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a woman hangs from one hand off a branch. She has a bandage on her upper lip.

Suspicious Spot: Part 2

The suspicious little spot that appeared above my lip in July had a short run all told. Earlier this month, I sent a photo of the spot to my dermatologist, and he asked me to drop by his office. I see my dermatologist every six months, but I didn’t want to wait until January as this one had been hanging in there with me since mid-July. It’s been a long time since I was concerned enough about a particular spot to see my doctor between appointments–I was nervous.

It began normally enough

The appointment began with the normal rundown of questions: “How long has the spot been there? Does it itch? Have you tried anything on it? Are you noticing any changes?” I answered all of the doctor’s questions quickly–I was eager to find out if he thought I would need a biopsy or not. Adding to my collection of white scars is always in the back of my mind; this would be one that would meet everyone head-on.

Narrowing it down

My dermatologist’s first instinct was to make sure we weren’t dealing with a milium cyst before performing a biopsy. He described milia as something akin to a pimple with no pore. He proceeded to do what I had already tried in August-he began to squeeze it to see if it produced any fluid. My dermatologist had the same result I had. Neither of us got anything from it except a fair amount of pain.

Biopsy it is

I could tell fairly quickly that he had mixed feelings about the spot. Once he determined we weren’t in the realm of the pimple, he moved straight to a biopsy. I am thankful that he errs on the side of caution and takes no chances. I would much rather be sure than sorry down the road.

The biopsy was quick and easy. He numbed the spot and made a tiny, quick cut in order to get a tissue sample for examination. I was given a tiny bandage, instructions for after-care, and my dermatologist’s usual promise to contact me with the news that it was benign. He’s just like that, and I appreciate it. Even though I am well aware, given my history, that any one of my moles and suspicious spots could be cause for much more serious and invasive procedures, I am always grateful for his positive and upbeat demeanor.

Close up of a small band aid above April's lip

It hurt a little, but I’m used to it

I set out for home with my awkward bandage in place just above my lip. The stinging and burning is usually mild following a biopsy, and this spot was no different. After an hour or so, I forgot the spot was ever there except for the obvious bandage, of course. I am always instructed to use a dab of petroleum jelly on biopsy sites, but due to some previous reactions I have had to Vaseline, I opt for a bit of Mupirocin, also known as Bactroban, instead. Keeping the site moist helps with healing, and once it heals, I will switch to my daily moisturizer, Vanicream lotion.

Now the wait begins

There was a time when waiting on a biopsy meant waiting up to two weeks. A letter would arrive in my mailbox with the good news, or I would answer a call from a nurse delivering a diagnosis of skin cancer and an appointment time for further excision. These days, an app is the communication of choice, and turnaround time is much quicker. I expect to hear from my doctor soon.

The waiting begins.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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