The author is a retired engineer, an artist, and a seeker of the meaning of life.
It started out as a small bump with a smooth texture on the right side of my face, close to the ear. It was 1/8 inch in diameter. Since it was not itchy, I concluded that it was probably the result of an insect bite (not a mosquito). I felt no pain or any inconvenience, so I left it alone.
After four weeks passed, I noticed that it had increased in size to 3/16 inches. There was still no feeling to the touch. Not long after, its surface became rough and scaly. Soon it busted open like the head of a cauliflower. After a few days, I was able to scratch off the dead skin to reveal the new skin underneath. To my dismay, the small bump was still there.
I started to be concerned and looked it up on the Internet. When I found information on common warts, the descriptions and pictures matched what I had. These are small, flat, flesh-colored pimples and may be numerous on one part of the body (for example, face, arms, groin). The recommended remedies are salicylic acid or freezing with liquid nitrogen. I chose the salicylic acid pad, which was available at the supermarket and could easily be applied.
Salicylic Acid Pad
I applied the small pad on top of the bump and left it there for the recommended time—48 hours. After peeling off the pad, the skin underneath appeared soft and white in color. Not long after, the scar developed. A day or two passed before the scar tissue came off revealing the new skin underneath. The small bump was still visible but with less height. So, it seemed that several applications were necessary to completely rid of it. The good news was that there was no effect on the surrounding tissues and no painful experience.
I waited for two days before putting on the next pad and repeated the process till all 20 pads in the package were exhausted. The result was not encouraging. The salicylic acid pad was effective in peeling off a small layer of tissue from the top but never the root of the bump. So, I gave that up. Due to its possible damaging effect on the surrounding tissue, I never tried freezing with liquid nitrogen which was also available at the supermarket.
Warts No More
For about six months, I left the bump alone as it was increasing in size though very unnoticeably. Then, I read about the Warts No More which claimed to be all natural, certified organic, topical treatment to eliminate the warts. I bought a bottle from the local Whole Foods Market. It cost $20 for a size of 11 mL. After applying the oily solution to the bump, the affected area started to ooze sticky liquid and became red. The sticky liquid caused local area to become blistery. After applying Neosporin, it was back to normal. After few days, the growth became bigger outwardly within the same facial area. I stopped using the Warts No More immediately.
With the bump getting bigger and more uncomfortable, I finally decided to see my HMO’s family doctor, who referred me to a dermatologist within the same facility. Upon a quick look, the dermatologist said it was seborrheic keratosis, a benign skin tumor that bore wart-like characteristics. It commonly appears in people over 40 years old. Immediately, the dermatologist suggested that the quickest way to rid of it was to cut it out. Since it was still relatively small, the procedure was performed right in the office. After applying a local anesthetic, the bump was removed with a scalpel in a minute. I was discharged with a Band-aid over the wound and Neosporin to be applied for the next few days.
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The laboratory result on the cut-off growth (the bump) was negative as expected. Still, I was relieved. After a week and a half, the scar over the wound came off, revealing fresh skin underneath. This time, there was no trace of the bump or seborrheic keratosis. It has now been four years, and the facial area has been free of abnormal growth ever since.
Recently, I had another skin growth on my right leg just above the foot. The first time I noticed it was almost 20 years ago. It was in the shape of a ¼-inch mole in dark color with a rough surface. For no apparent reason, a few months ago, it began to spread and enlarge to twice its size with a high raised and scaly bump. It was quite similar to the one I had on my right face four years ago.
So, I called up my dermatologist's office. Since it had been more than three years, the office said that I had to see my primary doctor again to get a referral. After confirming with my primary doctor, I got an appointment to see the same dermatologist who treated me the last time. The doctor diagnosed the growth as SK right away and proceeded to cut it out. This time, I paid close attention to the tools being used.
After injecting the anesthetic with a needle around the ½-inch growth, the doctor used a two-inch long and 1/8-inch wide blade with a handle at both ends and started to cut away close to the leg surface in a delicate motion like sawing off a tree branch. In a few seconds, the growth was gone with me feeling not a thing while watching the whole operation right before me. I went home happy and relieved to know that this one will more than likely recover just like the one I had on my face without any recurrence.
Growth in the Mouth
During one of my recent dental visits, I showed the dentist the small growth inside the left portion of my mouth, between the two rows of teeth. I explained that it had been there for almost 15 years. It was the result of repeated accidental biting during eating. It started as a small tear. After the wound healed, a small bump was formed. Years passed, and the small bump became a little bigger after each biting. Since it was quite painful at the time of occurrence and took several days to heal, I needed to be careful to avoid biting into the growth while chewing food.
The dentist immediately responded that it was a common symptom, a lot of people had it, and it could be removed with a simple surgical procedure. Even though the growth was painful only when I accidentally bit it, and its size did not become any bigger all by itself, it still caused me to pay attention and change the way I chewed food. So, I decided to have it removed based on the dentist’s description of the simple surgery.
First, the dentist applied local anesthetic shots around the growth. After waiting several minutes for the numbness to take effect, the dentist asked the assistant to grab hold of the growth with a plier while cutting it out with a small knife. Then, the dentist stitched the open wound with a needle and thread. The operation took around five minutes and I could feel the shooting pain as the knife and the needle went through the tender skin. The dentist showed me what was taken out and said that it would be sent for precautionary cancerous analysis.
The bleeding and pain stopped by the time I got home. I was able to eat with the right side of my mouth. The stitch came out after five days, and the wound was no longer visible. The lab report indicated that the growth was benign, and I did not need to worry about its coming back. Today, after three months, there is no trace that there ever was a growth. I am very happy with the result and most importantly, I do not have to be extra careful when I chew my food.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.