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!