Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Don't Tell Anyone

Image found here

Wanna hear something really gross?

Of course you do. Just don't read this over breakfast.

The last time I saw my dentist, after he took a look-see around my mouth and throat, he told me to go see an ENT -- ear, nose, and throat doctor. "Because you have a .......... um .......papilloma on your left tonsil stalk."

A what?

"A growth caused by the human papilloma virus, also known as a wart."


"Got any other warts?"

I beg your pardon.

"Well, now, Julia. You know what a wart is. I know that you know what HPV is. So spill."

OK. If you must know.......I have a plantar wart. And a wart on my hand. And..............sigh.............a wart on my nose.

(Wow. I've never made that confession before, people. What kind of person has a wart on her NOSE? And now on her left tonsillar fossa? The shame. The heartbreak and shame.....)

"The reason I've asked -- as I'm sure you know -- is that when people are immunosuppressed, especially to the degree that you are, it's easy for other opportunistic viruses to spread. And if you've got one wart, it's almost a sure thing that you'll get another. I'm pretty certain that this is just a benign little papilloma, caused by an HPV virus, but I want an ENT to check this out."


"Julia. Speak to me."

Ok. Ok, already. But it's ANOTHER doctor visit and ANOTHER co-pay I have to tell them about my other warts?

"Yes. Yes you do. So there." He grinned. "But don't worry. Your wart secret is safe with me." And made a zipping motion across his lips.

So today, I dutifully showed up for my first appointment with a brand-spankin'-new ENT physician, a lovely young lady with a huge smile and a very gentle demeanor. She had the grace not to cringe when I mentioned the W word.

Actually, she didn't even seem a bit grossed out.

"So you and I should probably be in touch periodically," she mused.

For wa.....war.....papillomas?

"No. Because of your Sjogren's syndrome. I can see the changes that a dry mouth have made on your oral mucosa and may have a teensy bit of thrush beginning on the far corner of your soft palate."

Wow. She seemed pretty knowledgeable about Sjs. I liked her immediately.

"So. I'm going to do a very thorough comprehensive exam today since you have an ongoing condition which affects -- obviously -- your throat and mouth. And I'm going to remove that little papilloma and send it down to the lab to be examined."

She wasn't kidding about a thorough exam which included threading a small fiberoptic scope down through my nose all the way to my toes. (Not really. It just felt that way.) I believe she stopped just shy of my vocal cords. But it was expertly done and was remarkably comfortable.

I really, really, liked this new doctor. "So. What about this......w......wa......wart on my nose?"

She took a nasal speculum and looked into my right nostril. "That? That little thing?" 

I nodded.

"It's pretty small. And I couldn't even see it until you tipped your head way back. It's kind of on the inner edge of your nostril."

But it really bugs me.

"I'm pretty sure that I could excise it, but I don't have time today. If you want to come back, I'd be happy to remove it, but actually it will probably just grow back. Sorry."

Do you promise that it won't show on all the family pictures coming up with TWO weddings this year?

"Wow. Two weddings? Um, yep. I'm sure. But just make an appointment and come back if you think it's going to be noticeable. We'll take care of it, at least temporarily."

I left after she numbed then snipped a very small little piece of tissue -- the dreaded papilloma -- from the back of my throat.

So there it is, folks. Promise me you won't think less of me......yes. I am a warted woman. Now you know my deepest darkest secret.

Just remind me before the wedding NEVER to tip my head back and thus expose my.......wa.......war......papilloma.


annie said...

The things we have to worry about with sjs! Poor you, another doctor's visit, but at least you're well taken care of. Keep well Julia,

Missy said...

I've often wondered if an ENT would be helpful. I think I may try one out! Thanks for the confession...I've had plantar warts before and they hurt!

Jenny P said...

You know, Julia, it's funny you bring this up. When I was a kid (elementary school) I had warts - a few on my hands/fingers and at least a couple on my knee. Yet another reason I hated wearing shorts. I think I had one or two frozen off or something, and I swear the others just eventually disappear. Not that I'd done extensive research, but anything I did know about HPV a) made sense with the myriad of cyclical infections I had as a kid but b) made no sense with my disappearing...papillomas. And I've always wondered if they might someday come back, but I haven't had any in years & years. But sometimes I still wonder. In fact I think I see it as inevitable. I also worry about passing it onto kids. Even your funny business posts make me think:)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever been told by a doctor that you got the sjogrens because of the HPV?

Julia Oleinik said...

Anonymous -- nope. Especially since the Sjogrens showed up many years before the wa wa wa warts...

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was a prompt answer! Thank you so much! Blessings to you!