Now when I was last in the US, Wesley would keep looking at my eye and tell me I had a basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Now, for your information, and presumably as most of you have never looked that longingly into my eye, here’s the evidence:
If you double-click on the picture above, you will see on my lower eyelid a lumpy growth thing that has never bothered me until Wesley kept looking at it and going “I want you to get that checked.” That is the BCC that he was concerned about.
(Also, I hope you did click on that picture cos it really captures the all the colours in my eyes. Even as an infant I procrastinated so I was blessed with three-colour eyes. I have always been rather pleased with that. Go on, look. Can you imagine having them looking at you lovingly? heh)
Now I don’t know about you but when ever anyone mentions the word cancer to me I tend to completely lose control of my bodily functions. Even though BCCs are very common and even on eyelids, googling them is not going to be your friend. So last night at 3 am I googled “eyelid bcc treatment” and seriously wished I hadn’t. (Even though I am a nurse, eye surgery always made me cringe) I had a minor freakout and texted Wesley to reassure me that it might be something other than a BCC. He texted me back that when he had a BCC on his nose, I was very reassuring and telling him not to worry. But I was lying. Of course I was worried about his treatment. That’s what you do when your friend is in trouble. You lie and be encouraging and hope for the best. You fib.
Unless you’re J Wesley.
As I am sure you all know, I adore this man and have complete respect for his opinion both personally and professionally. In his field of HIV he is nationally renowned and respected. As a doctor I have seen him diagnose people with pinpoint accuracy and I trust him with my life. So when he tells me I have a BCC in my eye I listen and get it checked as he asks. The problem is if you ever have a little physical complaint don’t ask him. He’ll give you his professional opinion and it is always seems to be the worst possible scenario.
Now I am a hypochondriac. I realise this and keep telling myself not to worry whenever I get any type of ache or pain. I saw Death Be Not Proud when I was 11 and, ever since then, with every headache I expect my head to swell with my non-operable tumour and I’ll have to wear a lop sided turban to hide the blemish. (One day, during routine CT scans for my ear, they discovered a huge shadow on my brain. A story for another day). So I realise I am appalling. I will think the worse without help.
So my best friend turns out to be a hypochondriac’s nightmare; a person with impressive medical knowledge and diagnosis skills who isn’t afraid to not sugar coat it to protect your feelings. Very early in our relationship, I learnt not to ask his opinion on anything minor I may have been experiencing.
“What do you think this rash is on my elbow?” “Oh that’s a symptom of leprosy.”
“I’ve got this weird ringing in my ears.” “Might be a tumour. Better get it checked.”
“How long have you had that spot for?” “It’s a mole, isn’t it?” “Well normally it would be….”
“That growth on your face. Had it long?” “That’s my beard, dudey.” “Well normally it would be….”
“You go to the bathroom how often a day???????????????”
“That’s a nasty cough you’ve got there. I think you might need a circumcision. ”
Obviously I am teasing (except for one… heh… guess) however, in the way that we are spookily, cannily in sync, whenever I have a complaint he is able to tell me the absolute one thing I would not want to hear. It’s a gift. I thank him kindly then go off and cross myself and wrap garlic round my neck after he’s diagnosed me.
So today I go to my GP for my major eye surgery. My GP diagnoses it as a meibomian cyst and gives me suggestions for treatment, including leaving it alone or freezing it “to flatten it” if I find it cosmetically disturbing. As I cannot stop looking at it whenever I look at myself and hear my friend in my ear “Better get that checked” I elect for the freezing.
It stings somewhat however evidently should slough off within a fortnight and “get flatter”. Here is what it looks like today:
I know. Doesn’t look any different, does it?! I was hoping for a massively bloodshot eye to amuse you with. I am glad I didn’t need an excision though. I happily tell Wesley that it’s not a BCC and didn’t need surgery. He’s thrilled for me. Then has the pensive face you don’t want your doctor to show you….
“But I still think it’s a BCC.”
I love that man.