heal it. She gave me the ointment. I went back in a few weeks and she said it looked better and I could stop using the ointment.

But when I stopped using the ointment, it got red and painful again. Ellen said she has seen people at ECP, aka the light therapy, with spots like this that just don't go away.

When I saw Dr. Alyea recently he said he wasn't happy with a spot that doesn't go away. He said I should get the biopsy. He took a photo and sent it to Dr. Lin. She wrote, "It actually doesn’t look that bad (meaning does not look malignant), but things look different on patients who have had BMT."

I liked the first part of the sentence. I spent some time trying to parse the second part, wondering, does that mean although it doesn't look bad, it is bad? The first opening wasn't until January. I guess if someone thought it was bad they wouldn't delay the biopsy. So...

On Thursday I got a call about a cancellation the next day. It was too late to arrange for transportation. I played tennis in the morning and then got in the car in my tennis clothes and drove to Boston for a 1 p.m. biopsy. 

I spent a little time in the lobby at the medical building and looked at the beautiful artwork done by Cristina Powell, a young woman with cerebral palsy. Through her non-profit, A Brighter Way, she and her mother donate the colorful, cheerful paintings to hospitals, cancer centers and pain clinics. She makes cards, bookmarks, miniature prints and T-shirts. I usually pass by, but I had the time so I talked to both of them. And I shopped. A little something for some people I thought would like it and a little something for me.

When I got home, the stupid spot hurt like hell after the novocaine wore off, as these things do. I took something for the pain and unwrapped the packages and thought about which one to keep. Although I do not really think this is major, it is part of the drip, drip, drip, and the uncertainty that comes along with it, that can get me down. Looking at the cheerful images helped.

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