The Mole

Previously, I have written about having four holes in my mouth. Now, I write to you about two holes on my mouth, or more specifically, one on my upper lip and another on my chin right below my mouth. In any case, eating causes the skin around them to move and I consider that close enough for comparison.

For as long as I can remember, I have had two moles on my face. I have never considered them “beauty marks,” rather despising them instead. Prominently displayed on my fair skin were two oppressive titans of darkness, actively engaged in the destruction of my self-esteem. Alas, darkness has been defeated and I bear with pride the wounds of my epic battle.

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate a little, but it did still hurt.

A week ago, I entered the delightful atmosphere of the Dermatology Associates of Tyler. I signed in, sat down and waited to be called to fill out my forms. The ladies at the front were very nice and I had only a short wait before I went to fill out the forms. In the waiting room, I sat and watched the news. For the record, John Walker Lindh plead guilty to two lesser charges and the stock market plunged 400 (!) points but recovered to close down a mere 50. As thoroughly engaging as the news was, I was happy when they finally called me to the back. I sat down in a nice chair and the nurse asked me some questions about my medical history. Satisfied that I wouldn’t go into shock or infect her with AIDS during any potential procedure, she had Dr. Grabski come in. He looked at my face and began rattling off esoteric terms to the nurse who then entered them into a computer.

We discussed the moles and why I wanted them gone and it was decided that he would shave them off in a few minutes. Whoa! Too fast. It is of my belief that elective surgeries ought to be planned well in advance but apparently it’s no big deal to shred some skin off a person’s face.

The good doctor left the room momentarily and the nurse prepared me. She took a syringe filled with the most vile concoction and told me that it would burn for about five seconds before it would then go numb and then proceeding to torture me. It did burn as she injected the poison into my moles but it lasted more like ten seconds and it really burned. I did not cry but my eyes were far from dry by the time she was done. The face is highly sensitive and the mouth and surrounding area has an extremely high concentration of nerve endings. While certainly advantageous during some circumstances, I would have preferred my face to be a little more like the back of my neck (which has a fairly low concentration of nerve endings) when she injected the napalm into it.

Shortly after I had my face burned, Doctor Grabski returned to cut some of it off, a la Hannibal Lector. He poked my moles with the syringe while asking if I could feel it in a much appreciated examination of my previous torture and then grabbed the blade. It was a small piece of plastic with a very sharp metal strip attached to the end. He explained that it would feel as though he was just moving my face around as he sawed along the base of my moles. The process was relatively quick and generally painless. When he was done, he rubbed antiseptic on the wounds and put bandages on them.

The moles themselves were placed in separate clear containers to be sent off for a routine biopsy* (which isn’t reassuring but they were, of course, benign). I was shocked at just how thin the moles seemed; I was actually concerned he had not gone deep enough and that the moles may return. That fear didn’t last long.

When I got home, I went to the bathroom to change one of the bandages; it was falling off due to the antiseptic placed on the area. Gasp! What are these craters on my face? The wounds were actually quite deep and I was then concerned he had gone too deep. Will I ever heal?

The very next day, I had to go to work. I didn’t have any small, round bandages but only the very light colored small rectangles. Needless to say, they stuck out. A bandage on your hand might garner you a polite inquisition as to how you injured yourself. Two prominent bandages surrounding your mouth will draw some looks, so I thought. Oddly enough, none of my coworkers made any comments on the gangly bandages. I explained to everyone that I had two moles removed. Apparently, everyone assumed I had cut myself shaving. Never in my life have a cut myself shaving and I have never seen anyone who cut himself badly enough to need actual bandages, certainly not two! Still paranoid (customers would soon enter the store), I convinced my brother that we must take an early and very rushed lunch.

We raced to Taco Bell at 10:00 AM when they are supposed to be open but they were not yet ready. Wasting valuable time, and in the rain no less, we hurried to Wal-Mart. In we ran and I hastily found some small, round bandages that I so desperately needed. Pressed for time, we ran back to the car but the parking lot was not prepared to let us get off so easy. The rain had formed a giant puddle, barely an inch thick, across our path. Not able to waste time, I ran through it. The cold water soaked at least a foot up my jeans. Undeterred, we again hurried to Taco Bell where they had finally opened. First customers of the day, they finished our order quickly and we were on our way. Speeding back to work, we both ate in the car and somehow managed to reenter the store a mere 25 minutes after we left. I put one bandage on the bottom cavern easily but had to trim the edge of the other disk to make it fit so close to my upper lip.

A little later…

I am now almost completely healed. Three weeks have passed and the skin is finally looking almost normal. I still have a slightly darker area where the top mole was (but it is fading quickly) and the bottom mole’s former location still need needs a little time before it is perfect. However, I am quite content with my surgery and very optimistic.

*That little “routine” biopsy normally costs over $300! I knew I had insurance for a reason.