Thursday, May 26, 2016

If You're Going to San Fran-CYST-o...

A  few years ago, at a dermatology appointment, I pointed out to the doctor that I had a weird bump on my chest. They deemed it normal, and nothing else was said about it. 

Fast forward to June 3, 2015.

I woke up and felt more than saw that the weird bump was bigger. It was tender to the touch, but there were no outward signs of any issue. Just in case I needed to go to the doctor, I decided to take a photo of it - I even circled it with eyeliner (all I had in the bathroom!) so I could show the doctor where the issue was. You know, just in case it was cancer or something.

All the cysty ladies... all the cysty ladies

I kept an eye on it, and over the next week, it got a bit bigger. By June 10, there was a large red, angry area, but the actual bump was smaller than a quarter.

What's red and smaller than a quarter?

Boob cyst!
When I woke up on June 11, it was slightly bigger than that quarter. I hadn't been doing anything to it, because I wasn't quite sure what was going on. By now, however, I assumed that it was some sort of cyst. I've had cysts before (including a wonderful one on my tailbone!), and I knew that they were painful and nasty. 

Also at this point, it was EXTREMELY noticeable at all times, so I covered it up with a bandage while at work (I was getting tired of questions).

Is that a cyst in your pocket or are you happy to see me?
On June 12, I woke up to ONE ANGRY bump! It was so distended, the skin was shiny and it hurt SO much! I needed to take some pain relievers to deal with it.  Sleeping was hard, too, because putting any pressure on a cyst causes some horrid pains. 

Either it's a cyst, or there's one angry alien in there trying to get out
On June 13th, a teeny, tiny head appeared on the cyst, which meant the infection had worked it's way up to the skin. 


A cyst is similar to a zit; an overly-large, puss-filled zit. 


What happens with zits? Well, they pop.  


If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm showing lots of photos. 


I tell stories with photos better than words. 


You know, that whole "A picture is worth a thousand words" and all that....


If you don't like gross photos, go away now!  


I mean it. 


It gets worse from here. 


Seriously. 


Why are you still here?


No turning back now. 


Grossness is going to happen. 


Okay, here we go. 


Seriously.


Eww
Once this happens, you have to pop it in a sterile environment, because otherwise, it will pop and drain somewhere else and, well, I don't want that nastiness on my clothing. 

So, I popped it. 

Not a lot came out, and it hurt like hell to do it, but once it was open, I slathered on some Neosporin, hoping that the antibiotic would take care of some of it. Additionally, I would put my heating pad on the area - I'd been told that warm compresses were helpful.  I also called and set up an appointment with my doctor to get some oral antibiotics to try to kill it off (again, if I'd known last week what this was, I would have taken care of it much earlier... oh well, lesson learned). 

A slapped another bandage on that bad boy and went off to work. 

Waking up on June 14th, it was still leaking and looking really gross. Like, purple skin gross.  Like, I have a flesh-eating disease gross. The skin all around it was still angry, too, from having to wear bandages so much. It really hurt!

I look like I have a flesh-eating disease
I squeezed it again, and dear God, it spurted like a pastry bag.  I halfway expected some sort of SPLAT sound when it hit the mirror.  It dripped down my chest and soaked in to my nightgown.

Skin shouldn't be grey
June 15th was an especially gross day, when I woke up to see how disgusting the bandage was when I pulled it off.

Can they make maxipads that soak up this much? I mean seriously!
However, that meant that the cyst was continuing to drain, and the heat and Neosporin were working. 

My poor skin
More squeezing, more splatting.

Finally, on June 16th, I was able to see the doctor, who was just a cute little baby doc.  I showed him the photos on my phone (everything above) and he got a laugh out of the circle photo.  He tried to "express" (squeeze) some of the infection, but was unable to do any damage, so he called in the Boss Doctor, who suggested they cut it open just a teensy bit.  After I said go for it, they sprayed me with some Medicinal-Grade Keyboard Air Cleaner (seriously, it was freezing air in a can), then they made a tiny slit and tried to "express" more of the cyst.  They didn't have much luck either, but now I had a bigger hole, so they sent me on my way with some more bandages and a prescription for oral antibiotics. With those, I could fight the cyst from the inside and the outside! One, two, punch! And also, I was supposed to keep up with warm compresses to the area.

You can see where they sliced me open
On June 18th, after 2 days of oral antibiotics, real fun started happening. The pus and the blood had abated somewhat, but that was because FIRM stuff was coming out. Like, white chunky FIRM stuff.


I had to pull some of this out with tweezers
Different view so you can see how BIG these chunks are

Now, I watch surgeries on TV. I love seeing gastric bypasses. Brain surgery is awesome. 

This. Was. Disgusting. 

It was also painful as shit.  I basically had to hold my breath, gird my loins and SQUEEZE!!!! until I couldn't take the pain anymore.  

I discovered the next day that I bit my lip so hard, while dealing with the squeezing pain, that I had a blood blister!  Ouch. 

Horrid photo of a big blister
By June 26th, 10 days after seeing the doctor, and the last day of oral antibiotics, most of the ick was out, and the wound was healing.  There wasn't much seepage or anything pussy like that.

Looks like a really bad bug bite
It was even smaller by June 28th. 

I'm shrinking!
A few weeks later, June 7th, it was mostly healed and just looked like a scar. 

Almost gone
So, why am I writing about something that happened LAST YEAR?  Well, I wanted to give it plenty of time to heal so that I could show you what it looks like now. I know it's there, and I can see it in the mirror, but when you see me out and about, you may not even see it. 

Free boob shot for perverts!!!  Also, spot the scar!
The original bump is still there, and I don't think the cyst was related to that bump at all, but just an unfortunate bystander in the whole game. The bump is smaller, though. There is a slight pink tinge to the area that you can't see very well in the crappy photo. There isn't any scar tissue from being sliced, which is good - I slathered myself up with cocoa butter lotion every night, massaging the skin in all four directions to ensure that the tissue wouldn't bunch up.  

                    Before: When the Head Showed Up                                                  After: Eleven Months Later
All in all, this was a really crappy, month-long shit fest that I had to deal with. It made work hard. It made running hard. It made sleeping VERY hard. I went through a whole bottle of Aleve because of the pain. But, now that I know what this is, if I see it again, I can 'head' it off at the pass.