Monday, April 9, 2012

My Unicorn Stage

Observe as I gracefully ignore my neglect to this blog.

Poof! Ignored.

All of us have special qualities that make us unique. For some, it's their amazing abilities to bend metal with their minds, or solve tricky math problems. Others can draw good, or turn their eyelids inside out. I discovered my special quality about a year ago. While this special attribute of mine had been periodically rearing its ugly head for several years, it wasn't until this time last year that I learned it was just a special part of being me. Imagine my delight. 

If only this special feature allowed me to do that Vulcan thing with my four fingers, or slurp my spit back into my mouth just before it hit the ground... that would be wonderful. But, sadly my unique quality has nothing to do with cool and useless super-human tricks. My special attribute? I grow pimples... really, really big ones... on my face.

In all fairness, they're not technically pimples; they're called Sebaceous Cysts. And boy are they ugly. Imagine the largest pimple you've ever seen. Now magnify that by about ten... and that might be close to the size of these puppies. Thankfully, I only get them once or twice a year. But when I do, the process usually goes something like this:
  1. Small red bump that feels a little tender appears on my face, followed by a sinking feeling in my gut and an intense desire to cut my face off. 
  2. The bump gradually but dramatically swells in the general area of the cyst, creating a pronounced mound that resembles a scaled down version of Mount Saint Helens.
  3. Swelling intensifies, resulting in partial paralysis to my facial expressions, evoking looks of astonishment and terror by all those who behold its horror. 
  4. Painful extraction procedure ensues, which usually leads to a grotesque eruption of "matter" that decorates the mirror, walls and ceiling of my bathroom (I know... maybe a bit too graphic, and I should have warned you. My sincerest apologies).
In the end, I look like a gun shot victim with my wife staring blankly and saying, "That was awesome!" 

When the mother of all cysts appeared on my forehead just before vacation last year, I finally sought the guidance of a venerated dermatologist to help me overcome that beast, and learn how I can prevent them from ever happening again. Her response was less than encouraging: "You just have a skin type that likes to produce cysts." 

There it is... my special quality. And I was so hoping for the ability to fly, or stretchy arms. Bummer. 

But here's another gem with this little beauty of a gift - they almost always appear when I have something major on the calendar. Like, for example, the most recent of these cysts which decided to join me a few days before Easter... with me on the schedule to play guitar in our worship band just a few days later. When I would normally want to hide my face from all of humanity, I had to stand in front of thousands of people and play my guitar. Awesome. Thankfully I made it through the weekend with 90% use of my eye brows, and relatively small amounts of swelling. 

But then today I decided to return to my friendly dermatologist and employ her cunning skill and gadgetry to destroy this monster. It was a success. All I remember from the procedure was hearing the nurse use "tootsie roll" as a size reference to that which was extracted from my face. I'll be honest, I was a little proud. 

Here I sit at my computer, forehead still swollen and aching, and thankful that another one of these atrocities is behind me. Yet, I have to be honest that there was a part of me that came to grips with the reality of these cysts through this most recent experience. Rather than get all stressed out about it, I decided that - like it or not - this is just a part of who I am. And really, it could be a lot worse. Why should I hide my face because of a bump? ... a grotesque, scream-inducing, freak-of-nature bump? Sure, it's unsightly. But it's me. Maybe the majestic unicorn felt the same way I did whilst in the presence of simple horses. Maybe it's adorning horn was seen as a monstrosity by those who lacked one. But it's the horn that makes it what it is... beautiful, dignified, and magical. Maybe these cysts are my horns, and I need to hold my head high like the mighty unicorn. 

Then again, I'm sure many a unicorn would have cut that stupid horn off if they could have... and that's what I did.

But now I've said too much.