A medical wonder, that can happen to anyone. (SCREAMS contest winner!)
That was what they called the first one.
I had thought it was a pimple or some kind of painful wart bulging beneath my skin. The inflamed area was sensitive, but it didn’t stop me from prodding the strange lump with disgust and curiosity. It seemed fairly benign, despite being on my right palm.
“Lance it,” My sister suggested. “If it’s some sort of boil you need to drain it before it will go away.”
I took the sewing needle she offered and retreated to the bathroom.
The sharp prick made me cry out, yet I pressed on.
My hand burned as the needle stabbed the mysterious growth, sliding slowly until it reached something within.
An unbreakable nucleus, nestled within a cocoon of flesh.
The x-rays showed something I had never thought possible. My leg bounced nervously as the doctor droned on.
“… an extraordinary anomaly, really. Teratomas are extremely uncommon and rarely life threatening. Of course, surgery is an option but we should take some time and watch how things progress before we move forward.”
I turned over my hand and stared at the guaze. Beneath that bloody cotton lurked the teratoma.
Did you know it originates from the Greek words “monster” and “tumor”? My doctor was sure to enlighten me. I didn’t share his fascination. Perhaps he saw himself publishing a paper in some medical journal, detailing my rare disorder.
All I could see was the x-ray.
In the meat, below the base of my thumb, a molar was growing.
Somehow my body decided that hand needed a tooth, so it grew one.
“Just an anomaly.” My doctor assured me as I left. “Come back next week. And hey, be sure to brush it every night now.” He chuckled at his own joke, but I was far from amused.
Perhaps it was just one of those things, a freak accident that will make an entertaining story at cocktail parties.
When I awoke the next morning, I scarcely recognized myself.
The teratomas laid claim to me, angry red lumps sprouting from forehead and neck, stomach and knee.
“Monster tumors,” I said bitterly as dreams of cocktail parties circled the drain and vanished. Sinking to the floor, I cradled the inflamed spots and whispered to the sleeping parasites.
“Go away.” I pleaded with them. “I did nothing wrong.”
There was a lump I couldn’t swallow. Eyes burned with the unfairness of life as I whispered to myself.
“Just an anomaly… rarely life threatening.”
Desperation fanned the dying flames of hope, the only comfort I had left.
If only I had known the cruelty which fate held in store...
A week later, my sister came by to check on me.
I hadn’t been answering anyone’s calls, people were starting to worry if I was sick.
When she walked into the bathroom, I will never forget her face… Or the screams that will follow me forever.
You see, teratomas are capable of growing all sorts of things.
Teeth, nails, hair… and eyes.