So, there's the bump on the back of my right leg. It's on the outside of the back of my knee, in the place where, to be perfectly honest, I've been sunburned a lot. Something about that particular location that just begs to have sunscreen just slide right past it, missing every bit.
I've been worried about this particular bump since I came across it about a month or so ago. I hadn't noticed it before, but it didn't seem to be growing particularly fast. It looked like it could be a wart, I've had those on the bottom of my feet. Worse, it looked very, very similar to the bump that was next to my eye last year, and we all know how that one turned out.
Because of the similarity in size, shape and texture to the bump near my eye, my worry level has been increasing and increasing. I worried and thought about this bump like a dog on a bone, never quite stopping the gnawing. I asked friends what they would do. I asked doctors-in-training what they thought of the spot. I asked Kris, who responded something like, "Eh, ask a doctor."
After gnawing on this bone too long, I did something you're really not supposed to do. I picked at it.
I know, I know, don't pick at your skin. Bad, bad, bad. But I did. I wanted to see if I made it small, would it come back? And, if so, how quickly? I had a spot on my right index finger when I was 14 that grew incredibly fast. It grew to about a 1/4" before I took an xacto knife to it and cut it off. Not the smartest thing to do, especially using my non-dominant hand on my dominant hand, but the spot, which turned out to be a wart, annoyed me so much that I had to remove it.
Turns out, warts form a kernel that doesn't quite attach fully to your body. If you peel along this edge, you can literally extract the wart from your body. The tricks are, of course, getting it all and dealing with the pain. I have no idea if Dad ever noticed the blood in the bathroom sink from that little bit of surgery.
So, yeah, the bump on the back of my leg. Tragically, I picked at it. It bled. This is not good, because that gives an entry point for cells to travel to other parts of my body. If this bump is cancerous, I just introduced another avenue for it to spread.
Can you believe I graduated in the top 0.1% of my graduating high school class? No? Me either.
Eventually, I told myself to stop it. Stop worrying about it. Stop playing with it. Deal with it the right way: make an appointment with a dermatologist and have it removed to be tested. Simple enough. Scary, sure. But I'd rather be 1 for 2 in finding my own skin cancer than having skin cancer again and dead.
Today, looking at it, I noticed the spot had changed. I wasn't sure what had happened, but it looked like a tag of skin had come off the top of it, probably from all of my scratching. Well, can't have that, can we? I pulled on it, as I'm wont to do with random pieces of flesh with neon signs pointing to them that read "Pull me! Pull me!"
I felt no resistance as something came out of the bump. It ended up being about 3 millimeters long and just under a millimeter wide. It was white, and I have absolutely no idea what it was. It was soft, and that's about all I could tell about it. When it was out, the bump was gone. There is now a small hole in my leg where the bump used to be.
After putting away my confusion with the bump extraction, I can honestly say that, for today, there are few things more enjoyable than discarding the worries of a cancer return in the trash.
And a hole in the leg is a small price to pay for that relief.