Obscurity Knocks

Earnest, empathetic, industrious, unpretentious, gay Virgo in Milwaukee with a great life, amazing friends, and a wonderful family.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Being 37

Being 37 means that you spend more time in doctor and dentist offices than you did in your 20s. Mikel wrote about this reality on his blog.

I had six cavities that were drilled and filled when I was young. Back then dentists used silver amalgam fillings that contained mercury, which can have pretty bad side effects if those fillings break down and the mercury gets into your system. My dentist (she's been my dentist since 1988 by the way) told me that she wanted to replace the silver amalgam fillings with tooth colored resin. I had the last two silver amalgam fillings replaced with new tooth colored resin on Friday. So now that's done.

This morning I went to my internal medicine/primary care doctor for my annual physical, which I haven't had done in about 20 months. The exam and my labs were all fine, so that was good news to receive.

One minor issue: I pointed out a spot on my scalp that has seemed kind of strange the past three months. With skin as fair (read: pale) as mine, I've learned that I need to be vigilant about any unusual freckles or other unusual things on my skin, since I'm in a high risk group for skin cancer with my red hair, fair skin, and freckles. The doctor said that it was an actinic keratosis, which basically means an unusual patch of skin that could, over time, develop into skin cancer. The doctor used liquid nitrogen to freeze those skin cells, causing them to die, and that takes care of the problem. Another word for the procedure they did is cryotherapy, and it's incredibly easy and noninvasive, even if it's temporarily uncomfortable. The liquid nitrogen freezing is easy compared to something that needs to be cut off, in which case a dermatologist has to physically cut the nevus (freckle) off, and they usually have it biopsied to make certain it's not cancerous. I've had that done a couple of times, as well. The actual cutting isn't a big deal, either, but the freezing is easier.

I recommend a visit to the dermatologist for anyone with a concern about an ABCDE on their skin.

Next up: annual eye exam in April. Annual dermatologist visit late spring/early summer.


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