The C Word

I have officially been diagnosed with Crud, actually three different kinds of Crud. Of course, Crud isn’t the word the doctor used. She spoke in more clinical terms, like pre-cancer, which sounds a lot like pre-nightmare, and cancer, which sounds exactly like nightmare. So I’m on the slippery slope of mortality, and if there’s any good to come of it, I’m sure it will be in sharing my story.

Weeks ago I was killing time, seems like a poor choice of words now, but nonetheless, that’s what I was doing browsing Shondaland, when I came across an article titled, “Exactly What Different Types of Skin Cancer Look Like, According to Dermatologists.” The article got my attention because Crud is not a new thing for me, but I’ve never had it diagnosed. Why go to a doctor when you can go to the Internet, right? Other than having Freddie Krueger fantasies of going after my skin tags with a nail clipper, I’m fine. Maybe. I thought I might I have psoriasis on my face.

In 2017, a red spot bubbled up on the bridge of my nose and shed thick scales like big dandruff, but I ignored it. Then that patch disappeared and about six months ago a scaly red blotch showed up on my forehead above my right eyebrow, about the size of a thumbprint. It itches and flakes, and hairspray stings it. Then after drinking five beers with my cousin, I noticed a line of red blotches along my upper lip that seemed to be in flake sync with the Crud above my right eyebrow. So I cut back on the beer.

Then the Crud on my nose got blotchy again. So I bought some heavy duty moisturizer and makeup to hide it. Then on my left forearm there was a small red burst blood vessel blotch that looked like a scratch, but it didn’t heal the way scratches do. I diagnosed all of this as old lady skin. I live alone, no one else knew about this stuff, and I’m not going to get all Henny Penny about aging. I’m in excellent health, not on any medication, no chronic conditions. Leave healthcare for the sick people.

Still, the website showed thick crusty blobs of bumpy skin as a symptom of skin cancer, and I have a lot of that. And silver lining, at the dermatologist appointment I thought I’d have the giant skin tag on my neck removed and get some psoriasis cream. In a few naked minutes I learned that self-diagnosis is worth exactly what you pay for it. Chunks of my flesh are now in a lab somewhere being analyzed and my chemo cream is supposed to arrive in the mail. The preliminary thinking is the red blotch on my arm is basal cell carcinoma, my “psoriasis” is pre-cancerous actinic keratosis, and my crusty bumps and skin tags are due to age and genes, so I should expect a lot more of them, if I’m lucky.  

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10 thoughts on “The C Word

  1. I know yer smart about this skin stuff but you don’t want t fuck with no attention paid. Skin cancer is a nasty nasty condition. It destroyed a friend of mine’s mind. A man never depressed became so from the treatment he received at M General and he ultimately succumbed. Jump on this shit if it’s real. I have to put sunscreen on even if it’s snowing. Ay yi yi.
    Meanwhile, on another ‘c’ note, I’d heard Liv Tyler say that the van they used to hang in during the filming of Lord Of The Rings they named the ‘cuntabago’. Which is fucking awesome.

  2. Wow. Frightening news. Thank you for sharing with your readers. Please keep us posted. If you need emotional support, or rides to the dr, remember you have a group of EO’s who live in the Portland area, who have enjoyed getting to know you from your blog, and I, for one, would like to help if I can. Or if you want to do something fun, let’s have lunch.?

  3. I am SO GLAD to hear that you finally took yourself to a dermatologist! Years ago, I had this greyish small spot on my nose. I tried all kinds of lotions and potions and finally decided to see a dermatologist – took me maybe 6 – 8 months to make the decision. I was lucky and it was also basal cell carcinoma and it was removed. Since then, I have a yearly all-over skin check-up and never miss it.
    It doesn’t help that I inherited (thank you, dad!) seborrheic keratosis – which is plenty ugly but rated as a ‘cosmetic’ problem, so insurance will not pay to have it removed. This type of keratosis will not turn into cancer, which is good, but really is not pretty. Dad had it all over his face in his older years, so far I’ve been lucky ….
    Good luck with getting ‘clean’!

    1. Thanks for your kind wishes. I also have lots of seborrheic keratosis. In the words of my doctor, it’s age and genes, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Humbling.

  4. I’m sorry to hear that. I hope everything will turn out well. Sending you light and healing energy from India. Sophie

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