Friday, April 6, 2012

I love you, warts and all.

After one of the Republican primaries, there was a clip on The Daily Show (or "the news", as I like to call it) of Rick Santorum thanking his family for all their support throughout the election. He was really rambling and all of a sudden said something like, "My dad always said, I love you, son. Warts and all."

I fumbled for the remote and smacked Bill's arm. "Did you hear that? Did you hear what he just said?!" I hit rewind and played the clip again. "Warts and all! That's what you always say to Finn!"

"Yeah, I know. It's an expression."

"Oh. Seriously? But I thought it was just something you said to Finn. Because of his warts."

To be fair, they're not exactly warts. They're molluscum. But whatever. They're ugly.

Liam had them too. Only Finn's case is much more impressive. I guess since he's the younger brother and doesn't get to do most things first he has to do them better. So he is totally winning at molluscum.

They cropped up a little over a year ago, right about the time Liam's were starting to go away. That's what happens. They get into your system and pop up and go away and pop up and go away until they finally go away for good. They don't scar (if you leave them alone) and are completely painless. Liam had his for about a year and in that time we probably asked our pediatrician what we could do about them every single time we saw him.

"So...about all these..."

"Don't worry about it. They're completely benign and will go away on their own."

"But, they're so ugly!"

"Well, there are things you can try - freezing, burning, medication - but until it's out of his system, they will keep coming back. And any intervention usually leaves scars."

Since Liam's were confined to a small area on his back, we decided to just ignore them. But Finn's were a slightly different story. Perhaps it was because he was so small but it seemed like the bumps were taking over his otherwise perfect body. (Not to mention his NECK which is right next to his FACE.) Still, we were pretty used to them by this point so our pediatrician appointments were more like, "Hey, Doc! Finn totally wins at molluscum, right?!"

"You know...there might be some things you could try..."

"But they're harmless and will go away."

"Yeah. Eventually. But since there are so many..."

He suggested things that weren't for molluscum but sometimes as a side effect made the little bumps go away. Like Retin-A. I was like, "Thanks but no thanks. This is my baby we're talking about!" I just didn't have any desire to go down that rabbit hole. I mean, throwing weird science at my baby for the sake of vanity? Uh-uh. I love my boys just the way they are. Warts and all.

The whole thing reminded me a bit of the day we brought Finn home from the hospital. We were having a little party (like you do...) and when I took Finn into his room to change his diaper I noticed his circumcision was much bloodier than it should have been. My stomach sank. I thought, "Here we've been given this PERFECT baby and now we've screwed him up. And for what? A pretty penis? How stupid can we be?!"

I know there are other reasons for circumcision (I guess...) but it wasn't something we'd given much thought to. Like, at all. In the grand scheme of all things pregnancy/childbirth/new baby it didn't even show up as a blip on our radar. And yet, here we were, with a potentially messed up baby penis because of a choice we'd made.

He was fine, obviously. But the situation did make me think a little bit more about the importance of weighing the pros and cons of, well, EVERYTHING involving my children.

So, no, I was not going to give my baby Retin-A for some little bumps that would eventually go away on their own. But when they started to take over his sweet neck and show up on his face, I decided it wouldn't hurt to explore some other options. Because weighing the pros and cons means weighing ALL the pros and cons, and helping my child put his best face forward is just as important to me as keeping him safe and healthy.

Our pediatrician suggested trying Tagamet, typically prescribed for heartburn, and since it didn't come with any adverse side effects (other than, fingers crossed, getting rid of molluscum!), we decided to give it a go.

As soon as I gave Finn his first dose, any feelings of apprehension I had were quickly replaced by tightly crossed fingers. Because even though I love him warts and all, I really wanted the darn things gone.

The results were so-so. Some days I thought I could see a big improvement and other days it almost seemed like things were getting worse. By the time the 1 month prescription was up, I had all but given up. So Bill did a little research online to see if there was anything else we could try. He quickly stumbled across ZymaDerm, an "all-natural patented blend of powerful, 100% organic, natural plant based compounds for treatment of molluscum contagiosum" that was available at the Walgreens right up the street. Sold.

Since the website had a money-back guarantee, I had pretty high hopes. Alright, I'll be honest - I was expecting Finn's transformation to be mind blowing. Like the before and afters from an infomercial. I know those results are not typical but that never stops me from believing I will be the exception to the rule. The atypical one who blows the results clean out of the water. For like, a minute. Then I usually kick myself and think, "Why am I such a sucker?"

The ZymaDerm experience hit somewhere in the middle. Improvement? Definitely. But I could probably still get my money back if I tried. I mean, his molluscum did not "painlessly vanish in 30 days" like the good doctor said it would. But it was painless and he only has about five bumps now where he used to have lots. The ZymaDerm makes them go away really quickly which gives us a sense of having the thing under control. And he no longer has any on his face or neck so we haven't had one of those awkward double takes in weeks. I'd say he's darn near close to perfect!

Putting his best (molluscum-free!) face forward.

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