i have to admit, i have always been rather fond of my nose. i mean, of the way it looks.
i realize that a nose is not a very obviously sexy body part. not like big eyes, or a nice butt, or a balcony you can do shakespeare off of (as one of doug's colleague's so delicately puts it). still, i think as noses go, mine is pretty nice.
last year, when it developed a little red mark on it, i didn't pay much attention. it's a nice nose, but it's not a perfect nose. red dots were probably more common when i was 13, but they're not unheard of even today.
and then last november my mother showed up at thanksgiving dinner with a huge bandage over her nose. she had had a cancer removed. "it was just a little red thing," she said. "i didn't think anything of it, but my doctor said it needed to come off."
she urged me to have mine looked at. i shrugged.
she went through two more minor surgeries (if there is such a thing) -- the first skin graft left a big lump on her nose, and it had to be taken down -- and now is fine. i know that melanoma is nothing to fool around with; doug's brother died of it, as did p. miller's wonderful dad. but every time she urged me to have my nose looked at, i just shrugged. the red thing on my nose was just a little line. it got no bigger, it got no smaller. i forgot about it.
at thanksgiving this year, i realized it had been a year since my mom's surgery. and then i realized that that meant i had had this red thing on my nose for more than a year.
suddenly i felt alarm.
i went in the bathroom and looked at it. hmmmm. is it darker? hmmmm. has it grown?
so i called and made an appointment at the dermatologist. and then, appointment secured, i started to panic. i worried. i lay awake and wondered if my fine little nose had betrayed me. would they have to do surgery? gouge it out, the way they did my mom's? when i have to go to boston in march to give a speech, will i have a huge lump on the side of my nose from a skin graft gone awry?
i wondered if i would need to take experimental interferon, as one of the women i work with did a few years ago when she had melanoma. (she's fine now, too.)
i also wondered if, um, will i die? (when i'm worrying, i like to touch all the bases.)
my appointment was tuesday morning.
it didn't take long for the nurse practitioner to tell me that i do not have cancer; i have rosacea. but only on my nose.
i know quite a few people with rosacea. they all have it on their cheeks. i realize it's a painful condition, but it's also kind of an attractive one, when it's on their cheeks. it makes them look rosy and healthy. they never have to wear blush.
but on the nose?
rosacea of the nose... well.... let's just say that i have a new fear:
3 hours ago