A few months ago I noticed what I thought was a bruise in the middle of my back. At first I figured I’d leaned too hard against my shiatsu massage pillow and I didn’t think much of it.
A month later, it was still there and another, smaller “bruise” was forming above it. I found this a little concerning and of course leukemia crossed my mind because I’ve heard that unexplained bruising can be a symptom. So, for peace of mind, I went in to the doctor – a new doctor at a new clinic because I didn’t like the last doctor my old clinic assigned me to.
New Doctor looked at the bruise and announced that it wasn’t a bruise. He sent me to a dermatologist who took a biopsy. About a week after getting the stitches taken out of the biopsy site, the dermatologist’s office called to say that it the results weren’t conclusive but that it was most likely a condition called Morphea.
I’d never heard of Morphea so I looked it up and found pictures of people with big, dark blotches similar to mine. Apparently, Morphea is a localized version of Scleroderma, that extremely debilitating and disfiguring systemic disease that I’ve been terrified of getting since seeing a movie about it when I was a teenager. The fact sheets all made sure to point out that Morphea does not progress into Scleroderma though. (Phew!) Normally, Morphea just keeps on being dark spots on the skin and is usually confined to the trunk, which is no big deal since I don’t plan on being in a swimsuit competition any time in this lifetime.
The letter I later got from my dermatologist’s office said that Morphea isn’t a worrisome condition but, nevertheless, there are a couple of things about it that are worrying me. I now have six spots, three on my mid back, one on my upper stomach, one on my shoulder which is now spreading to the back of my neck and one on my right elbow. Two of these areas, my mid back and my right elbow, are areas that I have pain. I read online that Morphea can thicken the tissues below a spot causing stiffness and pain. Could this be why my year-old “tendonitis” is still hurting?
I probably should go to the doctor to see why my elbow still hurts but I’m not going to. And here’s why: It cost us over $700.00 just to find out I have this condition. Yeah, no thanks. My elbow doesn’t hurt THAT bad!
Another thing that is worrying me a little is that I have a dark spot on my bottom lip. If I don’t have tinted lip balm on to cover it up, I look like I have a perpetual smudge of chocolate on my mouth. (Charming, right?) My worry is that it will get bigger and the Morphea will spread and I will end up looking like this:
And since I’m not planning to audition for the part of half-rotted zombie in The Walking Dead, that’s a look I’d rather not have.