Aging: Random body eruptions

Cyst photo for Becky Nappi blog
Cyst photo for Becky Nappi blog

Saturday morning as I was looking something up on my iPad, a huge lump appeared on my left hand, just below my index finger, about the size of a big marble. I hadn't bumped it. Soon, the area around it turned black and blue. The lump is now the size of a small marble but the black and blue has spread all over my hand, like a wine stain.

My older sister, Lucia, who worked in health care for decades, diagnosed it correctly: A ganglion cyst. They appear. Then they usually disappear. Sometimes, you can squish them with a heavy book, she said.

I'm learning not to panic over weird body stuff as I age. At the Age Boom Institute I attended in March, Steve McConnell, an aging expert with Atlantic Philanthropies, said one of the things he's noticed about aging is how aches and ailments seem to rotate around the body. One day your shoulder aches. It goes away. And then the knees flare. I saw a lot of head nodding in the group.

I don't think aging boomers will rush quickly to the doctor when these body eruptions, aches and anomalies appear. We'll wait them out. That's my strategy for the ganglion cyst. And if it doesn't disappear in a few weeks, we still have lots of heavy dictionaries in the newsroom. Boom!

(Thanks to S-R photog Dan Pelle for shooting the photo of my hand with my cell phone. He showed me the warts that suddenly appeared on his finger this week.)

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.