Thursday, 13 January 2011 could be costly!

Xanthelasma in Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with baby number 5, I got a whole array of new moles and skin tags.  The pregnancy hormones really do have a lot to answer for!  Most of these gradually disappeared or became less noticeable post-partum.  However, two skin taggy thingies had grown on the inside edge of my eyelids and they became more prominent.  My children called them "rice crispies" which isn't a flattering term, but was an accurate description of the oval shaped, yellowy coloured deposits that had set up home by each of my eyes.

My hope that they'd disappear soon proved to be a false one.  As I am the sort of person who only goes to the GP if something is literally hanging off me in an alarming manner,  it didn't really cross my mind that I  should medical assistance.  They didn't hurt, they were just there everytime I looked in the mirror, the first things I'd see.

It was only when a good friend asked me if I knew what they were, that I found out about them.  She tried not to be alarmist but said I should see a doctor as they can be an indicator of heart disease.  This was quite a shock.  I was still carrying some extra babyweight, but I'm a non-drinking, non-smoking vegetarian!  OK...I am pretty inactive, except for running around after the kids, but that isn't really the same as going to the gym or doing aerobics.  Maybe there was an underlying problem.

The deposits on my eyes were something called Xanthelasma, which is a collection of cholesterol underneath the skin.  They can be hereditary, but if there is no family history, then they can be indicators of high cholesterol in the blood.  During my pregnancy, I had developed a slight heart murmur and my mind starting going into overdrive thinking about having a heart attack.  Google can be a dangerous tool in the hands of an overdramatic woman with an all too vivid imagination!
I made an appointment to have blood tests done.  They took a few vials of my venal best and sent it off for testing. 

I don't have much luck with the medical system.  I'm always the one whose notes get lost.  Test results disappear into the ether.  I drop off of automated appointment making lists.  I get forgotten whilst sat in the waiting room.  I don't know just happens.  I actually delivered a baby noteless, because they'd sent the wrong paperwork to the hospital...thank God I wasn't going in for an amputation...they'd have lopped off the wrong limb for sure!  Anyway...I digress....these particular blood test results didn't quite go to plan.  Somehow, I was sent a letter to contact the surgery ASAP.  Oh how the mind starts conjuring up terrifying scenarios when you're told that!  My own GP was actually away on holiday (typical) but the surgery found a locum to talk me through my results.  She hummed and hahed a bit, before telling me my levels of cholesterol were sky high and urgent action was needed.  Panic stations or what!!  I made an appointment with my own GP on his return and then spent a few days avoiding anything oil based at all costs.  I wouldn't even moisturise in case the oils soaked into my bloodstream and attached themselves to my heart!

I arrived at my appointment ashen faced and anticipating an awful prognosis.  However, my GP whipped out the results and said I was absolutely fine.  My high cholesterol reading was the good kind, elevated because of my breast feeding demands.  This was just a natural occurence and nothing to worry about. The bad cholesterol was very low.  My liver function was perfect and the chance of any heart disease was under 1%.  I didn't even have a recommendation to change anything in my lifestyle.  I was healthy!!!! Yay!!!!

However,  I still had my rogue Rice Crispies to contend with.  After finding out I was as fit as a fiddle, it came as a huge disappointment to find out that the NHS wouldn't cover the removal of the Xanthelasma.  It is considered cosmetic.  I found this a bit galling.  It's not like I had a spur of the moment tattoo and then changed my mind.  These things were not asked for and were not self-inflicted in anyway.  My husband's job gives us private healthcare which I thought would save the day.  But no...also not covered.  Why do we pay to have BUPA when you can't actually use it...pah!!  My only option was to seek an independent private removal.  We researched the procedures and decided that pulse laser treatment was the best option.  We wanted to get a price so we could decide if it was a justifiable expense.  Do you think you can get these clinics to give you as much as a ballpark figure?  Will they even quote you a range of prices?  Will they heck!  To get a price you need a consultation.  A consultation costs £100!  £100 just to find out if you can even afford to go through with it at all...if you decide you can't afford it, you'll be £100 down!  So I though bugger it!  I'll live with my Rice Crispies and hope they give me some extra Snap, Crackle and Pop in my life!!

Spot the Rice Crispie :(


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