Thursday, August 2, 2007

Just A Little Pinch

So, I had a breast biopsy yesterday. For those of you who love me (and it is so very nice that there are SEVERAL of you), you don't have to gasp and grab your chest to quiet your faltering heart, it wasn't that kind of biopsy - it was a biopsy of a mole on my breast. My dermatologist found it during my yearly checkup with her. She asked me how long it had been there and if it had changed, because she had not made a note about it last year. I hesitated, then told her I thought it had been there for years and years and had never changed but, honestly? I wasn't really sure. I am very aware that one of the rolls on my stomach has gotten bigger this summer (damn you, iced sugar cookies from the bakery!) and I'm sure I have more cellulite dimples on my thighs, but that mole on my breast? That's just not an area I look at closely in the mirror that often.

She assured me that she thought it was fine, but it was a little irregularly shaped and a little red, so she wanted to do a biopsy just to make sure. I'm fine with making sure. I'm absolutely fine with it. I just wasn't too sure about a biopsy. The nurse reclined my table and pulled out the bottom part where your legs go and set up this little table with a clean white cloth and...a needle (A NEEDLE) and a small scalpel (A SCALPEL). The doctor came in and I wanted to ask if it would hurt but I felt like a baby asking that so I didn't. She picked up something from the table - I don't know what, I wasn't about to watch what she was doing to my breast - and said "Little pinch, little sting". And that's all it was. Then she touched me gently with one finger and said softly "Can you feel that at all?" And I said no and I guess she picked up the scalpel and cut a piece out of me because I just felt a little pressure and it was over. She put a little round band aid over it and they told me to keep it clean and covered and they will let me know the results next week but they are sure it is nothing.

So, here's the point of this post. I'm sure it's nothing. I trust her when she said it was nothing. But, if it was something? They will have found it very early and we will take care of it. And they found it early because I see a dermatologist every year for a checkup. Do you?

I actually went for the first time a couple of years ago because I was annoyed (not concerned, just annoyed) by this sun damage spot on my face. I was very surprised when the nurse told me to undress completely, down to my panties and put on a gown. I guess I thought she would look at my face and that would be it. But when you have a checkup with a dermatologist, they check you from head to toe. Every mole, every mark, everything. And they ask questions about them. And then they burn off whatever they don't like. Actually, I guess it's technically freezing it off but it burns like 1,000 suns directed through a magnifying glass onto my skin, so it seems like burning to me. The last time I was there, she burned off this rather large mole that had developed in my hairline (it wasn't actually a mole, but I forget what she called it. Something not dangerous, but large and annoying.) and when the frozen stuff hit that mole, it went right through my skin and into my brain and I think it burned a few brain cells because it hurt like holy hell. But then the mole peeled right off in a few days and it was worth it. And she told me I should have a checkup every year and my insurance would cover it. This time, she burned off that sun damage place on my face so now I have a lovely, swollen, mutant brown spot on the left cheek, just in time to go out for dinner with some friends.

So, the important thing is, if I have anything strange developing on my skin on any part of my body, she will find it. And take care of it. And that's very reassuring. I would be much more reassured if I knew that all my friends and family saw a dermatologist once a year for a checkup.

Do you? Then make an appointment right now. Right now.


Elizabeth said...

I agree everyone should make a yearly appointment at the dermatologist!
At my last appointment, they took off a mole that had atypical cells in it. If they had not taken it off when they did, it would have developed into skin cancer!

Check your skin! Wear sunscreen! Having a tan is not worth dying!