Information about birthmarks
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|Wed, 10-06-2010 - 7:15am|
Hi! :) This is a compiled list of information that's been shared on this board over the years. It's a "work in progress", so please feel free to add your $.02. If you find a link that doesn't work, please let me know and I'll edit the post. If you have a link you'd like to share, please do so!
Hemangiomas have three phases: proliferation (growth), latent (static) and involution (going away). The following is what I've learned about each stage:
They usually appear within the first few weeks of birth and have a growth phase, called proliferation, that can last up to age 18 months. Many times they stop growing way before 18 months of age, but the statistics usually quote the high end of the scale.
After proliferation ends, the latent phase begins. During the latent phase, the hemangioma does nothing - doesn't grow or shrink, but stays static. This phase cannot be given a time frame. There is no "normal" time range for which it lasts; some are so fast they're not even noticed and some children's latent phases last for months.
Finally, involution begins. Involution is the phase where the hemangioma starts to go away on its own. This is usually the longest phase, taking anywhere from several months to several years to complete. Involution is usually complete by the time a child is between the ages of five and ten years old.
Many hemangiomas do involute completely on their own and some do not. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell which is which.
Remember that we're not doctors and nobody here is diagnosing your child; that's her/his doctor's job. This is a great place for support and information, but please ask your doctor for further input regarding your child's diagnosis. If you're not satisfied with what you're hearing, find another doctor for a second (or third!) opinion.
Because you see your child daily, it's hard to notice any changes his/her birthmark makes. To help you keep track of your child's birthmark(s), take what I call up-close-and-personal photos. Use your zoom to get a good clear, focused, close-up and make sure you date the photos. (if you'd like, hold a coin or something near the mark so you'll have something visual to compare it with) This will give you a photo journal which takes any guess work out of the "has it changed?" question... the photos will be proof positive, either way. This photo journal will also come in handy when visiting doctors. Bring it along with a list of questions to each doctor appointment and you'll be well prepared.
Speaking of doctors, when you go to visit a specialist, be prepared.
Start a list of questions you'd like to ask well before the appointment date. Add questions to this list as you think of them... leaving space for writing down the doctor's reply.
Bring the list with you to the appointment and don't forget a pen to jot down the doctor's answers and other notes from the appointment.
This will help make the appointment go much smoother (no wasting time with "Ummm... I wanted to ask something else, but have forgotten what it is") and you'll have something to refer to after the appointment. Doctor appointments seem to go so quickly and you want to make the most of the time you spend with the doctor without wasting any time or forgetting to ask something that's important to you.
Sometimes' Hemangioma's ulcerate. This is usually from the Hemangioma growing quickly & stretching the skin. To keep the ulcer from drying out & cracking open, we used Aquaphor which you can buy at a drugstore over the counter. Also I have heard that laser can sometimes also help to heal the ulcers.
For the kids (and parents, too!):
"What's a Birthmark?" http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/birthmark.html
Gianna's Wild Strawberry (an online book) http://www.enter.net/~happymail/
Funny Face - - story of a little boy with an AVM on his nose PLUS lots of INFORMATIONAL links http://www.djbreslow.com/funnyface.htm
Buddy Booby's Birthmark, a book by Donna and Evan Ducker. Evan has a port wine stain (PWS). He wrote this with his mother, Donna. http://www.buddyboobysbirthmark.com/ (Thanks, Barb, for the contribution)
My Name is NOT Monkey Girl, by Miriam L. Jacobs. This is a book about Candace, a young black girl who has a nevus on her face. http://www.candalysepublishing.com/mynameisnotmonkeygirl.html (Thanks, Barb, for the contribution.)
Some more books: (Besides Curious George and Franklin)
Sesame Street, A Visit to the Hospital
Going to the Hospital by Fred Rogers
Jenny’s in the Hospital by Seymour Reit
The Hospital Book by James Howe and Mal Warshaw