My son has warts.
They are located in four of the nail beds of his fingers and other various places on his hands, sprinkled across the bridge of his nose, above his top lip and along one side of his jawbone. In all he has close to 50. You have to know what you’re looking for to even see them. Some are flat and some are raised.
Warts do not harm a child’s health and often go away on their own.
Lucas’s warts aren’t grotesque and they don’t bother him in the least bit. At least they didn’t until this summer when he mentioned something to his dad about having them removed.
This broke my heart.
At his six year wellness check up I spoke to his pediatrician about remedies and she referred us to a pediatric dermatologist.
Doctors remove warts in several different ways:
- Immunotherapy treatment, which uses the patient’s own immune system to fight the warts. One type involves injecting candida to the largest 2-3 warts present creating a mild allergic reaction to occur. This reaction may cause the warts to go away. This treatment can take 3-5 visits 3-4 weeks a part before results are seen.
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen, a more potent medicine than found in over-the-counter freezing remedies and can be very painful.
- Applying a prescription-strength salicylic acid nightly.
- Taking a twice daily pill for up to three months.
- Laser surgery. A last resort due to scaring.
We have been to the dermatologist four times, opting for the first course of treatment and so far we have seen zero results, in fact, there are possibly more warts than before. Sigh. Warts are known to quickly spread.
I’m frustrated but have tried to be careful not to express it.
Lucas is frustrated. He dislikes the shots, can’t understand what the “big deal” is, despises doctor offices in general and like me, wishes to see results.
One of our appointments was during school hours and although he only missed an hour, he was distraught. I’ve been able to make all other appointments after school hours.
At our last appointment, he completely lost it.
I haven’t seen this boy cry in weeks.
Big huge crocodile tears poured from his eyes uncontrollably from the moment we were escorted to the examination room until we walked across the parking lot and returned to our car to go home.
He struggled with his words and couldn’t articulate himself.
I was beside myself. This is the worst part of parenting, seeing your child in pain and not being able to do a damn thing about but hold him and wipes away his tears.
In this moment, with the doctor and her medical assistant staring at me, searching for answers and Lola carrying on for her Grover doll we had left in the car and wanting my phone and no doubt confused by seeing her big brother in pain, I was reminded how little my boy still is.
He’s only six.
He has no way of knowing at six that someday, if we don’t start treatment now, these warts may be the reason why he won’t hold someone’s hand. I also never want Lucas to experience negative comments and hurtful teasing about the way he looks from classmates and peers. This would crush him.
Even after we were safely in the car and it was just us and he had calmed down a little, he couldn’t talk to me about his feelings. I can only assume it was a culmination of things.
I was also reminded that we haven’t had a single body image discussion with this child. He’s too young. His body is going to grow and change in so many ways over the next 10 years that I just thought we’d wait until some of those changes started to occur before we brought them up. How native. Of course if he asks questions; why do you wear make up, why do you eat salad, why do you pluck your eyebrows, etc. we answer.
My husband and I both exercise regularly and promote physical activity from a health and longevity aspect, but haven’t covered physical appearances with him.
Or maybe not.
Incidentally, we have decided no more injections and no more doctors. We are going to try a nightly cream and hope for the best.
Oh, parenting why must you be so hard?
Do you discuss body image with your child(ren)? Also, if you have dealt with warts, please share any tips you may have!