Loss and Found

Reflections on Skin Cancer and Solar Aging Band-Aid Generation I am one in the army of older people to wear a Band-Aid on my face. One skin cancer survivor who joyfully, happily, obliviously chose a chaise-sitting, oil-basting, body-rotating, reflector-using, get-a-tan- at-any-cost younger life. So now I’m a dues-paying member of a community I didn’t ask to join.   The Reckoning I’m sitting on a park bench looking down at my hands, the backs shockingly old in the afternoon sun. The skin crinkles outward like a spider web or pieces of broken eggshells. On examination, the left hand appears more lined than the right. I wonder if the left one was … Continue reading

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In Poor Taste: Terbinafine-induced dysgeusia in a 58-year-old man

Abstract:  This is a case report of dysgeusia and glossodynia in a 58-year-old man, which he developed during a 12-week course of oral Lamisil (terbinafine) prescribed as treatment for presumed onychomycosis.  Although these side effects are documented in the medical literature, many clinicians are either unaware of them or neglect to mention them to patients prior to prescribing the drug. The literature suggests that dysgeusia is more likely to develop in the older patient who has a low BMI.  There is no known treatment for the disorder, which may resolve on its own or become permanent. Keywords:  terbinafine, Lamisil, dysgeusia, ageusia, hypogeusia, altered sense of taste, medication side effects, onychomycosis, … Continue reading

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Acne Unmasked

Bukowski on Acne From Ham on Rye Black Sparrow Press 1982 Ham on Rye, a semi-autobiographical novel, follows Henry Chinaski, Bukowski’s thinly-veiled alter ego, during his early years. It contains harrowing descriptions of Bukowski’s suffering from acne conglobata and his reflections on the dermatologists who treated him.  Fortunately, today, isotretinoin can help most of these patients. Here are some excerpts from Ham on Rye:   Chapter 29 I was ashamed of my boils at school.  At Chelsey, you had a choice between gym and ROTC.  I took ROTC because then I didn’t have to wear a gym suit and nobody could see the boils on my body. Handling the rifle … Continue reading

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Seborrheic Dermatitis: Cri de Coeur

In his Op-Ed piece, “Diary of a Creep,” published in the Sunday January 6, 2013 New York Times, the journalist Rend Smith gives the best description of seborrheic dermatitis we have ever read.  Here are excerpts from that piece which can be read in its entirety on the NY Times website. “My problem isn’t as luxurious as aging.,,Yet there’s obviously a corruption, a slow, unidentifiable toxin seeping into my life. I have volcano-ash dandruff, so I haven’t gotten my new hair “shaped up,” in the parlance of black barbershops, out of embarrassment… But worse than anything else is my face, or more specifically, the skin there. The condition I have,, … Continue reading

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Acne: Worst Case Scenario

Excerpt from “72 Scars”  Evergreen Review. Technically speaking, Scar #1 began in 1971 and lasted well into the 1980s. Like many teenagers, I had acne, but unlike many teenagers, I had the worst case any doctor had ever seen. The only thing to compare it to is Charles Bukowski’s description in Ham on Rye. It started out innocently enough. My dad would drive me to Dr. Fried in Englewood, NJ every Saturday of my freshman year. The treatment would begin with a 30 second x-ray radiation treatment of the afflicted areas and then Dr. Fried would take out a dermatological instrument and go to work squeezing the pimples on my … Continue reading

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Perioral Dermatitis: A Personal Odyssey

Attack of the POD People … EEEK ! (Don’t worry – the title is scary, but there’s a happy ending…) Abstract:  This is one woman’s narrative of her experiences with perioral dermatitis (POD).  In his film, Crimes And Misdemeanors, Woody Allen declares that comedy is tragedy plus time.  While POD was not exactly a tragedy for me; it did, however, negatively affect me physically and emotionally six months of the year.  In reading my attempts to ease the situation, feel free to laugh (or cry) both with me and at me! Keywords:  perioral dermatitis, self-care, self-diagnosis, illness narrative, stress, grief, doxycycline, POD Note:  This essay is better read in the … Continue reading

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Grand Rounds Circa 1990

Mens sana in corpore sano —Juvenal My Road to Ground Rounds—and the Results! By H. J. W. Abstract:  These are the recollections of an 84 year-old man who was presented at Grand Rounds 22 years ago.  He had dermatomyositis at time.  His observations are important as they reflect on the academic activity and also the evolution of one man’s experience with dermatomyositis. Keywords:  dermatomyositis, grand rounds, illness narrative, academic medicine, pruritus, Massachusetts General Hospital Twenty years ago when my glass shower door came off its track, I had a hard time lifting it back into place. “Am I getting weaker?” I thought. My upper body itched. I had no pep, … Continue reading

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Micrographic Surgery: A Patient’s Experience

My Mohs Experience Abstract: This is the personal account of a 70 year old man who underwent micrographic surgery for an ill-defined basal cell skin cancer on his temple.  It is intended to inform patients and physicians about the personal experiences and perceptions of Mohs patients.  A micrographic surgeon has added a coda. Keywords:  micrographic surgery, Mohs surgery, Mohs micrographic surgery, MMS, nonmelanoma skincancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, illness narrative Who knows/ whose nose/ needs Mohs?  E. Dorinda Shelley Introduction:  Dermatologists see patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer on a daily basis.  Certain tumors, especially those around the nose, ears, and eyes are best handled with micrographic surgery (aka, … Continue reading

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