When I stop to think about it, I look at my face an awful lot. Not in some vainly narcissistic fashion, but it’s right there in front of me in the mirror all morning when I get ready for work, and it’s sort of there in the rear view mirror when I’m driving. Throw in the other assorted bathroom mirrors and panes of glass and I get a good glimpse of my mug pretty regularly. So I’m really not sure how I failed to notice this … thing on my cheek until about a week ago.
It was this round red blotch, just sort of barely there at first, but dark enough to be noticeable. I immediately assumed it was a flesh-eating virus and leaped onto the internet to have my worst fears confirmed. Except the net wanted to tell me it was dermatitis, eczema, an age spot, a skin tag, a fungus, a bruise, and quite possibly a sign of the apocalypse. The only things that didn’t come up were ebola and skin cancer, which, for some odd reason, made me certain it was one of those two; I simply wasn’t being told to keep me from panicking.
I kept an eye on my visitor and it wasn’t really getting any bigger, just darker. So now it was moving from possible health risk to likely source of awkwardness. I’m not all that vain about my appearance — I’ve resisted numerous and repeated suggestions that I dye the grey out of my hair over the years — but this was different from a little job for Just for Men. Grey hairs are expected. This thing on my face was clearly Something That Was Not to Be.
So I tried self-medicating with some moisturizer, but that just produced a youthfully smooth red blotch on my face. Clearly, this was beyond my means — and the means of my Facebook friends whom I enlisted for some far from expert diagnosis — to handle. It was time to fork over the co-pay and go see my doctor.
It was when she had looked for my face for all of two minutes and started talking about dermatologists and biopsies that I first started getting actually nervous about this thing. She’d done everything but recoil at the sight of it and drive me to the dermatologist herself. Naturally, I began getting my affairs in order, and called the dermatologist to get the earliest available appointment, preferably in the next ten minutes. Alas, I’d have to wait until this morning. More than enough time for this face horta to gain sentience and kill me.
I calmed down eventually, once I thought about everything rationally. One way or another, I’d know what was going on, and would be taking care of it. My doctor probably passed me along so quickly because she figured better to let the expert look at it than take a possibly incorrect guess. Whatever I had wasn’t acting at all like anything bad, at least as far as the infallible internet was concerned. Suck it up, see the specialist, get this over with.
You ever have liquid nitrogen blasted onto your face?
It wasn’t even for the thing I went through all this for. It was for a couple of sun spots the dermatologist wanted to take care of. As for the reason for all the angst? She said it was most likely contact dermatitis, from something I managed to touch at some point in the last few weeks. Gave me some cream to put on it and wants me back in a few weeks. If there’s no change, then we might be talking about needles and biopsies and gouging my face, but I’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it. Although considering she gave the rest of my skin the once over and didn’t see anything to be worried about, I’m guessing the Oil of Olay treatment is going to do the trick.
So now I have an excuse to stare at my face frequently. Please don’t think me self-obsessed. I’m just following doctor’s orders.