I’m happy to report that patience won out because after two plus years, patience was wearing thin and Cystifus was getting stronger and more annoying by the day.

Yes, that’s what I named him. Cystifus. Because when you have an appendage-like growth that you live with everyday for a couple of years and it’s in your face, literally, all the time — naming it just feels right.

I’m not exactly sure when Cystifus first took up camp, but it wasn’t long after Mom died. Lauren was still living with us, too. I remember this because she and I both did a weird twinsy kind of thing where we both got a bump on our inner eyelids during the same week. Were they styes? Were they zits? That’s what we originally thought, but what a bizarre place for a zit to form — on one’s inner eyelid. Not to mention, it’s one thing to sync up menstrual cycles, but syncing up zits on the inside of our eyelids? Who does that?

Apparently, Lauren and I do. Cuz, we’re weird like that.

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Of course Lauren’s popped within a week or two after it first appeared. Not mine. Mine was in it for the long haul.

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At first it wasn’t so bad. As I said, it just looked like a zit that needed to be popped. The whiteness of it stood out against the brown of my iris. That was annoying. Also, the bump seemed harder than your average zit; and it wouldn’t pop no matter how hard I squeezed that sonofabitch or used my nail to scrape or attempt to puncture it. Nope. Cystifus wasn’t going anywhere and was impervious to all my threats and attempts to get rid of him. He just stood out as a small, white blob under the skin of my inner eyelid. In the corner. Doing his own thing.

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Yeah, I thought about pulling out a needle. I was going to sterilize the needle, of course. I mean we are talking about my eye — so, of course, I’d want it to be sterile.


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I’m crazy, but I’m not that crazy. I mean, yes, after the first year, I was desperate to get rid of the stupid ugly thing, but all it would take was a little slip with a sharp object — and knowing me, that’s what would have happened — and then I’d have been in some really serious trouble. I like being able to see out of my eyes and want to continue doing that, thank you very much. So, I put the needle away rethought that strategy.

However, if you know anything about me, you know that I have a thing for about zits. If I spot one on your face or other visible body area and you haven’t done anything about it yet, then I’m calling dibs cuz I’m gonna wanna pop it. And don’t give me this nonsense about the zit juice is going to go up into your brain and kill you or that it will leave scarring if I pop it. I’m not going to pop your zit if it’s in the danger triangle or anything. You can trust me.

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Besides those kind of excuses might have worked prior to Dr. Pimple Popper putting out video after video, but not anymore. That woman and others like her are going to mash the shit out of whatever zit or cyst or whatever else it might be that’s just under your skin until all the gunk is out. Do they sometimes have to get a little rough in order to get all the gunk out? Do they sometimes leave marks? Will there be bruising?

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I mean, what’s a little bruising if it gets rid of some nasty blackheads or whiteheads or shitheads from your face? The bruises go away. Call it the price for beauty. Besides, zits were made for popping. Duh.

Also, don’t tell me it’s your body and your zit and that if anyone’s going to pop anything, it’s going to be you, Lauren! I gave birth to you. I wiped your butt when you were little. I’m your mother. So I get to pop your zits if I wanna.

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And no. If you aren’t my daughter or son, I don’t really want to pop your zits. I mean I might be a little tempted, but no. Just no —because hygiene, y’all! Seriously, what are you thinking? I’m not a crazed, serial pimple popper. I’ve been socialized and know how to conduct myself around others — no matter what lies Lauren may have told you.

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I only say that because my daughter used to say that when I’d see a zit, I’d get a crazy look in my eyes. *rolling my eyes* Puh-leeze. Talk about drama.

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Lauren calls it a crazy look. I just call it…determined. Potato-potahto. Whatevs.

But, also, what’s a mother to do when her son’s back — turns out to be a delightful field of zits? Ry would beg me to scratch his back and since I was already scratching — I mean I had to sometimes pop a pimple or two or few along the way. It was a package deal. He actually had to go on meds for his back zits, btw, but they eventually cleared up.


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This is not my son’s back. His wasn’t quite this bad, but…

Too bad.

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No. Bad me. Bad, bad, me. It’s good that my son’s back cleared up!

Before the field of zits went away, though, I/we had so many zits that begged to be popped. It got to the point where we came up with a system to determine the strength of a zit in kind of the same way they determine the strength of a tornado.

So, if the zit was just a wee thing, barely there, then it didn’t even register on our zit-popping scale. Most zits registered as an F-2 to F-3, all depending on how much gunk came spurting out. However, if the thing exploded, as in projectile explosion, and actually made noise when the enormous amount of gunk came out — it was definitely an F-5. Of course, if there wasn’t noise but everything else was the same, then it was only an F-4.

If you’ve never experienced an F-5 zit explosion, then what can I say? You just haven’t lived yet.

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So was it ironic that this weird, tenacious zit creature decided to set up home on my inner left eye where I could sort of see it at all times and yet there was nothing I could do about it but let it continue it’s slow, steady growth, year after year?

Ya think!

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This is not my eye, but this is kind of what my cyst looked like…it’s just in the wrong place.

It was a slippery little sucker, too. Cuz believe me, I tried to pop the damned thing on almost a daily basis. I even tried to get my doctor’s office to do a quick little incision or a tiny little puncture with a sharp instrument to open it up just enough for it to start oozing out. You know, just give it a jump start.

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While I don’t trust myself with a sharp object and my eye, or any of my family members who all have reasons to seek revenge against me, or any friends who need a stiff drink to steady their shaking hands — I do want to believe that a doctor could perform this quick little procedure without serious injury or death to my eye.

As I discussed this with the PA I was seeing on this particular office visit for a completely different reason than because of my eye, I got a strange look from her. Apparently, they don’t perform “surgery” in the doctor’s office. That’s what she called it. Surgery. Would I like a referral?

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Anyway, over time, Cystifus became more prominent but still wouldn’t pop. He didn’t hurt and he never adversely impacted my vision. So those were the positives…I guess. He just sat there and looked ugly and then uglier.

People started asking questions…or wanted to. Others quit looking me in the eye because it’s one of those things where you want to stare at it, but you also know that it’s not socially acceptable. People were afraid to ask the awkward questions like — “So, why haven’t you popped that yet?”  or “Can I pop the zit poking out of your eye? I think I can get it.” I knew they wanted to ask, but they were polite — and so it was just something that remained between us, not quite the size of an elephant, but still there.

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AND NO. The answer is NO. No touching and no popping. And it’s not a zit, btw. It is Cystifus, the tenacious cyst. Zit-cyst. Tomato-tomahto.

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I could have let my eye doctor take care of it. By the time he looked at it, though, I was on crap insurance and it would have been cost prohibitive to have him surgically remove Cystifus, especially since the surgery was deemed cosmetic. What ultimately led me to make the decision to just leave Cystifus alone was after the opthamologist stated, “On occasion, taking a cyst out so close to the tear duct can cause irreparable harm to the tear duct. This might happen when I go to remove this. I’m hoping that it won’t, but I need to make you aware that it could. Are you okay with that?”

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Am I okay with that?  Why yes, yes I — NO! Of course I’m not okay with that! What the hell? Besides, what I really heard was that he might cause my eye to look like shit with scarring and crap and I’d never be able to cry out of that tear duct again and I’d have to live like that forever. A hideous monster who couldn’t even cry. And he wanted me to pay actual money for that? No thanks.

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I’ve had faith, though. And patience. And I’ve been messing with Cystifus on a daily basis, baiting him, trying to get him to respond. “Take that, you stupid shit!” I would say, while putting eyeliner on him to cover his presence and, also, just to piss him off.  “What, you’re not going to fight back, Cystifus? Of course you won’t. You know why? Because you’re a coward, that’s why! I dare you, Cystifus! I dare you to come out and fight me!”

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It took awhile, but he finally responded. Over the last few weeks, he started elongating. As in he started looking like a teeny, tiny, erect penis. Uncircumcised. Sticking out of my eye. And to think I almost named him Cissy. And no, I don’t think Cissy from A Family Affair looks like a penis of any size or nature — but that’s why I didn’t name him Cissy. Clearly, he was a he and not a she.

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Cissy from Family Affair

Then last week, I was sitting in my chair and my left eye started throbbing. Like really throbbing. And I knew that Cystifus was finally ready to blow his load.

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I ran to the bathroom and looked in my mirror. Lo and behold, Cystifus had just blown his pent-up wad. Right into my eye. There wasn’t any noise and he didn’t exactly explode with projectile force, but I’d categorize him as a hard F-3.

Here are the really poor quality selfie eye pictures I tried to take.


Cystifus has started erupting.


Lots of gunk coming out of Cystifus.


Still some gunk left in there. I gave it one last good hard squeeze….


The area around my eye is swollen and Cystifus is still there, but no more gunk is coming out and he’s done for awhile.

Anyway, Cystifus has pretty much gone away for the time being. At least he’s no longer the focus when you look at my face. If I look close enough, though, I can still see him lurking in the corner of my eye, just waiting to re-emerge. But, ya know, he’s a cyst and that’s what cysts do when you don’t get the cyst sac out with all the gunk. He will, no doubt, start the process of slowly rolling gunk up the hill into another stupid ball of ugly annoyance.

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In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my cyst-free looking eyes for as long as he’ll let me.


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37 thoughts on “Cystifus”

  1. This is clearly the most disturbing post I’ve read in a long time. The fact that I stuck with it until the end is a testament to my loyalty as a friend.
    May I just say, eeww!
    While I do pop my own occasional blemish I have no desire to pop , or hear about in graphic detail, anyone else’s. Glad you have some relief now, but please for the love of all that’s holy… no more zit blogs!

  2. You crack me up!! I laughed all the way through! Maybe it was funnier to me because not long ago I had a similar thing for similarly long that was similarly annoying — also in my eye! Mine ran its course too and has not reappeared. There’s hope!!

    • Patricia,
      Thank God this post resonated with you, cuz I was beginning to think that maybe I’d gone a little overboard and it was too strange/gross/icky for my wayward friends! I mean what’s a little gunk between friends, right? Anyway, glad your eye irritation cleared up as well. I think this just may be a case of, if it hasn’t happened to you, you’re just not going to get just what a big deal it is when it goes away! YAY! And for those it hasn’t happened to, count yo blessings! 🙂

  3. I speak as the self-appointed Gooky Police when I say that a little gook is part of the picture when you have dogs, kids and your own not-always-cooperative body to help keep respectably presentable. I loved your post!! Keep it coming — you are hilarious!

  4. OMG! That’s disgusting! Lol. At first, I was picturing a crazy lady going around trying to pop strangers’ zits and I was like, UH NO. I’d be fighting a nut job who tried that shit with me! So glad you cleared that up! I can’t imagine having something like that on my stinkin’ eye! Holy Crayoli! So glad HE has erupted and gone, even if just for a while.

    • Debbie,
      Some of my readers’ imaginings are weirder than mine. Also, could this be any more disgusting than trying to catch dog pee via The Bloggess or her latest post? I’m glad Cystifus is gone, too! Hopefully, he’s left, he’ll get lost and he’ll never return. Fingers crossed. 😉 Mona

  5. I’m not allowed to pop my son’s zits..he says I’m too rough and only lets his father do it. Boo. He had one in the corner of his mouth the other day, on his frigging lip. I was like, “How did you get a zit there? WHY did you get a zit there?”

    I had one once that was right in the middle of my left eyebrow. That sucker hurt. I tried putting a hot washcloth on it to encourage it to pop on its own. It wouldn’t pop. I tried squeezing the shit out of it. It wouldn’t pop. Finally, about 4 days later, I was messing with it in the bathroom and I heard an audible “pop!” and felt a small, hard ball of pus pop out of it. I was like, “Oh thank god.”

  6. MT,
    Ya gotta love those audible F-5 pops, right? LOL. This should be on a doctor’s form — Describe your most memorable zit experience. Then again, maybe not! 🙂 ~ M

  7. LOL! What a disgusting and wonderful person you are. Isn’t organic life nasty? Funny that people are still in denial about this. How do they manage?
    If it’s any consolation, I had taken it for one of those eyelid body tags. I. Had. No. Idea. *haunted*
    Thank God you didn’t post about it until after it had popped! The knowledge would have driven me slowly insane.
    I am also strangely satisfied by the photos. How weird that it was dumping pH neutral pus into your eyeball. Funny how your eyes will accept the caress of any horrible old thing, as long as it’s pH neutral.

    • Sarah,
      What I try to do in my writing is reflect back whatever’s going on in my life and my crazy ADHD brain, I suppose. If I paid too much attention to how I suspect others’ saw me, I probably wouldn’t write at all. I’d be too embarrassed. However, what I’ve learned from reading so many blogs is that we are all wonderfully weird, messed up, sometimes disgusting and sometimes horrible people just trying to get through day-to-day. So what does one do with that? Well, I suppose different people develop different coping mechanisms. Personally, I continue to develop a sense a humor about it all because I’m not going to change life and what happens in life, and so I’m going to try and sublimate the hell out of it because I find it disturbingly funny and ironic! And when you do that, weird and disgusting takes on a life of its own in some interesting ways.

      I thought about re-writing Cystifus from the standpoint that war is hell and this was a war between the two of us. I mean he’s hung around for as long as some wars between countries, I’d imagine. I’d use war/military terms in describing it, of course. I may still do that. It might be an interesting writing exercise. Then I only need to find 8 more ways to re-write this from different perspectives for that writing exercise to be complete! 🙂 (3: from the perspective of Cystifus; 4) from the perspective of a polite person; 5) from the perspective of my cat; 6) from the perspective of vanity; 7) I think I’ve already used enough sexual terms, but I could get more graphic, I suppose (I feel my daughter cringing as I write this); and 8) from an alien’s perspective, maybe? Or better yet, I wonder if I could get a limerick out of this? There once was a horrible cyst…what rhymes with cyst?pissed, missed, dissed, list, mist, fist, brist, bris, hissed, kissed, tryst, twist, wrist…yes, this could be done. LOL.

      As you say, some are just living in denial. And they’re entitled to. I understand they have some great real estate along the river…for the right price.

      As to my eye cyst, IKR? I mean that bad boy was sticking out so far, it could be seen from outer space! If you’d asked, I would have told you all about it, you polite person, you! I suppose we could have used the curling iron on him! Ha! Damn, I need to go back and add in curling iron to my list! How could I have left that out? BTW, I’m glad you didn’t obsess over it while I was there. It popped the Monday after…late in the day. Go figure.

      So gunk is ph neutral? I’d really never thought about that before. Just one more thing I adore about you, Sarah, the fact that you know this and are willing to share! “…the caress of any horrible old thing, as long as it’s ph neutral,” — you’re not a poet by chance are you?

      So glad you stopped by! Until next time, my friend! Mona

      • That sense of humor in face of… well… in your own face, I guess. You are a testament to the strength of the human spirit, in your own face! LOL
        Oh my gosh. If you write that many blog posts concerning Cystifus, you’re going to have to warn people in the About portion of your blog!
        Could it be… have you found your nemesis? If life were anime, your encounters with him would only make you stronger. Congratulations. I look forward to your evolution as a writer as a direct result of this conflict.

        • Sarah,
          My guess is that I probably won’t be writing on this blog about Cystifus again. I mean, maybe, but I doubt it. Though I like the idea that Cystifus is my nemesis. That kind of rhymes doesn’t it? Oooh…aaahhh! However, I might turn that writing exercise into a full chapter in one of the books I’m currently working on; wherein I proceed to write about him from the aforementioned perspectives. I’m going by the guidelines you emailed me. It said to write the same thing 10 different ways. Thank you, always, my friend, for your support! Mona

          • There are more books in your brain? I want to know all about all the books you’re working on!
            Eek, you’re actually doing that?? Your dedication and energy continues to impress and terrify me.

          • Sarah, ADHD being what it is, yes. I have three projects going on at one time. You got to see the one that I’ve edited thanks to you and our other friend — really need to focus on the artwork for that one and maybe a few more entries; and I’ve got two other projects going as well. What I need is more time and less distraction! And a semi-clean house, a maid, a cook and a personal assistant. Sometimes a nanny. And a chauffeur. But maybe I’ve been watching too much Downton Abbey. I’m highly impressionable. Mona

  8. What a delightful and hilarious back and forth between you two! Yes, Sarah is a poet and you, Mona, are doing what at least half of the population should be doing (if at least half did it, the world would be a better place) — you are having fun, making fun, propagating fun instead of (okay, while) grumbling. I stand (okay, sit) in awe!

    • Et tu, Lille? *sigh* That’s okay. Maybe you’ll like the next post about two girls and a cu…just kidding! LOL.

    • Hey Pip,
      You’re right, it absolutely did. Maybe that’s the excuse I should give when people ask if I’m crazy, “Why yes I am because of the thing that was on my eye for over two years. Drove me bonkers!” Thanks for your kind words. I hope it’s gone for good, too!

  9. Ya know, my dad had a similar cyst on the outer corner of his eye for pretty much my entire childhood. It never exploded, but it did irritate him, so he eventually had it removed. It was honestly really weird the first time I saw him without it.

    I’m glad you’ve gotten at least a reprieve from Cystifus. Hopefully it stays gone for a long, long time.

    • Hey Aidie,
      What I’m learning is that having a cyst on the inner rim of one’s eye is a lot more common than I knew. It is/was a nuisance. Wow, your entire childhood? I wonder how many years your dad lived with his? I’m glad mine gave up and popped. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t stop messing with the damned thing. It gets irritated, puffs up and explodes. I hope Cystifus doesn’t come back but I still see remnants, so I’m not convinced. Damned thing! Glad your dad got rid of his. If I weren’t so scared it would damage my tear duct, I’d at least consider having them go in and remove the rest of it.

      I just saw the new look of your blog site and I love it. I mean I really liked the last look, too; but this is really cool. So you’re going to showcase more of your art and photos? I look forward to what you share! Also, are you still going by Aidie or do you prefer Aidan? ~ M

      • Well, he must have had it for at least fifteen years, because I remember it as far back as when I was in kindergarten, and he got it removed when I was about twenty. It wasn’t very big and it wasn’t on the inner rim of his eye, so it never actually touched his eye. Just a weird bump on his lower lid.

        I’m glad you like the redesign! I’m hoping to post more of my photography, art, crafts, etc than I did on FAWL. I’m also lazy, so we’ll see lol! As for what to call me, I have no preference. I’m using Aidan a lot more because that’s how most people in real life refer to me. No one outside of the internet really calls me Adie, but most of my online writing/blogging friends met me as Adie and I don’t expect anyone to change that unless they really feel like it. Adie was never an alias or anything; it’s just short for Aidan. Both are my name, I’ll answer to either.

        Also, sorry I didn’t reply to this earlier. I checked the box to notify me of follow-up comments by email, but that never seems to happen.

  10. Wishing I hadn’t chosen to read this while eating breakfast. Yuck! I cannot believe it was there for 2 years. Enjoyed the All in the Family reference, cause I am old. Glad it is GONE!

  11. I am starting to think there is something wrong with me that I WASN’T grossed out while reading about Cystifus! Yet the sight of a snake and my skin crawls… Enjoy being Cystifus-less for(hopefully) ever! The things we take for granted!

  12. Patricia,
    I wholeheartedly agree with you. I’m beginning to believe that in our sometimes dichotomous world, there are two types of people — those who find zits amusing and those who don’t. Yesterday, I was listening to a radio show and the hosts were discussing…you guessed it…zits AND, more specifically, zit etiquette. It was a whole thing about who gets to pop zits and when your girlfriend or if your girlfriend gets to call exclusive zit-popping rights while you’re dating, etc. They laughed throughout. I thought it was funny too!

    The thing is — there is nothing wrong with you or me that we don’t get grossed out by such things. Nor is there anything wrong with people who do. I used to be more squeamish, but studying to become a counselor and just life in general inoculated me, I suppose. You hear a lot and see a lot of gross things. They’re all human things, though; and because they are, I tend to not squirm as much. Still not going to be okay with snakes crawling over a little girl while she’s in her bed — which is something I saw in a FB post. *shudder* The evil that humans do — that’s disturbing to me and not funny — but zits and other things that pop are fair game for amusement IMO.

    Anyway, I write about what’s going on in my life and after living with this thing attached to my eye for over two years, I was excited that it finally popped. I thought I’d share that good news with my readers. I was trying to be humorous. Some found it funny. Others didn’t. Win some/lose some. The thing is, I’m going to write about what’s important in my life. The other day it was zits and the cyst in my eye that finally went away. Tomorrow, it’s going to be something very different. Sometimes my posts are going to be amusing; sometimes they’re going to be more serious or more emotional. Maybe I need to come up with some kind of system that lets people know what kind of post I’m writing before they actually start reading. Hmm. I’ll have to think about that.

    Anyway, the next post is going to be about something that I hope people find more socially acceptable aka less gross. We’ll see what happens. ~ M

  13. Mona,
    I do find them amusing! And yes, we are of a different sort of people than those who don’t. I stick to cake and gourds and chickens in part because I suppose it would upset some readers if I talked about the umpteen cats (yes, cats, formaldehyde-soaked, as they would have to be) I helped skin and dissect during my three-year stint as anatomy lab assistant in college — it was either that or work in the cafeteria and I am the person who chose the stinky cats, the wet fur, the frozen-in-a-snarl jaws. Later found and skinned a roadkill raccoon with my kids. (What does this say about me!?) Yet I am the same person who faints at the sight of blood (even when I am just benignly and proudly giving it), who can barely be in a hospital room where bodily fluids are in any way apparent — see ya later! — (and off I go to a vinyl chair in a sterile waiting area and breathe deeply). Makes no sense! That’s the fun of it though — and I say let’s stay un-figure-out-able because that’s one way to live a life that’s… (you knew this was coming)…unboring!
    Anyway I like how you bounce around, maybe because I too am all over the map. I like everything you write because it’s always (somehow but never the same how) clever, hilarious, thoughtful, fun and illuminating. Zits or no zits, you have a fan (and a friend I hope!) for life!

    • Oh Patricia,
      I’m so glad Sarah introduced us to each other! I absolutely adore you, you un-figure-out-able, unboring you! Wow, lab assistant, huh? Raccoon roadkill?! YESSSS!!!! Thank you for your unwavering support in the face of all my critics! LOL. Hey, this is kind of an oldie now, but you might appreciate this particular post of mine, which was inspired by someone else’s post — roughly about a year ago. It’s not for everyone, and it’s a bit warped and twisted, but I’ve been this way for a very long time!

      Have a great weekend, my friend! Mona

    • Oh Patricia. I knew I loved you for your gentleness and the way you value food… Now that I know you’re a cat/roadkill dissector like my sister, I can’t even express. Why should that make me so happy, LOL

  14. Dr. Pimple Popper is my number one go-to on YouTube. Right on the eye lid… now that’s challenging. I (eye) just love you wrote this descriptive post about the whole ordeal and included pictures for my entertainment!


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