“And I’m wondering why my skin’s so thick…”
6/26/2013: I had a follow-up with my dermatologist today. The lichen sclerosus/cutaneous GvHD on my back doesn’t seem to be getting any better; in fact, I think it’s continuing to spread. I like my doctor but we’re running out of ideas for what else to try. She suggested stopping the Protopic (tacrolimus) and switching from clobetasol cream to spray because it is more penetrating. Hoping not to offend, I asked if it might be helpful for me to see someone who specializes in autoimmune diseases for another opinion. Much to my relief and to her credit, she enthusiastically agreed it was a good idea. I told her I’d unsuccessfully searched the internet for a cutaneous GvHD specialist and asked if she could recommend anyone. “Yes!” She replied. “Dr. Gaspari at University of Maryland. He’s brilliant. He lights up when he hears T-cells mentioned.” She said he was her mentor and has done loads of research in addition to years of clinical experience. I asked about specific experience with GvHD and she said he often was called to the transplant ward to determine whether skin conditions were allergic reactions or graft versus host disease.
As soon as I got home, I Yahooed Dr. Gaspari (I don’t Google) and learned he is chief of dermatology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. More interestingly, I discovered he is somewhat of a celebrity due to diagnosing the mysterious Treeman in Indonesia. My immediate thought was, “At least this guy is not going to think I’m unusual. Finally, I may get to be a boring patient.”
My consultation is scheduled for August 15, the first available new patient appointment.
I was all set to post this update but neither Michael nor I could think of an appropriate tagline. I tried searching for lyrics on the internet with key words like trees, skin, changes, opinions, new beginnings, or even songs about medical conditions but nothing seemed quite right. Imagine my delight when I typed the words “thick skin” in iTunes and was rewarded with the perfect song, with regard to both my sclerotic (literally thick) skin and to Dr. Gaspari’s claim to fame! I don’t expect anyone to guess this one without looking it up. Hint: The artist is a white rapper from Colorado and the song from his 2008 album.
p.s. I also got a new gel for my neck dissection scars today. They’ve been feeling very tight despite my daily stretches.
Oh, on an unrelated note, I got my ears repierced last week. The holes had closed from disuse after my surgeries. I rarely wear jewelry, not even a wedding band, but I do have a fondness for earrings. When I remove the piercing studs in six weeks, I’ll enjoy Michael’s treat of beautiful new tricolor gold hoops, my favorite!