by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I’ve had this brown mole on my face all of my life. It has been sitting just below my eye on my right cheek ever since I can remember. I was pretty used to it and the only time it bothered me was when someone else pointed it out or mentioned it or if I looked at it directly, which was very rare. It was just a blurry part of who I saw when I looked in the mirror.
My first official memory of my mole dates back to somewhere around 1978 when I was in elementary school. I went on a sleep over to my friend Janet’s house and she grabbed a chocolate chip out of our munchie bowl, stuck it to her face and said, “there, now I have one, too.”
Fast forward 20 years. I was lying on the couch, watching tv and all of a sudden, all I could see in my peripheral vision was my mole and not the show I was watching. The mole might as well have been the size of Mt. Everest. That’s all I could focus on — this big, fat mole, towering in front of me, casting long and wide shadows, obstructing my view. It just about drove me crazy. I thought to myself, that’s it, I’m getting rid of this mole once and for all.
Somehow, I managed to make an appointment with some doctor and took a noisy, cross-town bus to Scarborough one winter day. The doctor took a look and said, “Well, the mole doesn’t look dangerous at this point, but we could surgically remove it, if you want. Also, it will likely leave a big scar and you probably wouldn’t want that on your face.” On top of that, it would have been considered cosmetic surgery and would not have been covered by my health plan which meant big dollars that I didn’t have.
Removing moles was harder than I thought. I didn’t realize that removing a mole would leave such a big scar until many years later when another doctor took a mole off the back of my neck and he did such a hack job that I’m so glad I didn’t risk that on my face. He even said after he saw the scar, “Did I do that?” Yes, yes, yes you did.
So I kept the mole on my face and went on with my life. I always took notice of other people who have moles on their cheeks as if we’re in some sort of special club. Maybe you’ve noticed a cheek mole on Jim Morrison from the Doors and Marilyn Monroe and the former mole on Jann Arden’s face? Tortured artists? Maybe we have something in common.
Fast forward another 15 years. As you may or may not know, I’m currently doing an internship at the Integrative Wellness Centre with Dr. Oksana Sawiak. Not only am I learning about wellness from an expert, I’m also learning new things about myself and this is turning out to be quite an interesting trip. I feel like I’m reinventing myself and am changing my ways for the better. I was hoping to make some drastic changes and heal some wounds but I wasn’t expecting to do anything that involved my appearance.
Then last Wednesday, Dr. Oksana asked me how I felt about my mole. She strongly suggested I get rid of it because she could see granulomas and she could do it, starting right now, with this special, natural medicine from Ukraine. I had had a couple of glasses of wine in me, so I didn’t protest too much and gave her the green light. So she went to her medicine cabinet and came back with a vile of something affectionately known in Ukrainian pharmacies as “Chyste Tilo” or “Ukrain” in English.
Ukrain is an alternative medicine created by Ukrainian chemist Vasyl Novytskyi in 1978 — coincidentally, the same year as my “chocolate chip” memory. The formulation is based on the herb, chelidonium, and is promoted to treat all cancers, radiation-induced diseases and AIDS. The tincture is named in honor of Ukraine and its common name in Ukrainian is “Chyste Tilo” which means “clean body.”
Dr. Oksana said the first treatment would hurt a lot, the second treatment would hurt even more and the third treatment would be even more painful but after that the mole should be gone and that would be that.
I took another sip of wine and Dr. Oksana opened the vile and dabbed on some Ukrain on my mole. It burned like a disco inferno but only briefly. There was no turning back. I went to bed and the next morning the mole looked a little different. We applied some more tincture the next evening but it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it did the night before. By this time the mole had turned black. I couldn’t look at it for more than a split second so I can’t be more descriptive.
The next morning it was the most repulsive thing I had ever seen on my face. Do you remember the line that Kramer says on Seinfeld, “Look away, I’m hideous.” (It’s worth Youtubing). That’s how I felt. And I had to go out in public that day, so I covered it up with a bandaid. I felt like I would scare children otherwise.
After the fourth night, I stopped putting the treatments on and am now playing the waiting game. It’s now Tuesday and the mole is still black. If I touch it, it wobbles like a loose tooth. Gross, I know! It’s just hanging by a thread and is supposed to just fall off at some point. I can still feel the mole and my eye feels a bit funny and I have a feeling the Ukrain is still hard at work. I don’t know how long this stage will last. I hope it’s not weeks and weeks. But there’s nothing I can do about it now. It is what it is.
I will let you know what happens.
In the meantime, for another story about moles, please read my blog post, “Mountains or Molehills” from February, 2011. And leave a comment if you’re a member of the mole on the cheek club. I’d love to hear from you.