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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You Want a Piece of Me?

The University of Utah said they did -- want a piece of me, that is. A piece of skin from my upper arm to be specific. You see, I am part of a genetic registry of people with DMD, maintained by the university (I gave them some of my blood a while back). Apparently, I am part a relatively small subset of the DMD population. Researchers are studying a possible intervention (in the very, very early stages) for that subset and required skin cells for said study.

So today, I paid a visit to my dermatologist, who performed a skin biopsy known as a skin "punch". The procedure took less than five minutes. First, a nurse injected my arm with a local anesthetic. Then the doctor, using a cookie cutter-like instrument removed a piece of skin the size of a pencil eraser. Finally, he closed the small wound with a dissolvable stitch. Now, I've often heard doctors say, "This won't hurt at all." But let me tell you, other than the needle, I didn't feel a thing. In fact, if I hadn't watched the doctor, I never would have known he had just removed a piece of my skin!

When I was initially contacted by the university, I agreed without hesitation, even though it meant giving a part of myself to something that almost certainly will never directly benefit me. Naturally, I was asking myself what I had gotten into when the nurse rolled up my sleeve and prepared that syringe! But it felt like the right thing to do. I would never say that my existence is a miserable one, but if I could help someone avoid the challenges I have faced and continue to face in my life, I'd do it every time. Even if I have to give up some of my precious skin!


Mitchell said...

What you did was very brave and you should be very proud. Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Josh.

Sounds like it wasn't a pretty sight; after all, beauty is only skin deep. :) (But I guess you helped prove the opposite.)

Mir said...

We lost a cousin last summer do DMD, and we'd gladly give skin, blood, bones, whatever, to keep one person from going through what he did.

You're awesome. You deserve a cape for that chair of yours!

Krysta said...

Ouch! You rock though Josh.