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Monday, March 3, 2008


I'm three months late getting my six-month dermatology check-up since my melanoma was taken out last summer. Conner had a check-up, too, as he is just a moley kinda kid and had his first one taken out last summer, too -- his first mole, that is. Thankfully it wasn't melanoma. But now, thanks to his mom (and her mom) for giving him his family history there are likely a few more mole removals in store for him in his future.

Already he is scheduled to have two more removed. This time from his arm and back. The one on his arm, really, was beginning to bother him; he is at that age of uber self-consciousness, and he said people at school were starting to make comments about it. It has been changing, getting more prominent and growing in irregular size, not to mention that raw reddish tone that makes it look like it's sunburned -- all motivators for going under the knife. The one on his back is your classic "halo nevi".
My amateurish camera and mad photo skillz wash these photos out just a tad, so you have to use a bit of imagination. But you still get the idea of the "halo" effect.

They used to remove these halo naevi as a matter of course, but now they only deem it necessary when other factors are present. See those different colors in there? Most notably the darker irregularly shaped blob in the middle? Yea.

The dermatologist went ahead and took one off my own back right then and there. It was small and shallow and could be "scooped" -- a few pricks of general anesthesia and a minute later it's gone. Much akin to nicking yourself with the razor. Albeit a rather big nick.
It really doesn't look like much, but the color is irregular. (Except the purple. That's the doctor's markings, I promise.) And really, with my recent history, there's no sense in waiting. Because it will keep changing. I'm half-tempted just to have them take off every mole on my body right now, just to cut to the chase. Even though today I learned that they can grow back. Because a mole I had removed at least fifteen years ago? There's another one there, in the scar, like.

But I'll spare you the photo. I do have my limits. Although you're missing out, I tell you what. I had a doctor and two interns and a technician all crowded around me like I was a specimen under a micoscope. I was quite the popular gal. You should be jealous.

I debated whether to give the wave-off at the beginning of this in case anyone is squeamish about this sort of thing. But I decided it really is an important topic about which everyone should have some knowledge. So my apologies if anyone was grossed out before they could look away. You'll get over it.

It is very, very important to keep on top of any changes that might occur in your own moles, as well as those of your children -- even ones on your spouse that they can't easily see, especially on the back. When I called attention to my mole last year, the one that ended up being melanoma, the physician was not impressed. She subtly discouraged me from having it removed as it would leave an unsightly scar in a fairly prominent area (my forearm).

When she called me three weeks later with the results she was duly respectful and readily congratulated me for looking out for myself. I for one was readily confounded that I was right: I mean, no one wants to be right about something that might be cancerous. I like to think I was one more notch in her belt that will cause her to pause and lend respect for her patients and their instincts about their bodies.

And now that I finally gotten around to getting Conner and me our first dermatologist appointment since we moved, I am resolved to stay more on top of this by simply taking photos of our moles every six months or so as a way of documenting any possible changes. I think they'll make a fabulous scrapbook someday. But I promise I won't blog about them.

At least not for another six months.


the dragonfly said...

I'm sorry, I have to say that I burst out laughing at the thought of a "mole" scrapbook. But in all seriousness, it's great that you're keeping track of things like that, especially with your history. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Mrs. Staff Sergeant said...

I have a mole on my abdomen that's been there since birth but it totally freaks me out. I had it looked at 2 years ago and also got the wave off. After reading this I'm considering going back and insisting it's taken off. Just for my own piece of mind.

Thanks for reminding us to be proactive about our health!

Carmen said...

Good reminder, good ideas. Now, since we've seen pictures of your moles can we now see pictures of Olivia's room? I've been anxiously awaiting ever since you mentioned it!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I was searching on Google for spots like this because I have very similar ones as the third picture you show, mine look like that on my upper right leg. I've been to the dermatologist and he just kept giving me cream after cream, nothing worked so I stopped going to him he wouldn't do anything about it, same as my family doctor. After reading that I'm glad to know they are just moles. They aren't harmful are they? Mine seem to spread when I'm out in the sun too long.

I would love if you would email me about it!