Before I got into my run for mayor, wow am I ever looking forward to a great weekend. I found out earlier in the week that my daughter Nefarious was able to able to come visit this weekend, so I spent the next couple days rushing to put together a great weekend. We’re beginning it on Friday by going to visit all her old friends at her old school, and then going to see the live comedy stage show Potted Potter that evening. Then on Saturday we’re hooking up with one of her oldest friends and going to the Spring Fling at the Skydome (I hate using the new corporate name) — they’re building a carnival inside it for March Break — and then going to see The Lorax in the afternoon. Then on Sunday, since we had such a good time at The Nutcracker, we’re going to see The National Ballet’s presentation of Sleeping Beauty, and then I imagine going out for a nice supper. Not sure what we’ll do Monday before she catches her flight back, but I have a few good ideas.
So… as you can imagine, I will probably not be answering my phone very much this weekend and will be very busy! I don’t even want to think about how dead I will be on Tuesday, but it will be more than worth the pain, I’m sure.
For the past few weeks I have been nurturing a new body modification that I have kept under wraps because I had no idea how it was going to turn out or if it would even work, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself prematurely by doing something silly and ill-advised. Well, it may still be that, but three weeks in I have no undue redness or heat, no discharge, no other signs of infection, and to my genuine surprise and amusement and relief, not a single sign of problems. So I feel a little more comfortable publicly admitting what I’m doing.
It’s pretty common for body modification to be about healing on a psychiatric level. We see it on the various tattoo reality show as we listen to one client after another drone on about their profound yet repetitive touching story that motivated them to get tattooed. There are hundreds if not thousands of experiences on BME about people reclaiming their bodies with piercings and scars and so on. And in this case, I fall into that category.
A few years ago I had an orange-sized bone tumor taken out of my leg, and in the process, a lot of nerve damage was done. As a result, I have, in addition to the chronic pain from my genetic myopathy that’s calcifying my muscles, a great deal of pain in the right leg from the knee down, with the worst of it being on the inside of the calf centred about three inches above the ankle, which has become a strange dead zone for me that is paradoxically both devoid of sensation and overflowing with hypersensitivity and pain. For some reason this nerve damage has also affected circulation (area is at times extremely cold or extremely hot in comparison to the other leg and even surrounding tissue), skin condition (the skin is thicker, drier, and prone to scarring), and scarring. Over time I have grown to hate it, it’s a nexus and focal point for everything that has gone wrong with my body. At times I would pick at it absentmindedly until it was bloody and wrecked, subconsciously but in vain trying to tear it off my body. This behavior was doing me no good. So I set out to reclaim it, to make it mine again.
About fifteen years ago I was sitting with Jon Cobb (this was in Philly when we were housemates) talking about what would in time become microdermals, although he called it pocketing when he first came up with the concept. The idea was how to to trick the body into creating a permanent “socket” that would be able to hold jewelry. So that’s what I thought might work here, something very true to his original concept of single-point pocketing. I made an incision right in the centre of the worst of the affected part of the leg, straight in using a #11 scalpel followed by a sharp spatula of my own creation. For jewelry I used a silicone rod with a flattened bulb at the end, somewhat analogous to a labret stud. I made these myself in increasing sizes quickly increasing it to about a 2ga (1/4″ diameter). I used different plastics as I experimented but right now I’m settling on a high grade silicone which is very soft and flexible but quite strong. But I am still experimenting so I may swing back into harder jewelry. Oh, and the jewelry is cast, not carved, so it’s very smooth.
I’m gonna say these are not for the squeamish.
EDIT/UPDATE: I don’t really like those pictures so I quickly cleaned off my leg and took a couple more at higher resolution to show how healthy it is. Still surprised that I’m willing to post what is to me the ugliest part of my body, with the exception of what both my daughter and Caitlin assure me is extremely disturbing but I absolutely love!
The wetness in the jewelry-out picture [first set] is because I’d just flushed it out with sterile saline, which has been the majority of the aftercare. And the indent line is from my sock. I want to point out that almost all of the redness and dryness of the surrounding skin is completely unrelated to the pocketing. I actually really hate looking at it, it’s so disgusting to me… were it not for being thrilled about this project I’d never be willing to show my leg in public let alone look at it with my own eyes. But all that hideousness is due to the complications from my tumor removal surgery. So please try and ignore my skin quality.
I want to repeat that there have been no complications whatsoever. There’s a little lymph discharge, which you can see in the picture as the yellowish right around the hole, but that’s to be expected. I actually somewhat suspect that part of the reason it’s healed so well is due to some of the unique characteristics of my genetics and the tissue’s behavior from the neuropathic damage. Assuming it continues to be trouble free, and I start seeing signs of permanent healing, I’ll keep it and update in a month or so I figure.
I’m happy to say have gone from despising that part of my body to really babying it and taking care of it obsessively, trying to get that messed up skin to get healthy. I think that means it’s been successful on more than one level? Healing not just the modification?
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Anyway… shortly I am headed to the airport and I can’t wait!
Finally, I have to be responsible and put up a disclaimer that I don’t recommend this body modification for anyone else, and want to be clear that while I have not had any problems over the first three weeks, it’s also far from healed and piercings this deep and this large should be experimented with by only those with extensive experience with atypical body modification.
PS. The comic in the background of the picture is Terry Moore‘s “Rachel Rising” (the amazing new issue came out yesterday), which I can’t recommend highly enough. You can get them in your local comic book store, or buy them online in digital form here. Or pirate it, but trust me, this is an independent creator-owned comic and more than worth paying for to ensure it continues. Far too many of the best series die young.