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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!

4 comments:

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.

Krysta