That One May when My Face Exploded

You’ve all probably been wondering where the hell I went this May. Maybe? Maybe you didn’t even notice I was gone. It is May, after all. Like many of you, I went down the rabbit hole that is May beginning with May 1st, marking the worst day of my life, and filled with non-stop obligations.

Yes, some were absolutely amazing like seeing my girls perform in their end of the year ballet showcase and violin concerts. I got the littlest one through first communion. I celebrated 6 years of The TRUTH! The Big Guy and I celebrated 16 years of friendship and marriage. Speaking of the Big Guy, he turned the big 4.0! Did I mention that the littlest turned 8? Also, we participated in the neighborhood’s annual garage sale and to bookend the craziness, last week Monday, I woke up with my left side of my face so swollen that my eye looked like it was drooping and melting down my face. My first thought, “Oh shit! All of this stress, I have Bells Palsy!”

I promptly freaked out, cried and headed immediately to the RediMed…all on the same morning that my littlest had a field trip to a nature reserve. Stress much! Thankfully, the Big Guy was on hand to step in and chaperone as I headed to the doctor to deal with what I was sure the beginnings of a stroke. Then my vanity kicked in, all I could think of was all of the traveling and conference attending that I was going to have to do with my droopy face. I hadn’t even the mental fortitude to think about my entire future.

I sat there in the waiting room with my face increasingly swelling, looking more and more like Rocky after a fight by the second. Trying my best to maintain my composure. Shaking, just a little bit but not enough to knock my purse out of my lap or anything.

I was the first patient they saw that morning After, getting a 145/90 blood pressure reading, in my mind confirming my suspicions that I must be stroking out, my doctor did an exam and said that it was an infection that was causing the swelling. I told her of my bells palsy fears and she asked me to move my face that was how she was “sure” that it wasn’t a stroke.

Nothing a 10-day supply of hearty, vomit and diarrhea inducing antibiotics wouldn’t fix up in no less than 10 days. Oh and the giant tumor looking bump that was sitting on my eyebrow that had developed over night, no worries, “It “should” go away with the infection. But if it grows or you develop any other symptoms or feel “weird” go directly to the hospital!”

Uhm, okay?

“The antibiotics should pull the infection to a head and it should burst on it’s own. If not, come back in a few days after the meds have kicked in and we will lance it!”

Uhm, okay? Did she know that this WASN’T a pimple? I’m getting more deformed by the moment and she wants to pop my zits.

She called the next night. My face was swelling even more and the thing above my eye was causing me to have blurry vision. I was beginning to look like the elephant man. “I am not a freak.” I was still not convinced that I wasn’t going to die or be permanently maimed.

The next morning, I put on my Wonder Woman panties and prayed the rosary (hey, you have to exhaust all of your resources) I went back in. Well, first I called my regular doctor who was out. Then I called the RediMed. The nurse was supposed to call me back but I had the girls’ end of the year ballet performance to attend that night and the line at RediMed usually runs 2 hours deep. So, impatience got the best of me and I headed out. By the time I got to the check-in window, the nurse was just sitting down to call me. Yep, I’m sure they thought I was a hypochondriac but one look at my face should have cured anyone of any suspicions.

I was feeling better but I was looking much worse. I was terrified at what might be happening. I was feeling awful from the 3X a day dose of Keflex, and every time I looked in the mirror I had a panic attack. I got a new doctor this time, the dad of the little boy in my daughter’s tap class. Embarrassing. My world is getting entirely too small.

He was very friendly and my blood pressure reading of 180/95 let him know that I was in full on freak out mode. He referred to the notes on my diagnosis from 2 days prior, examined my face and actually listened when I told him that the “tumor” on my eyebrow was not puss filled but was in fact a very small, almost invisible, chicken pock scar from when I was 11.It had always been there in my eyebrow but it NEVER did this before.

Upon further inspection, he confirmed it. We had to lance this thing. Apparently, the infection had caused something in the inner working of my face to become blocked and that caused the swelling. And on top of that, just beneath the surface of my chicken pock scar there was a teeny sebaceous cyst lying dormant UNTIL the infection which caused the cyst to grow rapidly. But that was not confirmed until after he lanced the CYST and realized that it was not filled with infection but instead some sort of cottage cheese substance. Oh yeah, I know, TMI! How do you think I felt? It was coming out of my face.There I was with my face looking like I had just gone 10 rounds with Stallone after finding Adrian in bed with Apollo Creed and this doctor/friend by association was on top of me on what had to be the most uncomfortable table on the planet, using his full weight to squeeze cottage cheese out of my already, extremely tender monstrosity of an inflamed cyst. He kept asking if I needed to take a break and was very surprised by my lack of screaming and crying at this barbaric tactic. I told him, “I’ve given birth twice. I’m good. Just finish.”

He said, “Well, now you’ve given birth three times. Let’s name it!” I was not amused. He apologized as he wiped the teaspoon worth of cottage cheese (his estimation not mine, as I was blind), blood and water from my head. He bandaged me up, sent me home and said, “See you tonight (at the recital).”

It was traumatic and I had to wear a giant Band-Aid to the ballet, which I’m sure has the ballet mom rumor mill speculating that the Big Guy beats me in between tap and ballet classes. Anyways, today my vision is completely restored and the tumor atop my eye is no longer and has returned to its previous tiny scar. It’s a little larger than before but the doc said it could be a couple weeks before it completely goes down. If not, there is always surgical removal.

So, today I’m telling you all about it because I’ve been on a weeks worth of Xanax, antibiotics, the bump is a blip and I can see again so I am not freaking out about stroking out. Now, I can laugh about it. But of course it all finished just in time for shark week to start. Damn you May, you started with devastation, filled with love, chaos, endings and a perceived near death experiences only to go out in a blaze of hormone migraines, cramps and moodiness. Thank God there is only 2 days left.

Hope your May was better than mine! I just thought y’all might want to know why I disappeared.

How was your May?

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