“Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.”

– William Shakespeare, King Lear

Okay, that’s it for the supremely apt (with the corrupted blood and all) highbrow culture…

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, lowbrow, down-to-earth, graphic bit…

I have a boil on my back.

Below are some photos as evidence.

I’ve mostly taken photos so I can actually see it…

As it’s on my back, I can’t see it directly without the use of a mirror.

So, now that I have these photos, I thought it only fair to share them with you.

I’m writing these sentences as individual paragraphs, so those of you who don’t wish to see them can choose not to look.

Close your eyes if you’re at all squeamish!

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Mon 18 March Wed 21 March Sat 23 March

Don’t worry, I don’t have three boils, just the one, gradually progressing over the past week or so.

Some years ago, one of the cats I lived with caught me with a claw on the side of my back, just above my waist. At the time, nothing in particular happened, except that I got a slightly raised, normal-skin-coloured, bump. In the intervening years, it has remained a slightly raised, normal-skin-coloured, bump. It didn’t hurt, it wasn’t infected, it didn’t grow or shrink and it certainly didn’t look as livid as these photos do; it was just there – a bit like a birthmark.

For some strange reason, last week, it began to hurt, turn red, hot and painful and grew larger. Annoyingly, it sits there all angry-looking, just above my waistline, so whether I’m wearing jeans or leggings or tights, it’s just in the wrong place. To be honest, actually anywhere would be the wrong place, but this is a very uncomfortable place.

Clearly it is now infected. I put it down to my compromised immune system. As I’ve mentioned previously, despite taking prophylactic antibiotics every day, I am still at risk of infections.

I was going to see the doctor on Monday anyway, so I showed this to her at the same time. She prescribed co-amoxyclav, which is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, often used for skin and soft tissue infections. Despite taking it for almost a week, so far, as you can see from today’s photo, it is definitely NOT shrinking. However, joy of joys, I am experiencing other effects from the drugs, in my gastric system and bowels. :(

I fear another visit to my doctor is required and I fear she will want to lance it. Ouch!!!!

If anyone is interested, I just found this video of a boil being lanced. It is not too gory, but please don’t feel you need to watch it. I will not think that you are an uncaring, unsupportive person if you don’t watch it. I think you may be quite a sensible person if you don’t watch it. I almost wish I hadn’t watched it. But at least I know what to expect now.

Having said that, it’s much less appealing than the video I posted in a blog post about head shaving because I wanted to see what to expect. I’m re-posting this here in honour of two of my myeloma blog buddies who’ve both just gone through the big head shave. Hats off (or should I say ‘hair off’?) to you, Deborah and Emma Jane – not that you really had a choice in the matter. I hope you both find peace with your new look and enjoy the lovely soft new growth when it comes.

Having survived eight bone marrow biopsies, I reckon I can handle this lancing malarkey… maybe not quite a walk in the park, but I’m a big (in spirit if not in body), strong, sometimes brave, myeloma patient, so I guess I’ll just have to face it… repeating my friend’s comforting phrase… “It’s all going to be fine.”

Even though on my List for Living, I said I want to create a short film or video, I promise not to film this. I can hear the sighs of relief from here. :)