“This is definitely not Molluscum Contagiosum,” the $120-per-visit dermatologist stated, giving Tiny’s bumpy rash a cursory glance. “This is Follicular Eczema. Molluscum has a certain look about it. This is not that look. I’m going to prescribe you a steroid cream, and it’ll clear within a few days.”
Thank you, Lord Jesus, thank you, I found myself thinking, over and over again. Eczema is nothing new with my tiny tot. I battled through Tiny’s Nummular Eczema from six months to two years. It was of the blistery, murder-scene in the morning variety. I learned to get blood out of white sheets like a PRO during that time–but I never learned to buy darker sheets.
… Go figure.
I would take eczema over viral skin rash with no cure any day. Still, the reason I had visited the dermatologist was due to a nagging Momtuition. As we moms know, it’s rarely wrong. Maybe it’s the bond born from growing a human inside of us, but there are moments when we just know something is wrong, and we moms should take action.
Three weeks prior to visiting the dermatologist, Tiny had stepped out of the bath. As I was sitting on the floor, handing a naked jaybird some pjs, I noticed what looked like clear bubbles on his belly. “Did you play hard at recess today?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah. I slid, and jumped, and we played chase,” Tiny chirped.
Heat rash, I thought.
The week got away from me. I was working more than I have in months, preparing for my students to take their final exam, grading papers, and finishing last-minute Year End folders for the college. It was a week and a half later that I found myself in the same position, sitting on the floor, handing a naked jaybird his pjs. “Wait a minute,” I found myself saying. The clear bubbles were still there on his stomach, and what was clearly heat rash took up a portion of his shoulder. I took a closer look, snapped a few pictures, and sent them to two people: my dad, the P.A., and Mr. M.
My dad was a medic in the military, and holds a P.A. license in the double-digits. Mr. M dealt with Molluscum in Lil Dude for years, successfully conquering the virus in 2014. I sent them both the picture, asking, “What is this? It’s not going away. I don’t know what Molluscum looks like, but could this be it?”
“No,” was the response I got back from both of them.
So, being me, I brought Tiny in front of both Mr. M and my dad. “What is this?” I asked, again, pointing to the seven bumps on Tiny’s belly. By now, he had another patch of about six on his upper thigh.
“Honey, it’s not Molluscum. Kids get weird spots. Molluscum has a definite look about it, and this isn’t it,” my dad said.
“What Lil Dude had looked nothing like this,” Mr. M confirmed.
Frustrated with a lack of answer, and finding three more on his leg, I turned to my mom. “Should I take him to a pediatrician?”
My problem with a pediatrician is that my once-amazing health insurance (that had only dropped my entire left leg when I became gimp, but fully covered everything else) died with the rise of ACA. One day I got a letter that said, “We’re making your plan ACA compliant.” The next day I showed up for a post-surgery visit, and learned that BCBSTX’s way of making my plan compliant was to drop me without warning.
I scrambled, and found an EPO plan with United Health One. That plan was awesome, too. I got to keep all of my old doctors. At least I did, until this past November, after UnitedHealthcare pulled out of ACA. It was then that I was issued a plan that literally no doctor on planet Earth accepts.
My mom told me to find peace of mind, so I called three pedis listed on the plan’s website, only to find that they refuse to carry that particular plan. Finally, I called the number of the pediatrician on the card, who also didn’t accept that insurance, but stated they had to take it if the doctor was listed on the card.
Note to self.
We made an appointment, and went in the next day.
The office was in a horrible location, the building was old and dirty–Tiny, of course, needed to use the restroom as soon as he entered–the staff was without expression, and the P.A didn’t even laugh when I cracked a terrible joke.
I’m only slightly funny, people.
So, awaiting this new pediatrician, I felt nothing but trepidation.
She was a bit better than I expected, although she lectured deaf ears on Tiny’s weight.
I know, lady. I’ve been writing about my struggles with his weight for years. Talk to his dad. Tell him to stop the junk food. Deaf ears, here.
She looked at Tiny’s belly, and said, “Contact dermatitis.”
She looked at the spots on Tiny’s legs, and said, “Hmm. You know, no. Never mind.”
“What?” I pressed.
“Well, it can’t be. In the back of my mind, I’m looking at the white centers, but in the front of my mind, this is not how it presents. It can’t be, so never mind.”
“What can’t it be?” I asked, waiting to hear what I knew I didn’t want to hear.
“Molluscum. Now, if it is, it will go away on its own. But, like I said, I don’t think it is.”
Which led me to making a $120 appointment to hear that Tiny “definitely didn’t” have Molluscum, but instead had Follicular Eczema. By this time, I had discovered spots on Tiny’s elbows, and it looked like there were places under his armpits starting to bubble up.
The pharmacy presented me with a $200 insurance-already-covered steroid cream (which reminded me of the $100 shut-up-woman-and-go-away-butt-paste with Tiny’s original eczema, which was misdiagnosed as ringworm). I used it every night for two weeks.
Guess what? Nothing happened.
I really expected more for $200.
Still, the lack of a result, and my nagging doubt told me what Tiny had wasn’t eczema. Which was why, when I applied the steroid cream, I would use one side of the Q-tip per bump, and hygienically disposed of the contaminated lot.
Also I Googled articles about Molluscum. Every night.
And I Googled images of Molluscum. Every night.
And I told his dad that even though the dermatologist said it was eczema, I wanted him to treat it like it was Molluscum.
But, none of the bumps acted like what I read about Molluscum. There was no bursting of the bumps. There was no growing–in fact, none of them ever changed in size.
There were only the teensy, less than 1 mm bumps, with a teensier white dot in the center.
One night, I noticed a bump that suddenly looked whiter in the flashlight glow. I had Tiny lay on the ground, and I gently squeezed the base of the bump. Something came to the surface, I used a tissue to quickly snatch it out, and then the bump immediately started to well over with blood.
Of course, Tiny screamed and cried like a dying man, but my Momtuition was right: my Tiny Tot had tiny Molluscum.
I’m currently figuring out a plan of attack. I’ll share various methods in another post some time later this week. I tried one approach yesterday which resulted in shrieks, wails, tears, Skittles, and a guilt-consumed, crying mom. In a few days, I’ll see how that approach worked. It’s hard to tell right now, because after doing it, we went to the park, where Tiny ran around so much that he woke up with a heat rash covering his entire abdomen and back.
Of course, that freaked me out, as well.
The next post will be about the psychological damage of Molluscum Contagiosum, and various homeopathic methods tried from articles found on Google. Also, if your child is currently suffering from Molluscum, my heart goes out to you. I don’t know where he got it, but, as the dermatologist said, “Molluscum is everywhere. No one can escape it.”
Apparently, Tiny is its latest victim.