Noah and I were coming home from golf today,
and I was telling Noah about this Aloe Vera/DMSO cream that I’ve been using on my lips.
[Back story my lips: Squamous Cell 2-3 years ago, last summer they started thickening weird, literally chunks of dead lip tissue will crack off. Biopsy came back for a bunch of different inflammatory conditions, technically one of them that can happen from an underlying squamous cell cancer, but technically the biopsy itself didn’t show cancer.]
Anyhow, so my lips have been getting worse and worse since last summer (ultrasound scheduled in a few days),
so I started this DMSO cream about two weeks ago based on the recommendation of a nurse I’ve had for years, in a kind of last chance desperate effort to turn my lips around —
[Multiple chapsticks, coconut oil, cod liver oil, even antibacterial ointment (thinking maybe an infection from mask wearing), nothing helped and my lips were continuing to get worse.]
We’re driving home, I was chatting with Noah about my lip improvement, how DMSO has been determined to be safe for human internal use based on the FDA’s approval for a bladder condition, that DMSO is a byproduct of the paper making process (so it comes from trees), and there has even been some scientific studies done about DMSO’s possible use for cancer treatment (nothing has been really confirmed yet but DMSO’s ability to penetrate through tissues make it an interesting vehicle to get drugs into tissues deeper),
And as I talked, I noticed the driver starting to perk up.
Noticing this, at first I started to talk louder and louder, to test if the driver was really interested in the conversation or not, and once I realized he was interested, I directly invited him into it,
“If you know anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, you might want to tell them to explore DMSO and it’s possible use in the fight against cancer.”
Relieved I brought him in (some Uber drivers are traditional, and they don’t speak much unless you talk with them directly),
Happy to be included, he *instantly* points to his neck,
“Do you think the DMSO cream could help me with this?”
While still keeping his eyes on the road, he leans a little dramatically to the left, so I can get a better look under his right ear–
Since I’m blind as a bat, I half get out of my seat to lean in,
AND HOLY FUCKING SHIT what I saw.
Reader, you know I’m not a doctor, and you know at best I have random bits of medical knowledge half hazardedly strung through years of my own pain and suffering,
But OMG this man NEEDS TO SEE A DOCTOR NOW.
Thankfully, he can’t look directly at my face because his eyes are on the road,
so I take a second to compose myself,
and I delicately squeak out,
“ummm…have you…maybe you might want to…to get a…biopsy of that?’
“BIOPSY?? Umph. Umph.”
Lightning bolt — his Billy MacKay like huffs and puffs catapulted me back six years ago,
“BIOPSY? Eeeeeeveryone is telling me to get a biopsy and eeeeeevery doctor is telling me to get a biopsy done too. I don’t want anyone cutting around on me.”
Breathe Tara…think Tara…you know this script. How can I find a way to help this man?
“Um, well, ya, the cream might help…sure, you should try it–”
He breathes a sign of relief. ‘She’s not going to be one of those that’s going to keep pushing me to get a biopsy I don’t want.’
“Um, ya…why don’t you give me your number, and I’ll text you the link to where I got the cream on Amazon.”
Getting personal phone number –> step one in getting into contact with him later.
He paused for a second, looking me up and down. I smiled my prettiest hidden under my mask innocent and bunny like smile I could muster.
“Uh, okay. It’s 818-xxx-xxxx”
Scrambling to enter into my phone as fast as possible,
Quick text “DMSO cream.”
“Okay I got it.”
Okay great…it’s his real number.
Some ramblings about the cream, ‘I keep my lips soaked in it all day long’,
Why my brain is ravaging itself –> how do I get this man into a doctor’s office??
We pull up in front of my apartment,
“Can I take a photo of your neck…to show my doctor?”
A little heavy there with the mention of the word doctor, but by now I’ve relaxed him by dropping the biopsy talk for the remainder of the ride, chatting about the cream,
he paused again,
And he patiently lets me take a few photos (and even a 5 second video).
“I’m going to send this to my doctor.”
I could tell he was little unnerved by that, but again, trying to plant a seed.
Back to chatting about the cream again,
My mouth: “Keep the cream in your car, use it all day long”
My brain: “PLEASE SEE A DOCTOR NOW. You must have a wife or children or friends or siblings who love you and would like to see your life extended by a few more months than it would be without medical treatment.
Noah and I exit the vehicle, the driver hands Noah his golf clubs, and we part ways.
As Noah and I walked up the stairs,
I told the little budding doctor,
“There are probably only going to be a few moments in your career as a doctor, when you look at something, and just by looking at it you know with 100% certainty what it is, even before any bloodwork or biopsies come back with results.”
We take a few steps up the stairs, and I turn (sadly) to watch the car disappear down the street,
and I’m 100% sure that is malignant melanoma Noah. That man needs medical care immediately to help extend his life. Most likely it’s already metasized, but with medical care doctors can maybe extend his life a few months longer than without medical care.
Noah asked why I was so sure it was malignant, and I gave him the laundry list of obvious melanoma symptoms,
Then a few hours later, I plotted with my doctor the different ways we can possibly help this man get the help he needs…tread carefully, speak softly, always receptive to criticism and concern,
this man needs a doctor, and I’m going to do everything I can to help him get in to see one.