When we first found the bumps on my shoulders, I thought that they looked like warts. I was quite upset because the internet said that if they were warts, they were probably caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV). I had an HPV infection many years ago that took a very long time to go away - in fact, it didn't completely go away until after I finished chemo the first time - and I didn't want to have to deal with it again. But then I got the sarcoidosis diagnosis and figured that the bumps were probably sarcoidosis.
My family doctor took one look at those bumps and said that they're verruca plana, or flat warts. I looked this up online and these flat warts are a type of HPV. Sigh. At least it isn't any of the cancer-causing types, and because these look different than what I dealt with before, it's almost certainly not the same type as before. Apparently there are a kabillion types of HPV - who knew?
In some ways, I'm not surprised that I've got these warts. Between the sarcoidosis - a systemic inflammatory disease involving immune cells - and the cancer, I'm immuno-compromised, making me a magnet for an opportunistic virus like HPV.
Even so, it's embarrassing to have these warts. I'm lucky that it's on my shoulders and not my hands, face, or legs, where this type usually shows up. Also, they're hard to see; they look like the first picture ("multiple skin colored, barely-raised lesions typical of flat warts") on this page so it's not like people notice them. But I know they're there and I'm self-conscious about them. I also feel kind of unclean and gross or dirty.
These warts are highly contagious (not as contagious as genital warts, at least) so no one, not even me, should be touching them. And of course I need to be sure to use my own towels and washcloths or sponges or whatever. There's no real treatment for these things because most of the time, they go away within a couple of years. As well, none of the treatments are 100% effective or prevent them from coming back. Really, the best treatment would be to make me not immuno-compromised and I don't know how that's possible.
I'm thinking I should set up a betting pool to see which opportunistic illness will strike me next, but I don't know what other illnesses might show up. Any ideas?