Among the myriad ills my particular flesh is heir to, alongside dodgy knees, dodgy sinuses, stress-eczema, "really terrible breasts" and fatigue-with-glandular-wossname, is the lurking existence of moles. I have millyuns of moles. Seriously, I've never actually counted, but when the nice dermatologist lady mapped them last year there must have been over twenty which were significant enough to record. I am Heavily Dotted. There are whole constellations all over my back, and minor outbreaks on my arms and legs. I had a boyfriend once who used to get really stoned and play join-the-dots. I've mostly cordially ignored the moles, and they've got on quietly with their inoffensive high-pigmentation existences, occasionally appearing or disappearing to their own cryptic timetables, but they do have the potential to Turn Nasty, hence the mapping. Which, I have to add for the record, is another of those high-tech sciency things which is really cool
, all computerised and dedicated-software and high-tech cameras, and more than compensates for the demoralising experience of seeing one's own flabby bod photographically exposed in high definition. (Moles are really odd in high detail close-up, incidentally. All patchy and constellated and complicated).
So, there are two potentially dodgy moles on my left thigh. The nice dermatologist lady ruthlessly excised them two weeks back, and sent them off for biopsy, leaving me with two cauterised raw patches, a slight smell of scorched flesh and a minor outbreak of dermatitis from reaction to the plasters. According to the biopsy, one mole is fine. The other is apparently edging into the territory where "non-standard melanocytic nevus" becomes "potentially moving into possible Stage 0 melanoma". This is all terribly potential and pre-emptive, but the standard, slightly "nuke them from orbit" response is to re-excise both of them for good measure, taking out an additional half-centimetre of flesh all round. This leaves slightly more of a crater than the original surface excision, requiring stitches and what have you, and the procedure is performed by a plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon in question is a lovely man, if completely insane and more than a little manic, and we had a lovely chat about the way he proposes to pump me full of rohypnol-like drugs which don't actually knock me out, but, in his words, "scramble your memories". You experience the pain, apparently, you simply don't remember it. I'm fine with this, surprisingly. Also with his confirmation of my personal sense that all anaesthetists are, in fact, insane. Which in my experience they have been.
So tomorrow I'm in hospital briefly, having moles subdued. Or, more accurately, pursuing a scorched earth policy on the area where moles have been subdued. This is minorly off-narking in view of the fact that I'd actually already applied for leave for actual holiday/break purposes before being told I needed this procedure, but hopefully I can re-purpose the leave. By way of consolation, Cape Town continues to be blissfully cool and damp, signalling that Autumn, thank FSM, is Here. Also, beautiful clouds. This was yesterday evening, at Claire's for Sherlock
-watching and crispy duck with pancakes. While the speckled pattern on the clouds reminds me irresistibly of mole close-ups, I have to admit that life, despite having its moments of complexity just now, is certainly not uniformly bad. (The new season of Sherlock
is not uniformly bad either, but I have Notes which I shall certainly develop at some length in a subsequent post).
My subject line is Spike Milligan, whose Cheetah is relevant on account of being heavily dotted and easily spotted. I do not, in fact, live in Tanganyika. I don't think I've ever visited, even, the closest I've come is Malawi or Mozambique. I do, however, rather like cheetahs.