Monday, September 28, 2009

It's not a tumor!

So, I have this little condition called Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum. Also known as "that ugly red thing on my right leg".

It started about 7 years ago. We were in Venice, Italy and I tripped up some stone stairs and gauged my shin. It healed, but it left a dark, quarter sized scar. I didn't worry about it.

Over the years it got darker and shiny. Still, I didn't worry about it.

Then about two years ago it started spreading. I panicked and was convinced that I had skin cancer and would lose my leg. Or, you know, die.

I went to the dermatologist and he took one look at it, asked me if I was diabetic (yes) and told me what it was. He also wanted to biopsy it because in rare cases it can spawn cancer.

Unfortunately, cutting it in any way is about the worst thing you could ever do. It doesn't really ever heal because the skin tissue is essentially dead (hence the necrobiosis part). So, now I have two craters in the center of it that are semi-healed lesions from the biopsy.

There's no cure. I'll always have it. It may even get worse, though hopefully not. I get biannual steroid injections all around the area which helps a little. It lightens for a few months and isn't as tender to the touch as it normally is (it's never outright painful even though it looks like it is).

The main problem is that it's an eyesore. For years I covered it with a band-aid. Obviously it's too big for that now.

I've considered wearing only clothing long enough to cover it, but really, which is worse? Making the public see my hideous, disfiguring skin disease or looking like I belong on a polygamist compound? I chose the former.

And honestly, I'm lucky. If you do a Google image search on the condition (Click that at your own peril), you'll see why I say that. Most people get it on both shins, and usually the lesions are huge.

I'm sure there are people out there who think I should cover it always. They can bite me. They are also probably the same rude people who ask me why I don't get my facial moles removed (Hello, do you think I keep them because I like them? Do you not think I'd have removed them years ago if I could have? If you'd like to pay for the elective plastic surgery for me to do so, by all means I'll make the appointment tomorrow).

Anyway, I was asked about the spot on my leg nearly twenty times yesterday (I think my red dress must have made it stand out more than usual), so I decided I'd address it. I'm not bothered that people ask me about it--all the inquiries were made out of concern because it appears painful. But twenty times in one day warranted a public explanation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be nice or I'll punch you in the taco.