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Thank god it was not hairy Leucoplakia!

Thank god it was not hairy Leucoplakia!

this is not hairy leucoplakia 

I was at work and stressed out. During such times I usually get a strange feeling on the left side of my tongue. So, I went to the washroom to check the left side of my tongue in the mirror. To my surprise a saw a very small white patch running along the lateral left side of my tongue. I had never seen such thing in the past. I tried to scrape it out but it did not go away. I quickly went back to my desk to check about it on google. Most of the results suggested it to be mouth or oral cancer. I was very scared. The more I checked, the symptoms suggested the white patch to be Leucoplakia (white patch). I think Leucoplakia itself is harmless but it could lead to mouth cancer.

As I searched further, all the symptoms matched to something called Hairy Leucoplakia. It is a form of Leucoplakia where a white patch is formed on either of the lateral sides of the tongue. In my case it was on the left side. The second symptom was this patch to be in small vertical hairy form. These hairy patches were movable upwards and downwards. I was a bit relieved to know that hairy leucoplakia was not related to cancer. However, my worries increased exponentially when I found out that Hairy Leucoplakia is very strongly related to HIV infection. In fact Hairy Leucoplakia is one of the first signs of HIV infection! On further checking I found that Hairy Leucoplakia was infact caused by a virus called HBV. This virus is usually in most of us. However our body's defence mechanism keeps them inactive. But sometimes when the defence mechanism becomes very weak or when its power is zero, this HBV becomes active and causes Hairy Leucoplakia. This state of the body where its defence mechanism is very weak is called immunosupressed body. The reasons for a body to become like this could be various and some of them are as follows: Infection by HIV, body part transplant, pregnancy, exposure to X-ray.

Among these, none apart from HIV matched my case. though I'd been for a chest Xray the same morning, the X-ray was done in just a few seconds. I was really worried and quickly booked a cancer screening test for the next day at "East London dentists" in Bow Road. I tried to book an appointment with NHS too but it was after about 5 days. "East London Dentists" charged me £35 and did a basic examination along with the Vizilite Plus test. In this test they ask you to take some sort of transparent liquid in your mouth for about a minute and then throw it away. The dentist then uses a illuminated stick to examine the mouth and check for cancerous cells that show up due to this liquid that tastes like vinegar. After checking my mouth, she said she would refer me to the hospital as she wan't sure about the white patch. But she couldn't see any ulcers in my mouth. When asked to ask questions, I asked her if the white patch could be related to Hairy Leucoplakia and she said she can't be sure and that it could be found out after a biopsy is done at the hospital. A biopsy is nothing but cutting a small piece of that white stuff and looking at it under a microscope. She said The hospital will phone me after a few days and that the treatment at the hospital will be free.
I also decided to do an HIV test. So, after 2 days I walked into Newham hospital. They have a department called The Greenway which does tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. I think their timings are between 9 AM and 4 PM. This is a walk in facility and does not require any appointment. I went there and filled up 2 short forms. I was called by a female doctor after about 1.5 hours in her cabin. She asked me if I had any symptoms and about my sexual life. Like when was the last time I had sex? with whom? Do I do oral? Give or take? Did I have sex with males? Protected or unprotected? etc. After asking all the questions, she suggested not only HIV test but a sexual full health check up for all STDs. This included Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis B, Syphilis and HIV. She extracted blood from my right arm using a needle and also gave me a small plastic bottle to provide my urine sample. The toilet was just in front of her cabin and after urinating into the bottle, I was supposed to open a small window made in that toilet and place the bottle next to the window.
She said the results will be out within 3 days. She gave me a card which had a phone number, list of the tests and my patient ID and other information. All I had to do was call that phone number, which was 02034657960 and when asked by the automated system, I had to type in my patient ID and the my date of birth and the results would be announced on the phone. Although, the Doctor asked me to try after 3 days, I started almost immediately after reaching home the same day. I also did a bit of further research. That is when I started seeing rays of hopes! I read about a case study of a 57 year old smoker who had exactly the same kind of patch as I had. It was mentioned that if the tongue is subjected to a lot of friction, it is possible to develop such patches. it is called frictional Keratosis. The white stuff is called Keratin. Moreover, the doctor who did my tests told me that it could be just a fungal infection and happens especially if you indulge yourself in giving oral. Moreover the patch started disappearing after about 3 to 4 days.

My worries had reduced but they completely vanished when I checked my results on the 3rd day when I found that I was clear of all the infections. I was very happy and took some sweets to work but obviously didn't mention the reason :). I also promised to gift a dress to my partner if I came out clear. She was very confident that I would be all clear. So, basically, if you have symptoms of Hairy Leucoplakia, it is not necessary that you have it. It could be just frictional Keratosis or fungal infection. All the best!

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