Tuesday, 1 March 2011

To squeeze or not to squeeze: Tales from the cyst

Warning: Those of a sensitive disposition who really don’t like reading about pus might want to give this post a miss. Just be thankful I didn’t include photos.

I find that people fall into two broad camps when it comes to the topic of squeezing spots – those who believe in getting the bad stuff out and those who believe that fiddling with your body is not a good idea. I am most certainly in the first camp (in fact I’m thinking of running for Treasurer next year.) The way I see it is pus is bad. It should not be inside your skin, it should be on the outside, preferably on a tissue.

I was fortunate as a child to not really suffer from adolescent acne, although Mum takes great pride in telling me that I was the spottiest out of all 3 of her children. What tended to happen is that I wouldn’t get anything for months at a time and would then develop one huge whopper (usually right on my pubescently greasy forehead) that was so big I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear warnings about it on the shipping forecast.

The trouble with not really having any problems with my skin is that I can’t get my squeeze fix very often and I have been known to offer my services out to those who don’t want to or can’t reach a troublesome pimple. (Are you liking me less yet?) I swear I’m not weird I just love the sense of satisfaction when you get a good one – come on are you telling me you haven’t had a good old squeeze and had a thrill of exhilaration when there’s a popping sound/feeling and the bad stuff comes out? You know it’s true!

However last week I met my match...

On Monday last week I noticed something a little weird under my armpit. A small red lump. It wasn’t painful it was just...there. The next day it was a little bit bigger and a little bit redder and kind of painful. It had a hair coming out of it and I figured a hair follicle must have got infected so I tweezered the hair out in the hopes that would be an end to it. By Wednesday it was even bigger and definitely painful. My friend (also a member of the pro-squeezing camp) suggested I stab it with a sterilised needle to relieve the pressure.

(In hindsight I think I should have been a little more patient and waited a few more days before my stabbing. Unfortunately I was impatient.)

A stabbed away and felt pretty satisfied because some nastiness came out. “Excellent job” I told myself. My armpit disagreed. That night I was kept awake by a very angry armpit lump that I christened Pete. Pete was unhappy at being stabbed, apparently he wanted to keep hold of that pus for a little bit longer.

On Thursday I noticed that a rather strange hard lump had formed under my skin all around Pete. This did not feel good. And he was ramping up his pain levels all the time. I felt that I had started on a course of action that I should follow through so I performed my squeezing duties and more gunk came out. “That’ll be an end of it” I told myself.

Pete had other ideas and on Friday I nearly died when a quick check of the armpit discovered the hard lump was about 3 times the size it had been the day before. The pain levels were pretty awesome and I couldn’t hold my arm against my body he was that big. I decided in the afternoon to take a painkiller and found some super strength codeine in my desk drawer, given to me by the Dr when I was on Warfarin and couldn’t take ibuprofen. I hadn’t taken these pills in some time and I think the weight loss kind of affected me because in 20 minutes time I found myself stoned at work. It was hilarious and awful at the same time. I don’t cope well being stoned, I don’t enjoy the feeling at all, why anyone would pay to feel like that is beyond me. I took myself home to lie on the sofa and feel spaced.

Unfortunately Pete decided that Friday night was when he was tired of hanging around and he decided to let it all hang out. What did you do Friday night? Hot date at the cinema? Fun drinking with friends? I spent it squeezing and wiping pus out of my armpit at my Mum’s house. We put hot poultices on it to try and draw every inch of horror that was in there out but late on Friday night I had to call it off and go to bed. Pete was wrapped back up so he didn’t leak all over the sheets and I had a nice sleep.

I didn’t want to check on him on Saturday because I was afraid of what I might see but I am a brave girl so I decided to have a look. What happened is so horrible I can’t even believe I’m telling you it. I took off the bandage and what I can only describe as the remains of Pete fell into my hand. There’s just no other way of putting it. Imagine a spot, vomiting, and you have an idea of what happened.

Is it possible to be amazed and grossed out at the same time? This was like the ultimate spot squeezing but was so horrifying I wondered if I’d have nightmares for the rest of my life.

I was thankful that Pete had left me but he has left a hole in my life. Literally. There is a hole in my armpit. I nearly died when I saw it but apparently it’s normal. I’m inclined to disagree with this, holes in your armpit are never normal.

A trip to the Doctor on Monday has resulted in a course of antibiotics and thankfully no lectures about squeezing Pete out of my life. Apparently he was a cyst/abcess and he is to be filed away as “One of those things that happen”, something which doesn’t fill me with comfort, I’d prefer it if he didn’t happen again thank you very much.

Have I learned my lesson? Probably not. I’m a squeezer for life baby.

Anyone got anything for me?


Not really.

There really are photos you know. I sent them to The Person who I felt should share in my pain. As I said to him “Love means hearing about my pus-filled armpit.” But don’t worry I don’t expect you guys to love me that much, just be grateful I didn't put it up as one of my Project 365 photos.


  1. Oh TG your posts are so funny. I love the fact that they are soooo random. That will teach you to prod and poke and squeeze things won't it young lady. Let this be a lesson learned!. Hope the 'hole'(lol) Pete situation is out of your life very soon. S x x x

  2. I might be worse than you for the squeezing - my lovely boy still has a ridiculous amount of spots on his back, so while he's asleep, I squish as much as I can. Its satisfyingly disgusting. Aren't you glad I told you this?
    Anyway. Yay for getting rid of Pete, little lumpy git.

  3. Ughhh gross - I feel sick now! I have never had a cyst before thank goodness it sounds horrendous! I do get big massive spots usually on my chin that are really red & painful but never come to a head. It is so tempting to squeeze them but it usually makes them 10 times worse :( Lol... hope The Person appreciated ur photos!

  4. I cannot deny that I am a squeezer too. Though I'd have grossed out about that cyst under my armpit and gone to the docs straight away, even if I feared a terrible scolding for squeezing and poking.
    Totally yackky and thank you a million times over for not posting a pic - though I fear some of your other readers might beg you for at least one.
    Hope the antibiotics are working their magic and the hole, which Pete has left in life, will be healed soon.

  5. My daughter had this a couple of months ago (told you it was in the name!)A sebacious cyst and treated with antibiotics - no need to go squeezing. xxx

  6. I have no words for this post.

  7. If you had waited and gone to the dr and he drained it, would you not have the hole now? I don't get these but I once in a while, on my face no less, get ones that come up hurting bad and get red but never come to a head. And if I mess with them they are very unsightly for at least a week, because I can't seem to leave them alone. My fingers sneakily find their way to it. If I do manage to leave them alone then they'll go away on their own.

  8. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

    I'm glad that I'm already feeling sick. Having read your post I think I can survive anything! x

  9. Is it really bad that I'm disappointed that there are no photos?

  10. Haha that is so gross...but I can totally relate.
    A month or so back I had something very similar if not related to your Pete visiting the side of my left boob!!
    Like Pete it took endless amounts of squeezing to coax the badness out and it hurt like hell too!
    Em xxxxxxx

  11. Oh god, I don't know whether to laugh or feel sick!! I've never really had spots or any gruesome abcesses so I'm not a squeezer, although I do definitely advocate popping blisters with a sterilised needle. Much fun to watch all the fluid sploosh out.

  12. Haha, I'm with Taz, as I got to the end of the post I started to hold my breath in preparation for a photo, and have to admit I found myself slightly disappointed! Ooof, sounds nasty though, glad it's all sorted now! I had terrible acne on my back when I was a teen and I'm definitely in the squeeze club... that'll be comforting for anyone who's ever tried my baking then ;)

  13. Thank you for sharing :o)

  14. Eurgh grooossssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol
    never had spots either when i was a teenager, and i do enjoy some occasional popping action when i have the chance, but i'm always careful to do it when a tissue and then pat it with disinfectant to avoid it from getting infected
    anyway, can't believe i'm talking about this!

  15. See, I think of myself as having a fairly strong constitution but this did leave me feeling a bit woozy! Calling it Pete doesn not make it any less horrific!

    That said though, I'm a Squeezer and would have probably have done the same thing. Hope it clears up soon and thanks for the no pictures!

  16. Is it wrong that I really want to see the photos? I am sooooo in the squeeze the bitch camp - and the sterile needle!!! And helping others... Ha ha! (clearly we are sick and disturbed) Oh and pick the scab group too! Sometimes I dream of a nice juicy one and get quite disappointed when it is all over with a lame amount...

    What is wrong with us?!!! xxx

  17. PS And I have threatened boyfriends with tweasers...I love tweasing...and male facial hair looks so inviting....

  18. PS And my sister is the same - she had a mole under her armpit...she had it removed and it left a hole...I'm sure that had a name too...she definitely named a piece of her fringe once that kept sticking up... buzz or something...

  19. oh good grief.

    and here I was, about to eat a little teeny weeny piece of Millionaire's Shortbread.

    well, those calories are saved.

  20. Spot squeezing is SO satisfying and the bigger the better so lucky for you I was indisposed!


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