“What’s Wrong With Your Ears?” The Story of Metalhead Ned’s Crazy Earlobes
"Dude that's gross."
"I gotta ask, what's wrong with your ears?"
"Dude, what happened to you ears?"
If you have met me, you may have said one of these things, muttered them under your breath, or thought of it. Due to another surgery for them around the corner, here is the story about my ears.
It all started over 10 years ago. I was almost fresh out of high school and ready to hit the college work books! However, I was in a band, I was 18, and ready to do what I wanted! One of the things that I wanted to do was get my ears pierced. I remember going to Corey's Jewel Box on Alpine Ave (now closed) and got my first ear piercings.
This was a bad idea, because I had these things called 'training studs' which were a diamond looking earring, which made me look like a girl! Not the best choice to get started. When you get ear piercings, you are told to wait a good few months for them to heal properly, clean them occasionally, and twist them to make sure your hole heals the way it should.
I was pretty excited to have ear piercings! I was the only one of my friends at the time to have them, so it really set me apart. I couldn't wait for these stupid things to heal properly so I could start putting some some cool rings.
Then it all started to go south.
I was so anxious to start gauging, I took out my first piercings before the time that I should have put them in and shoved a reasonable size gauge in. Not to big, but not to small either. I can't really recall what size it was, but it hurt like gauging does. I finally felt awesome! It was cool and set me apart!
Then it really started to go south.
I started gauging my ears frantically, not cleaning my ears, not cleaning rings properly. I basically started to get careless. I eventually got to a size that was still pretty small, but I noticed something on my ears that started to look like some sort of infection. I started at WGRD around this time, about 7 years ago and I asked my fellow intern what she thought and she said, "Dude, you should take those out, that doesn't look very good." Something told me she was right, and that was the last day I had earrings. It sucked, I know they are just earrings but it was one of those things that set me apart, made me feel different, and gave me more of the 'rocker' personality.
After awhile, I noticed that they closed up but the 'infection' didn't go away. I still had these little lumps of skin on my ears. I wondered what the hell was going on, so I made an appointment with my doctor, and that is where he told me.
"You have scar tissue on your ears, also known as keloid scars. Basically your body tried to heal around the earring."
It wasn't an infection, they didn't hurt, it was just excess skin located on my ears. At this time, they were noticeable, but you really had to look to find them. However, this didn't stop people from asking questions and being rude. Thus, this is where the self consciousness began.
"Dude, that's gross!"
One of my favorite ones is when I am looking at people while talking to them, and their eyes begin to slightly drift to the left or right because they try to catch a glance at my ears.
Because of all this, I try to wear hoodies, I don't wear normal hats anymore (with fear of my ears really being showcased), tried to grow out my hair, hats with ear flaps in winter, take my neckline of my shirts and place them on my chin to hide my ears, sit in the back row of theaters and concerts, and overall try to hide them.
For the first time in my life, I was no longer being recognized for being a nice guy or whatever, I was being recognized for the grotesque skin on my ears.
The obvious question is, why not have it removed? What do I say to that?
Been there, done that.
I went to a dermotologist that basically threw everything and the kitchen sink at me. Here is a quick list of what I have had done.
- Removed using hot wire
- Experimental use of a laser that cuts blood flow to certain area
- Experimental use of laser regularly used on burn victims
- Injected with cortisone
- Injected with steroids
- Removed with hot wire again, then injected wound with cortisone
- Removed with hot wire again, then using Aldera lotion
- Skin cracked, had to be cauterized
Why didn't any of this work? Scar tissue regrows, and most of the time increases in size. So every time that I had it removed, it would come back worse than before.
Thanks to one of the times that I had them removed, I had large bandages on my ears. Eric Zane from the Free Beer & Hot Wings Morning Show noticed them and couldn't help but wonder what the hell happened, thus I ended up on their show.
Finally, something that made me feel good about my issue! For some reason, every person out there made me feel like crap about this issue, but these guys (even though it doesn't sound like it) made me OK about it. Sadly, it was a short lived good feeling. I felt like I finally came to terms with them, but I still felt judged every time I would step out into public.
They're uncomfortable and ugly. I can't hold a phone up to my ear. When it's cold outside, my ear lobes hurt from cold. They rampantly itch randomly. I feel really sharp pains for no apparent reason. It just sucks!
I used to be a guy that was really confident in my looks, no matter how much weight I gained, hair I grew, or whatever. Until my ears came around and people started judging me, that all changed.
Why do I write about this now? Because in a few days, I head back into surgery with a plastic surgeon, and we're gonna try something new. The funny thing though is that my original dermatologist mentioned doing this at the beginning of the whole adventure, so what happens if this works? I will be amazed.
I love piercings and I am not saying that you shouldn't get them, but this is what you could potentially deal with when you decide to no longer have them. Remember, I barely had gauges in my ears and they have progressed to a size that I never thought I would have to deal with.
So if you ever saw me, and wondered about my ears, there are your answers.