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God has smote me with cystic acne, what can I say? But other than the occasional whopper, my complexion stays clear, so I end up walking around sporting a red clown nose next to my own, and sometimes on my forehead. One alone can grow so large that people come up and ask what its name is, if it’s a boy or a girl.
One particularly spirit-sucking incident happened at work many years ago: Yet another cyst had taken root next to my nose, and it had grown to great proportions, like a tomato. I had covered it with makeup as best I could, but evidently not well enough, because my boss came to sit next to me and whispered, “Hey, I’m worried about you. What’s wrong with your eye?” What’s wrong with my eye? That’s right: the cyst was so big it had pushed my left eye closed from the bottom. Total bummer.
Now I know (finally) that if I go to my dermatologist and have her shoot some steroids into that thing, it goes away in two days...not two weeks as usual, and without leaving a scar. So I went to my dermatologist today because I felt this ball simmering under the skin next to my nose, where I’m sure it intended to stay and grow until it became the child I never wanted.
I'm lying on the exam table and the doctor comes in with two residents. She tells them that I have "an interesting history" and urges me to tell it to them while she leaves to prepare the steroid stuff. I sit up to face two young Chinese women—both named Dr. Kim—and begin: “Well, I had mange on my scalp for a long time, but the injectable I take finally got rid of that. I'm on acne medication too, but sometimes I still get cysts. My liver is also compromised, but my injectable for the mange happens to promote liver function, so I lucked out there—one for the medical books, really…you can look me up. One of my cysts actually turned into a parasitic twin once, too, so when I came here, the doctor had to use a BB gun instead of steroids to get rid of it. Teeth and hair came out, and this little tail. I have the remains in a jar at home; her name is Lisa.”
The Drs. Kim listened intently to my story, taking notes. When I stopped talking, they started picking through my long hair. They were still disentangling themselves when my dermatologist walked back in.
“Didja tell them your history?” she asked.
“I sure did."
“Great!” she said, positioning me on the table so she could stick the syringe of steroid mix into my face. My dermatologist loves me because I’m such a special case.
“Are you ready?” she grinned, hovering over me and my wannabe cyst with a long silver needle.
One can never truly be ready to have a needle stuck into a festering wound on one’s face, but I agreed to it once again. I sat still, clenched my teeth, felt the needle scraping cartilage, and cried out. It was all over then, and I told the Drs. Kim that I wasn’t crying; my eyes were just watering.
I left with a huge round band-aid stuck on my face, such an improvement. I took the elevator down and loped pass the same security guard who always sits in the lobby. “Ooo ooo,” I chattered. “Ooo ooo, eee eee eee.”
“Yup, see ya next time!” she said.
The price of beauty.