Look what arrived in the mail yesterday!
Look what arrived in the mail yesterday!
I am sharing this story with a bit of trepidation because I am probably violating some law about practicing medicine without a license and maybe putting people at risk for missing a melanoma or something, so think carefully on this one, and really read what I wrote, before you try it yourself. Especially follow the part about getting a doctor to check things out first! I decided to describe what i did because, well I think most people are smart enough so that they can make their own informed decisions given the information.
This is a closeup of a mole on my shoulder. It is about 3mm long and 2mm wide and raised about 1.5 mm, slightly higher on one side. It’s dark brown and symmetrical if you were to put a line across the long part. I have several of them. This one appeared on my shoulder about eight years ago as an itchy spot that then proceeded to itch and fuss and then when it got to this size it stopped growing and itching and settled down and stayed the same. This is typical for them. I think they are a family trait because most of the people in my family have them. I recall my grandmother regularly going to have hers removed. She would get ten or twelve removed from her back every few years. The removal sessions left her back a bloody mess. In spite of this, not one member of my extended family has ever had any form of skin cancer. My complexion is also dark olive and I tan to a dark bronze if I let the sun get to my skin, which I normally don’t. I’m not sure this whole thing would be a good idea for someone very fair or with red hair or with a family history of skin cancer.
Because of all the concerned about changing moles being cancerous and especially the fear of melanoma, people tend to react with cautious horror to the appearance of a brand new mole. Thus, I have three times gone running off to the doctor about older versions of such moles and had them removed. The results have not been pretty.
This is the scar left by removing one of these stupid moles, this one in my inner arm. In all three cases the stitches split open, white unpigmented scar tissue was left as a circle 5mm across in the middle and I got ugly brown pigmented splotches that still grew out around the white circle as it healed. In all three cases the pathology came back as a nonspecific nonmalignant benign dysplasia, i.e. NOT cancer. And the wound was exceptionally painful and took weeks to heal. The results of the removing the mole are far worse that the mole itself for me. So the one on my shoulder is one I just had a doctor look at and we both agreed it was better left alone and not removed. She took a couple of pictures so she could check it for changes whenever I have my yearly check up. It’s been quiet, sitting there, ugly and unchanging, for about seven years now.
I have always had a tiny cluster of two small dark brown freckles and one bright red “stork bite” type spot on my face near my nose. I was born with this threesome. They are part of me. Well in November I developed the now familiar itch and to my dismay I began sprouting yet another one of these blasted moles right next to the upper freckle of the threesome. And true to form it grew and grew, itching and fussing as it did, until it was the same size as the one on my arm (about 3mm long and 2mm wide and raised about 1.5 mm) and it covered both the cute little red spot and one of the brown freckles entirely, and half over the other brown freckle, all with one nasty raised ugly brown blotch. It was UGLY. I HATED it.
I had my doctor look at it and again we decided it was probably benign. Removing it was likely to leave yet another ugly scar unless I paid a lot of money to go to one of those dermatology clinics that remove them with lasers and such which are not covered by our healthcare program. I decided to do an on line search and see if there was an easy way to do it. I came across many articles about removing a mole with apple cider vinegar.
There are two methods. One is to scratch and poke the mole with a needle and apply apple cider vinegar. There are also multiple official websites from doctors that plead with people to NOT use this method because it can make things worse including infection, scarring, masking a melanoma and all kinds of bad consequences. I personally can’t imagine a nastier way to mess up your skin than to stick it with needles and abrade it with sandpaper and such and then apply vinegar. No wonder people get scaring and infections! I DO NOT recommend this method.
The simpler gentler method is to apply the apple cider vinegar just to the mole either with a soaked bandaid left on overnight or by dabbing some on directly. Since apple cider vinegar is a mild acid the idea is to slowly remove layers of cells from the top down until the mole is gone. This will only work if the mole is superficial. Cancerous cells go deep, so this method would not work for a cancer. It seemed to me that slowly removing the mole with a mild acid would be about like shaving it off with a laser. So I decided to give it a try.
How I did it:
I put a small container of vinegar next to my computer and every time I thought of it I dipped my finger in the bottle and lightly dabbed just the mole and nothing else. If I got too much drip and the area under the mole got wet, I dried the area and I did it again. I was probably dabbing about twenty times a day. I also checked carefully twice a day in a mirror with a flashlight and as soon as I saw any sign of redness or irritation or got any burning sensation I stopped for the rest of that day.
I was also persistent. I saw absolutely nothing happening for about two weeks. I set a date by which I would stop trying at six weeks after I started and if I had not done that I suspect I would have given up too soon. Every time I was ready to give up I checked the calendar and kept at it instead. However, in the third week I began to see results. Slowly but surely the mole began to slough off very thin layers of skin as it dried up. After four weeks the area was so smooth I could no longer feel anything where the mole had been. My previous freckle and red spot reappeared, like old friends coming back. In the final stages I did have some redness and irritation so I had to back off the application of the vinegar. Instead I switched to a good moisturizer until all the redness was gone.
The final result is as you see. Two normal freckles I have always had and one teeny red stork bite spot I have also always had and only a very slight discolouration where the skin got irritated at the lower boundary of where the big ugly mole used to be. I have been carefully monitoring the area and so far, one month later, I can find no sign of the mole coming back or any other changes. I also made a picture of where the boundary of the mole was before I started. As you can see the improvement is considerable. (I apologize for not taking a good before picture but it was just too ugly to contemplate.)
This is the closest I have to a good before picture because it bugged so much I was ducking cameras.
So I can recommend the apple cider vinegar method with some cautionary notes.
I am very happy with the result. I like having my tiny red spot and the old familiar twin freckles back. Vanity thy name is woman, and this woman is happy. I will try to update if anything else happens, like if I die of melanoma or something or the mole decides to grow back. I am not expecting anything like that though. And again talk to your doctor BEFORE you try anything like this.
Today was a very big day at our house. We had a pair of swallows start a late season, likely second brood of babies in a nook of our house. I can’t say I am all that thrilled about our new guests because they have made a big mess. However, I love birds, especially such pretty and useful ones, and the mama was so determined to nest right there. I decided to let it slide for this year. I have been rewarded by endless acrobatics and swooping and diving and a few hair rufflings. Today was obviously some kind of special day though because even for swallows, the amount of calling, swooping and acrobatics was noticeably increased. I walked by and saw all four babies sitting on the edge of the nest looking out. I decided it was a great time to finally take a picture. I came outside to find two babies airborne with Mom and Dad and two left, hesitating on the edge of a great big wide open world. The expression on the little guy on the roof reminds me of the look on my grandson’s face the day he was born. Wow. As soon as they leave I’ll break out the hose and wash down this nook and all the crap underneath and I’ll see what I can do about discouraging them next year. For today, I’ll just derive some vicarious joy from their big fledging day.
Kind of overdue but needing to be said. I put this on my old blog about being a fulltimer