Warning: If super tiny, ugly-ass microbial creatures in the eyelashes and/or skin of the face give you the willies, do not read any further, because this post is, embarrassingly, rife with them. I venture that you are probably about to ask: “Does BigLizzy have no shame?” For the record, I don’t. And, this post will prove it. So, buckle up, my peeps. It’s about to get kinda gross.
Flash-back to six months ago:
I wake up and notice a small red blotch on my left cheek near my eye. I’m thinking…hmmm…adult acne? (even though I have never had a zit on my face in my life). I possibly scratched myself in my sleep? My glasses are resting on my cheek and causing some irritation? My Rosacea is back? An allergy to soap or my sunscreen? Strange.
So, as any dutiful body owner, I watch the spot over the course of a week. It worsens and then seems to get better; it seems to get a bit less “verbose” and violently colored. All the same, I have an appointment with my doctor for my annual physical the next week, so I ask her about it when I’m there. She says it looks like a staph infection and wants me to go on an antibiotic. I demure. I hate antibiotics. She agrees to give me a topical instead, which I try. It gets better but never really goes completely away.
I simply watch the spot. It cycles through getting better and then worse, better then worse. I mention it to my doctor again after several months. She utters the dreaded, “Possible basal cell (gasp!) carcinoma” and refers me to a dermatologist. It’s a four-week wait to see the dude, this being Arizona, after all, and one of the top skin cancer spots in the world so you don’t just walk into a derm and get seen on the spot.
I wait the four weeks to see the derm, convinced that it’s skin cancer and why not? I NEVER used sunscreen until five years ago. In fact, as a kid, it was standard practice to slather oneself with a bevvy of skin-sizzling products (Hawaiian Tropics, anyone?) and sit on a beach for 8-10 hours per day, for at least two days per week. I never protected my skin until I moved to AZ and started noticing the age spots. (Oh, for shame! How I loathe the decisions I made in the past when it came to my skin. Sigh.)
Well, I went to the derm a few days ago. I bet you can guess the punch line. It’s not skin cancer. It’s a condition that often affects people with rosacea and experts don’t know why there is such a link between rosacea sufferers and this condition. But, there is and naturally, I have it.
Apparently, all mammals have these eensy tiny mites called demodex that live on their hair follicles. In humans, they are most often found among our eyelashes. These mites do their thing and we never, ever notice them. Welllll, in rosacea patients, these mites go NUTS and take up residence in the skin’s sebaceous glands, which are connected to the hair follicles. Lovely. That’s where the mighty mites have mass-orgies of procreation (unlike in non-rosacea people) and cause severe skin irritation. Enter my face and with it, all kinds of odd feelings as a result.
By the way: I’ll refrain from telling you the gory details of the microscopic terrain of the human body. You can well imagine the *shudder-worthy* information I have drummed up over the past few days. It’s pretty revolting. I’m trying hard to accept it. But, suffice it to say, there is some really, really gross stuff going on below our level of awareness. I’m now even more germ-phobic than before. HA!
The bottom line is that even though this happens to lots of people and there is nothing I could have done to prevent it, obviously, and no matter how “clean” someone is, it happens. The thing is: it’s seriously messing with my head (and, well, my skin, too!).
I’m so super creeped out by this. I actually feel embarrassed about it and am wondering where this “pile o’ shame” is coming from. Childhood, obviously. Gawd, even more work to do on myself. But, dang-it. It’s very uncomfortable to be here. So, naturally, I decided to blog about it. Hahahahahahha!
Hey, I’m a pathologically clean girl. I use only pure-grade essential oils on my skin. I take SUPER GOOD CARE of myself. I bathe daily. I floss and brush daily. I work out daily. I’m a fanatic about caring for my body, mind, and soul. Hell, I’m germ-phobic, for poop’s sake. (ha, ha!) So, what the shiz, demodex? Um, more like: DEMONdex. You SUCK and, no, I will not be Buddhist in dealing with you. Nope, I ain’t that evolved. You will die. I will see to it.
By the way, this condition is not something one spreads to others, so if you worry that I’m going to leave a microscopic pile of bugs on your collar when I hug you, it’s not gonna happen. LOL! These babies are having a blast in my ecosystem and will not emigrate to other people. Besides, you all have your own demodex anyway.
So, cut to the present. I’m at war with these tiny creepers and dousing their villages with tea tree oil. Apparently, I’ll have to use lots of patience, too, because once they go nuts like this (and let’s face it, much like the human race), there is little controlling them. Okay, well. I’m off to nuke some mites, my friends.
Bodies are sometimes really weird. Can I get an amen?