Hypochondriacs rule!

Don’t tell a hypochondriac something looks “funny” and let it at that! You may as well tell her she’s going to die.

Last week I had a skin biopsy. Nothing much to worry about. Just a weird mark but it was on my face. It wasn’t a mole, just a mark.

It started with a whole body cancer skin check with a physician’s assistant. She found a few things to freeze off. They always do but none were suspicious. Most were in annoying spots or itchy. I have a bad habit of scratching where I itch so I scrape off the top repeatedly. Best to have those removed.

Then she noticed the red spot on the side bridge of my nose where the pads of my glasses rest. She looked with a magnifying glass that could see into my soul. She repositioned a lamp that would light up the continent. I was sure the spot was looking as big as a dinosaur and could be seen from the space station.

She hemmed and hawed. Finally she said, “I don’t know. This is probably nothing but it’s odd looking. I’m going to have the doctor look at it.”

I sat in a waiting room stark naked with my paper cover that wasn’t at all attractive or warm until the doc came in. It was a repeat of your least favorite show. He hemmed and hawed. Finally he said, “I’m not sure. We can let it go and check it again or biopsy it.”

I am a hypochondriac. Last fall my eye doc took a picture of my retina and said it was a funny color and she didn’t know why. She didn’t recommend anything to do. I went home and stewed about it assured I would be blind any day. Finally after six months (yes, in the middle of the pandemic) I went to a different eye doctor to have it checked and he said there wasn’t anything there to be concerned about.

With that experience it didn’t take long for me to decide. If I waited I would be checking the size every day. It would be hard to get a good size reading so when it appeared bigger I wouldn’t have a good day. I’d have to get paint chip samples so I can compare the color. Is it redder than it was yesterday? Maybe the same. The odd location would make all comparisons harder so I would be obsessed with it. I would compose my obituary hoping the headline didn’t read killed by a spot on her nose. Yes, this is who I am.

I had it biopsied the same day. She said it would be a small sample. I’m not sure what her idea of small is but she took out a ¼ inch square piece of skin. I had a small biopsy a few years back and they didn’t take out much more than a pin head. It was all complicated by my glasses resting on the spot. Healing is taking longer because of the location. I have to keep a band aid on it during the day.

This week I got the results. Basal cell carcinoma. That’s not the worst kind of cancer but more flesh has to be removed. Did I mention it’s on my nose? At the bridge where there isn’t a lot of skin? Who said hypochondriacs are nuts? Had I not pressed for the biopsy it would have been an even bigger surgery when they finally figured it out. This year is one for the books!

98 thoughts on “Hypochondriacs rule!

  1. Oh wow – sometimes it’s good to be a hypochondriac and not just brush it off. I became somewhat of a germaphobe when I brought home a bad cold and gave my mom walking pneumonia about 20 years ago. After that I became obsessed with ensuring I never got sick again. So COVID really wigs me out, but because I am always careful about not touching my face and being careful, hopefully I stay healthy. As to your surgery and basal cell carcinoma … not a great spot to have it. I wear glasses too, so hopefully, you could wear your glasses a little farther down your nose to still see. I’ve worn glasses since age 7 so am blind as a bat. My good friend/neighbor Marge had the same cancer as you, also on her nose and had “chunks” removed three times. She liked the sun and liked working out in her garden or sitting on the deck … the third time after having “chunks” removed from her nose, she changed her mindset on the sun. She got rattan shades for the deck and wore a straw hat in the garden after that. In the long run, she passed away from COPD, but on a positive note, the cancer on her nose NEVER returned again.

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    • The word “chunks” is scary! I had eye correction surgery so I can see distance just fine. I need glasses for reading and computer work and I do a lot of that. At first “they say” the bandage is bulky. I will concentrate on TV shows then. Your neighbor is nuts. I’ve always been sun conscious and use a sunscreen every single day even when it rains. One experience would have been enough for me to pull out full sun gear that looks like I’m on a safari in Africa.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did lay out in the sun when I was younger despite my mom saying I’d look like shoe leather when I got older. I usually am out early before the sun’s rays are high but have had a few bad burns in my traveling days when in tropical climates as I am fair skinned. Yes, I wondered after the first episode of skin cancer why in the world she would not take any precautions and believe it or not, her son who lives there now, likes to lay out in the sun or do yard work at the heat of the day to get a tan and he is very fair. I want to shake him. All the precautions you took surely should have kept you from having this happen.

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        • When we were younger (and you are younger than me), everyone tried to get a tan because they thought it looked better, even healthier. Today we know better. I’ve wondered if the young women still do that or if they are wiser. Spray tans weren’t available when I was young. Then again, I don’t look good in orange.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ha ha – no one looks good in orange, not matter how good they think they look. Those first spray on tans really were orange – I’ve never used them. I am 64 1/2. I was reminded of that age when the insurance agent where I get my Obamacare through sent me a postcard to say he’d be in touch in January for Medicare. The card said Happy 64 1/2th birthday … good thing I’m not vain about my age – now the postman knows. I can remember girls laying in the sun with aluminum foil sheets propped up next to their faces and necks to attract more rays. Some girls in high school laid out on the garage roof as the black roof attracted the sun. My handyman says to me “black roofs are the worst – I’m sweatin’ bullets as soon as I start your gutters.” I wanted a sunlamp “like the other girls” and this was after high school, when I had a job and was working and going to college . My mom cautioned against it and said “you’ll be sorry and you’ll get burned, maybe hurt your eyes.” But of course, nothing would do that I not get it. I went and got one. Just one that clamped onto to something, a table I think. Sure enough, I looked like a raccoon, burned around the special sunglasses you get. Last time I used it and never tried to get a tan again. Marge, my neighbor, after the second nose cancer spot, bought a gazebo for her deck … it was wrought-iron with the canvas roof supposedly to protect her from the sun – it did nothing but shade her head – the sun still poured through each side as they were open, not the kind with curtains. After the third time, she got rattan blinds for either side of the gazebo. She wore glasses too but her issues were closer to the tip of her nose.

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  2. Oh boy, glad you got that checked out while still so tiny, but sorry to hear the result and more tissue removal. I completely relate to the hypochondria though.

    Keeping positive, healing thoughts for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Basal Cell right smack in the middle of my forehead in 2016. Didn’t look anything like I would have thought skin cancer would look like but it was a small “sore” that wouldn’t heal. Dr didn’t think it looked like anything but she took a good chunk out for a biopsy and then later took a larger area out. Not a lot of skin on the bony forehead either. Vaseline was my friend. Healed up quite well and so will you. I am so sorry you are having to mess with this but if it has to be skin cancer, basal cell is less worrisome. Moh’s is the only way to go and make a pitcher of Margaritas. I’m going to be thinking about you!

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  4. Oh, my. I’m so glad you had it checked. And I hope it heals quickly never to return. Noses are very important. Your felines will be there for you, don’t worry. I think naps are in order and maybe someone should bring you breakfast in bed for a while. Yes, I think that is deserved.

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  5. Oh Kate….what an ordeal. It’s good you insisted on the biopsy and it was early stage. I would have because I have hypochondriac tendencies too. I never understand people who can not worry and just brush things off – are they born that way?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t properly compartmentalize things like this. If I didn’t resolve it, there would be a niggling thing going on in the back of my mind and I would be at peace. When I was a kid, there was an older woman up the street. She had a large (like maybe 1 to 2 inches) lump on her forehead. She refused to go to the doc because she didn’t want his to “cut it out.” She was afraid of knives. She died from it. I don’t like procedures, hospitals, cuts, etc. either but waiting longer is not usually a good idea.

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  6. Basal Cell Carcinoma tends to have a good outcome when caught early (i.e., at the “hmm, I don’t know” stage). So do not worry. Just schedule the Moh’s and think positive thoughts!

    And it wouldn’t hurt to pour yourself a glass of wine a time or two in the interim.

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  7. Oh Kate, I’m so sorry, but at least they’re doing something. Now you’ll have to work out how to wear your glasses without balancing them on your nose. If they are varifocals like mine and don’t sit ‘just so’ everything is out of focus. Bummer. Good luck.

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  8. Maybe you can get some lenses like the jewelers used to wear – on a forehead headband ring and the lines swing up and down HAHA
    I wold have fretted, too. Better safe than sorry -especially this time. You have skin tones like my dad and his family – all of his brothers have had early cancer spots removed – runs in families even if they do blame their farm years. dad had to struggle with nose splotch removals – and the glasses nose pieces.Scarring wasn’t his concern, just the darn glasses.
    You’re right about 2020. Looking for a meteor strike isn’t seeming so far fetched.
    Glad you stuck with your hunches

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think my doctor thinks that I’m a hypochondriac. Actually, he’s not a licensed medical doctor but something about being a physician’s assistant. He’s super slow in typing his notes and I’m allotted a whole half-hour, 25 minutes of which is going over my latest blood test results. I have to keep mentioning something I’m concerned about for 3 or 4 appointments before he might actually pay attention to me. I’m so glad you’re being proactive! Happy healing!

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    • Hopefully it will be over soon. I’m in a holding pattern waiting for the docs to check records before they schedule the next surgery. The nurse said they recommend getting it done within 3 months hoping it’s sooner rather than later.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. oh how good that your senses suggested you the right thing to do. Mark had one on his back what turned into a nightmare …. and I always feel like sitting in glowing coals when he has to go to annual checkup and treatment … fortunately he found a good doc who has time for his patients and removes everything what looks suspect… hugs to you and POTP for a good healing…

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  11. Your post is helpful and a good reminder, Kate. “Odd looking” does not help. It sounds like ‘the experts’ were being thorough, yet ‘experts’ can vary in their expert opinions. Then, as I read further…..WOW. Listen to that niggly feeling. I am glad you had the biopsy and had it removed.

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  12. First, I’m sorry about your diagnosis. Having even a “not very scary” cancer is still scary!

    Second, good for you! Be your own advocate and researcher. Doctors are so very fallible. I had a friend who hadn’t been feeling well and got bloodwork done. Her doctor pooh-poohed an abnormal protein count my friend pointed out, and it was my friend who diagnosed HER OWN ACTIVE MYELOMA. And thank goodness she did, found another doctor, and got treatment.

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  13. I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from the side of my face when I was 30. 30!!! My doc told me it couldn’t be cancer because I was too young for this type of cancer. HAH! The surgeon had me come back for several years for checkups because, according to him the question was not if I would get more but WHEN. He’s long dead now. 31 years later, I am still waiting for WHEN to happen. And WHEN it does, it won’t be as devastating to me as that first diagnosis.

    Deb

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    • That was young. I would prefer the side of my face to my nose bridge but you get what you get. It’s true that people who get skin cancer are more likely to get it again. The weird thing is that this spot didn’t look suspicious. It was a red mark similar to a red mark you get from your glasses sitting there. Yay for you for fighting it off.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Well, that’s a good story in its own awful, but healthy, way. You just never know when seeing a doctor, whether they know what’s going on or not. That’s my life experiences with the profession. I’m glad you pushed for finding the truth of things. Stay healthy, my friend.

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    • I doubt that I am wise but I don’t like the unknown and it would have bothered me. Most people would have opted out as the doc wasn’t even sure himself if it should be done. I could seriously see me with paint or makeup samples trying to figure out if it’s getting worse or not. Too much other stuff to worry about.

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    • For anyone adverse to procedures, this would allow an easy escape. “Oh no” is another phrase that shouldn’t be uttered at a doc’s office. I could do a whole post on what you don’t want to hear when you are there! This isn’t life ending so all is well. Just another stressor added.

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  15. Sounds like par for the course in this 2020 year. I hope the next procedure goes smoothly for you. My yearly check ups start tomorrow with upcoming appointments over the next few weeks – yearly physical, gynecologist, dermatologist, mammogram and my five year colonoscopy (ugh). I hope none of these has 2020 results. 😬

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    • This was kind of my last one. I never received a reminder from my gyno so I should call. I’m on a two year cycle and this is the year for it. Everything is so upside down. The one good thing is that my dermatologist isn’t crazy. I can walk in (with mask), get my temperature taken and go to a room. No sitting in a car in a parking lot until my turn comes. I have to celebrate the small things because it seems that’s all there is.

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  16. Oh gosh – good for you trusting your hypochrondriacal self (I know that’s not a word but I like it) asking for the biopsy. As a veteran of various skin cancers from basal to melanoma, it’s better to just do it even if it’s “I’m not sure but it looks funny”. Funny = possibilities. That is a tough spot since there’s not much skin there but it will heal super fast – There’s a great skin restorative cream that my dermatologist gave me after I had a squamous cell removed from my cheek last year – CALCIFATE. Healed up quickly and NO scar. Good to have that yearly check of the whole body even though those paper robes are DRAFTY!

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is the first time they have found any type of skin cancer. I have lots of barnacles they freeze off but no cancers. Last time I was there 2-1/2 years ago, the doc put me on an every 2 years checkup which I thought was odd since I am getting older. My original apt was early May. They were doing virtual checkups and there was no way I was going to sit naked in front of my computer! 🙂 This was the next appointment I could get. I’ve only been aware of the spot for a few months. I thought it was the normal glasses groove I get. I will ask about the cream. The biopsy is 10 days out and still not completely healed. I have kept a bandaid on during the day because my glasses sit there. I normally take a fleece throw along with me because I’m always cold. This time they had one for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fleece blanket is a nice touch! I go every six months because I have had recurrent melanoma and other skin cancers since 2006. Sure glad for great dermatologists. Amazing that some people say “oh it’s just a little skin cancer” – no such thing! Hope it heals soon – probably even though you have a bandaid the slight rubbing with the glasses may be slowing things down a little.

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  17. I didn’t hit ‘like’ on this one, but I’m glad things are being checked out and managed. I go for my yearly in a couple of weeks. The older I get the more I feel like an old tree with lichens of all types. I hate going but know that it is the safest option. Ah, these Golden Years added to 2020 is some days more than any of us can handle. Stay well and try to keep the glasses on but elevated. As if that is possible. 🙂

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    • I have not come up with a good position for the glasses. I need them for close work and computer work but not distance. Technically I can drive without them but not use the computer. So many things have happened this year (all bad) that I no longer say “what else can happen” because something can. I wasn’t expecting this and even when they took the biopsy, I didn’t expect it to show anything. What a year.

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