Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Liver to Brain

Deb: Yesterday I was at a dermatologist who was checking out my litany of new moles, bumps, calcium accumulations, and other markings of that ilk.

Upon examination of the offending marks, she proclaimed them safe and removable, music to my ears.

So I asked her to identify the marks for me so I would know what they were and how to gage their normality if they started to increase in size, colour, or shape.

She responded by saying they are “wisdom marks.”

“What what????!!!”

I looked at her. She was dead serious. She was selling me on the “wisdom marks”. She was working me on the “new age, age”.

Her intentions were good, granted, but as I looked at this young, modern, educated doctor, I thought, “Wow. You are being trained to say shit like this TO ME! You are being told that this is what I need to hear.”

Does this mean that the onset of wisdomy warts and clever, devious moles brings with it an ability to go back in time and pass Grade 11 Math????????

Me thinkith notith.

So here is what you need to know, doctor. I reached my Holy Shit Trinity years ago and I have grown with the vernacular of liver spots to age spots to wisdom spots. And just so we understand each other, referring to my brown tea-stained facial spots as wisdom does nothing to conceal the fact that I am fine with it, thank you very much.

Liver spots should be my only worry.

ARE we really that fragile?  I don't think so. I'm not.

Barbara: Weird, huh? I mean, I’d rather they didn’t use euphemisms at all, but called them, I don’t know, the official Latin term, or something equally medically official sounding. I’d rather offer a resounding “huh?” than be pandered to (egotistically-speaking). And with the endless shifts and changes to the aging skin/body, it’s nice to believe our vocabulary could actually develop exponentially. Might make up a bit for the wisdom spots ... er, liver spots ... er, lentigos (???). 


  1. Right on, Deb. I've run into a slightly different issue. I worked in a high stress company for many years. Whenever I would ask my doctor about a headache, my recent blood pressure, or reduced memory, she would always say "well, you work at X. Of corse you have that. As soon as you leave it will get better.". These are my options? Nothing was taken seriously. But I knew she was right.

    So, last week I quit, taking a little time to recover from the last gig and searching for the new one. Hoping to gain a little perspective so as not to let the next place affect me so.

  2. "My Holy Shit Trinity."

    I lost it! :D

    And quite frankly, sometimes I think doctors don't know what they're talking about. Both of you ladies are beautiful inside and out! :)

  3. So funny as I liked this comment by your doctor. Just showing they are worth having and represent great wisdom as we age. As long as they are not cancer, I am good with whatever they are called.

  4. I suppose in the doctors defence as a dermatologist she probably sees quite a few people with cosmetic rather than medical concerns who get upset or insulted about these kind of things.
    I have a fair sized cafe o lait spot on my face just above my jawline and it always suprises me how many times I've been asked why I haven't tried to have it removed or lightened. I'm sure despite it not being a medical issue or even that obvious they would want it removed were it on their face. I imagine these are the type of people a dermatologist would face fairly often. My guess is it's just easier to watch her phrasing with everyone.

  5. Shawn I get it. It's tough because although you know what the doctor means, it still feels a little like being dismissed right? Madge I love that you love the comment! Really. I wish I did. I guess I am just over the "age is wisdom" thing. I have read it in poems and online and facebook and quotes. Yeah I get it AGE =Wisdom! It's hearing it from a doctor that bugged me. But you're right. Better than saying "The spot on your face means you are an old bag!"Thanks Holly! As I get older it's the inside the becomes the most important!!! :-)
    Erin you make a good point. Clearly you and Madge see this another way. So thanks. I always love to see things from another POV!

  6. Oh Deb, you make me laugh!!! XD Anywho, I think both of you ladies are terrific! Thanks for keeping my blog fix going...even if I have to wait until the end of my very long days to read it.

    P.S. Deb...FRIDAY IS THE NIGHT!!!!!!!!!

  7. Deb, I'm quite upset by your doctor. Instead of answering your questions, she laughed them off. She is there to educate you as to how you can take better care of yourself, NOT to comfort you with some "Are you kidding me??" phrase.
    We're big girls now. We can handle ourselves, and live without the baby talk. Give it to us straight. We're wise enough to be able to handle it.

  8. Thanks Kelly. Friday IS the night! Dawn you are right. That is the point. We are big girls now. Do not have to have a lollypop. Except when we do.

  9. Deb- one medical tern for some of these spots is
    nevus pigmentosus. Nevus being Latin for birthmark. SYNonym is mole
    i always liked the idea it was a "connect the dots game" as a way of getting a tattoo ;D

  10. Sharon that is sooooooo great! thanks!!!

  11. Awww, HELL no. I have fired many a male doctor for talking (or attempting to talk) down to me. If the doctor is like that over checking moles then I really wouldn't trust her/him over something more serious.
    When we found out that mom had cancer again the doctor made out like it wasn't so bad and that she could recover, though the chances were 30%. It gave me a heartbreaking sense of false hope where was clearly none. He was trying to be nice, or was simply following a script written by the hospital administration. Whatever the reasons were, by giving me that hope he caused me to push mom to get treatments that would have done nothing but make her sicker and only prolong her life an agonizingly sick 1-2 weeks. She and I had arguments about her continuing the treatments, about keeping a positive attitude, and I was the head cheerleader for team Frances. I had talks with everyone who came to visit, expressly forbidding any negativity around her under punishment of expulsion and banishment forever from her hospital room. I was nice but very serious with her gaggle of grannies, the Red Hat club. I even got angry with the poor hospice lady when she came to tell mom that hospice was taking over since she was dying. DYING?! She obviously had NOT gotten the memo stating mom was going to get better. She looked at me with very sad eyes and told me that mom wasn't going to be any better than she was that day, and most likely would quickly go downhill. Banished, one hospice worker. Then the new oncologist came for a visit while I had stepped out. When I got back he was there and I could feel a chill creeping up my spine when I saw the expressions on their faces. He talked to her about giving her all the morphine she needed. WHAT? She didn't need that, she was going to get better. Right? RIGHT?! No. He looked me in the eyes and told me that the cancer had spread from her colon to her liver and all around that area. It was eating her up and had gone way too far to stop it. He did what the first doctor had not done. Well, it was all I could do to hold it together and be strong for her and not cry. I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach, and indeed I had, with the truth. The hope I'd been given had not been a kindness at all. It had made it much much worse. I wanted to scream. I wanted to run around grabbing doctors by the collars of their lab coats and shake them. Someone had to be able to do SOMETHING. No. Nothing could change the facts. That initial doctor caused my mom and I to spend some of our precious last few days together fighting, and for what? Because he felt the need to sugar coat the truth. I wanted to kick him square in the cojones with steel-toed, cojones kicking boots. Somehow I managed to avoid that, but I did sit him down and explained how he could improve his bedside manner. He was stunned when I told him that he had given us hope. It had not been his intention. I immediately felt better when I saw that look on his face. He honestly hadn't a clue, and was grateful to have been given the feedback. I thought he was going to cry when he realized the pain the coating of sugar had inflicted. It didn't make my situation any better, but I really believe that it was going to make a difference in his future consultations. He came by and sat with mom every day and held her hand. When it was time for her to leave the hospital and go to the nursing home hospice he was there and hugged her goodbye. I hugged him as well, and forgave him. It took me a bit longer to forgive myself for all of the arguing, but I finally managed. Mom died a week later in hospice, surrounded by friends, family, and a whole lot of love.

    Love & hugs, (and perfect stuffing/dressing),

  12. Part II..(this got cut off somehow)

    Wow, that was a long way to go just to tell you to give your doctor feedback, and know that they work for you, not the other way around.
    Sorry I blog-jacked again. I think I needed to get all of that off my chest because Thanksgiving is next week. It was always time for me and mom to share all of the cooking. I get melancholy around now, wishing we were in the kitchen together arguing over the dressing being "too dry" or "too soupy", and whether or not I had put enough celery in the Waldorf Salad. I'll always have those memories, and always be grateful for the time together.
    Love & hugs, (and perfect stuffing/dressing),

  13. Oh, Karen, this is an incredible story. Thanks for your heartbreaking honesty. Wow. This is another example of how what seems to be the best thing isn't at all. Thank god you got to be there for your mom. And I'm sure you don't regret being such a determined advocate for her, even if it was out of misinformed optimism. I wish you a peaceful, loving, wonderful Thanksgiving.


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