Encounter Anonymous 1

Here is my story about a keloid growth for over 20 years on my left earlobe as a result of piercing;

My mother got my ears pierced when I was about 5. I then developed a keloid behind my left earlobe, it was tiny and not so visible unless if you paid close attention to it. My mother suggested that I should stop wearing earrings to avoid the keloid from growing bigger. I lived with it over the years, because my parents were under the impression that there was not much that could be done about it.

The years went by, I started feeling self-conscious about it, particularly because other kids made fun of my "abnormal appearance". I cried about it because I just didn't know what to do. Thankfully when I started high school, the teasing had stopped, as high school kids were more sympathetic about my disfigured earlobe, but that did not take away my self-consciousness and the will power to have it removed. So I started doing research on my own, because my parents had given up hope, as it is a disease that runs in the family (my mother has a small one behind her earlobe as well).

After bounty of reading and asking around from people, I learned that I could actually have it surgically removed. I went for an operation when I was 18 years old. The surgeon successfully removed it, leaving very little trace where the keloid had formed on my earlobe, but he negligently did not check or inform me that there was no follow up medication/treatment for me. The radiation therapy machines had been broken for years all over the country where I had it done, so unfortunately the keloid recurred, plus it grew bigger this time. I never had it removed again, because I did not have the finances to go to South Africa, which was the closet country to me with radiation therapy.

I now live, with a keloid, which is ten times bigger, then it could've been if had received the right treatment. I cover my ears all the time with suiting hairstyles and I can't wear earrings and I'm self-conscious all the time. Whenever my ear is unintentionally exposed (either by the wind blowing my hair away from my ear, or my hairdresser) I feel embarrassed.

I'm sharing these story hoping to encourage keloid patients out there to be grateful, just for being a live, and for at least having all your body parts. It could be worse. And for those who do not suffer from this, the best treatment is prevention in patients with a known predisposition. This includes preventing unnecessary trauma or surgery (including ear piercing, elective mole removal, body tattoos), whenever possible. Any skin problems in predisposed individuals (e.g., acne, infections) should be treated as early as possible to minimize areas of inflammation.