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Dos Factotum » Archive » The Bump and the Gravy, Part 4

The Bump and the Gravy, Part 4

July 24th, 2008

As discussed in parts 1, 2 and 3 of this 4- or 5-part series, I have a gravy-filled bump on my right thigh. I went to Javier, the Portuguese(?) dermatologist. He performed a biopsy and stitched me up. It didn’t hurt. Two weeks later, I called him to get the results. No answer, no answering machine. I called back a few times the next day and finally got the receptionist on the horn. She told me Javier would call me back. He was dodging me, clearly. After another week of waiting, I got a call around 10 a.m. this past Wednesday.

“Hello, is this Ryan?” Javier said.

“Hi, yes.”

He told me the results of the biopsy were back and that I shouldn’t be worried.

“So, what is it? The bump?” I asked.

“It’s just, it’s nothing,” he said.

I said that it had to be something.

“It’s nothing much,” he said.

“Nothing is nothing,” I said.

It was like an exceptionally boring Seinfeld bit: “Something is something. But nothing is nothing. Now that’s something.”

“Well, they’re calling it…” and he rambled off something in Doctorspeak.

“Could you say that again? I’m gonna write it down.”

“Sure. Sebocrine adenoma.” He explained that it’s a cystic growth involving follicles and oil or something. Nothing to be worried about.

“What’s gonna happen? Is it gonna keep filling up with the brown stuff.”

“Probably,” Javier said. “You could get it removed, but you’d have to schedule surgery.”


“And it would leave you with an inch-and-a-half long scar on your leg.”

If I know anything about novelty whitewater rafting T-shirts, chicks dig scars, so I’m considering going under the knife to remove it.

“OK,” I said, “but what about the two stitches?”

“Oh, right. You should come in and get those taken out.”

A week ago, my handy friend Nate, whom I keep on retainer as a carpenter/locksmith, told me that I could take the stitches out myself, no problem. It would save me the $20 copay and make for a decent story.

“Couldn’t I just take them out myself?” I said.

“You can do whatever you want, sir.”

“Maybe I’ll schedule and appointment.”

He said OK and hung up.

Not content enough with “cystic growth involving follicles and oil,” I took it upon myself to learn more about my affliction…no…no…it’s a gift, dammit. So I dove into the Internet and landed on a PubMed entry, which told me that:

Sebocrine adenoma is a benign cutaneous adnexal neoplasm differentiating in the direction of sebaceous and apocrine glands. The sebaceous differentiation is characterized by solitary instances or clusters of sebocytes and sebaceous ducts. The apocrine differentiation is characterized by eccrine poroma-like histology.

That’s all well and good for the layman, but I need something more in-depth, more science-y. I need to know why, how and Why Me? I dove deeper and came across the abstract for an article entitled “Intra-epidermal and intra-dermal sebocrine adenoma with cystic degeneration and hemorrhage,” which was published in the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, Volume 27, Number 9, October 2000, pp. 472-475(4)—just one issue after I canceled my subscription because of a blasphemous piece they published about adrenal sebocytes cavorting as neoplasmic adenocarcinoma.

Turns out, there’s some groundbreaking research being done on gravy-filled bumps. And guess what? I want to be a part of it. Every cause needs a spokesman, especially a cause as gross as this. Surely the authors of the study, Meera Mahalingam and H. Randolph Byers, would want a test subject, or at least a patient to spitball with. If I’m lucky, one of them will grant me an interview for part 5 of this series. If not, this is the end of The Bump and the Gravy. But if so, brace yourself. It’s gonna get a lot more science-y ’round here.

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