Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pyogenic Granuloma

I had no idea what a pyogenic granuloma was until this past Monday.  It turns out it is another random thing that occurs with pregnancy.  

It started as a tiny red dot on my finger about three weeks ago.  I asked my OB about it and she said it was benign and nothing to worry about.  She told me to just keep an eye on it.  Fast forward two weeks and that little red dot had grown bigger.  I didn't take a picture of it, because it was pretty gross, quite frankly.  It basically looked like a cluster of raised red dots.  Every once in awhile, it would start bleeding. And that sucker bled and bled!  Since it had gotten quite a bit bigger and the bleeding was annoying, I asked about it again at my next OB appointment.  I saw a different OB since my regular OB was out of town.  Since the spot had grown in size, she suggested I get it looked at by a dermatologist.  Like my regular OB, she didn't think it was anything to be too concerned about.  

So I added "make a dermatologist appointment" to my to do list.  Usually it takes about three months to get in to see a dermatologist, so I figured I would have to make an appointment for sometime after the babies arrived.  But I was pleasantly surprised when I called my dermatologist's office last Monday.  I explained that I was pregnant with twins and could go into labor at any time.  The sweet receptionist took pity on me and asked if I could come into the office in an hour.  I was still in my pajamas at this point, which also happen to be Adam's shirts and boxers since none of my other pajamas fit.  I told her I could make that happen!  

So I threw on one of the few outfits left that fit over my gigantic belly.  I went to the restroom and when I washed my hands that stupid spot starting gushing blood.  So I had to hold pressure on it until it stopped bleeding before I could leave the house.  Adam had borrowed our Subaru Forester on this particular day because the air conditioning went out in his Mitsubishi Lancer.  It was a little tricky to get low enough to sit down in his car, but I made it.  Luckily it was still early enough in the day that it wasn't too hot out.  

I arrived at the dermatologist's office and started filling out some paperwork.  As I was filling out some information, I glanced down at my feet and noticed there was a big ol' spot of blood on my big toe from the earlier gush of blood from the spot on my finger.  I hoped none of the old people in the waiting room had noticed.  I went to the bathroom and did my best to reach my big toe to clean it off.  Once I was blood-free, I went back to the waiting room.  

Eventually I got called back and a nurse looked at my finger first.  She said it looked like a pyogenic granuloma, which is something that is common in pregnant women.  She said it wasn't a big deal and was something that they could treat.  She said the dermatologist would be in shortly to confirm this assessment and we would go from there.  

So in came the dermatologist, who was as nice as could be.  He wasn't the dermatologist I typically see, but I was just happy to be seen so soon!  He asked me all about my pregnancy and babies.  Then he took a gander at my finger and agreed that it looked like a pyogenic granuloma.  At this point I asked what exactly a pyogenic granuloma was since I had no clue.  It is basically small, round skin growth that contains a large number of blood vessels.  Since they are made up of so many blood vessels, they tend to bleed quite a bit.  He said they are common in pregnant women and can even occur on women's gums.  I was pretty happy that my pyogenic granuloma was on my finger and not in my mouth!  

Since mine was so big (6 mm to be exact) he recommended cutting it off.  If it had been smaller, they would have let it be and see if it went away on it's own.  While I wasn't pumped about the idea of cutting it off, I did want to see it gone.  Plus the bleeding was not all that pleasant.  He said since I was in my third trimester, it was completely safe for me and the babies.  

You know how I feel about needles, so I was trying to be very brave.  He explained that he would give me an injection of numbing medicine into my finger.  From there he would scrape off the spot.  Finally, he would cauterize the blood vessels to help prevent any bleeding.  He asked if I was squeamish and I told him that if I didn't see it, I would be fine.  So I turned my head and he went to town on that stupid spot.  

I did feel the shot, but it wasn't too terrible.  He was quite impressed with the fact that I didn't even jump when he stuck in the needle.  I wanted to tell him that he had no idea how many needles I've encountered this past year between infertility medicine injections, blood draws and ivs, but I just smiled.  

I couldn't feel any of the scraping or the cauterizing, but I certainly smelled the cauterizing.  The dermatologist explained everything he was doing and did it all quickly.  I just stared at the wall and kept saying "okay."  

When it was all said and done, he wrapped up my finger and told me to keep the dressing on until that evening.  At that point I could switch to a bandaid and triple antibiotic ointment after I washed it with mild soap and water.  Before I left, the nurse had me sign a form allowing them to send it off for a biopsy to make sure it was benign.  It was a bit tricky to sign my name with a numb middle finger, but I managed.  
Then I started off on my adventure home.  It was pretty toasty outside by this point and I had managed to park Adam's car in the sun.  Between being a little queasy about what had just happened to my poor finger and the hot car, it wasn't exactly a pleasant drive home.  But I made it home safe and sound!  

When I took off the dressing that first evening, it was pretty gross!  I'll spare you a picture.  It looks like there's a hollowed out hole in my finger with raw skin filling in the hole.  It did throb a bit by that evening, but nothing that was unbearable.  It hasn't hurt since that first evening, which I was pretty surprised about.  I've kept a bandaid on it since then and received the news that it was, in fact, benign. (On a side note, how cute are these Oh Joy! bandaids I got at Target?!)    

So I'm happy it's gone and isn't anything serious.  The hardest part of the whole ordeal has been trying to shave my legs one-handed in the shower while I hold up my bandaid-ed finger out of the water.  But I've managed!

Okay, I am finished with all of the weird pregnancy-related things happening to me.  I hope the last few weeks of my pregnancy will be utterly boring!