Summer 2012. A seemingly innocuous bump in the middle of my back…
… colorless and painless… like a medium-sized zit that just wouldn’t pop… had been there for years… something I wouldn’t even notice or think about unless I brushed up against something.
And so, I went to the dermatologist, who quite confidently told me to stop picking at it and that it was nothing to worry about. Seriously. I resisted and told them that I would keep trying to pop it until they biopsied it. I just wanted this thing off my body.
They relented and did so–what is called a punch biopsy. A week and a half later, the verdict was in: Atypical Sebaceous Adenoma. Not cancer, but definitely abnormal and a precursor to becoming cancer–a rare form of skin cancer called Sebaceous Carcinoma (oil gland cancer), but that wasn’t all.
For one, I needed to come back for more surgery because the margins of the biopsy were positive and therefore still prone to developing into cancer.
And for two, the pathology report also said that I had the genetic mutation for something called Muir-Torre Syndrome, a variant of something called Lynch Syndrome.
I was quietly referred to a genetic counselor at a local cancer center.
A far cry from “Stop picking at it. It’s nothing to worry about.”