Victory over keloid scars: my story 

It has been 6 years since I got permanent relief from keloid scars/growths on my earlobes. This came after more than 30 years of dealing with them. Here is my story…I hope it helps someone 😉

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My Mom always wore clip earrings ever since I can remember because she had never gotten her ears pierced. So growing up as a child and a teen, I never felt the need to get mine pierced either. That worked just fine for me, and I wore cute clip ons when I did wear them. It wasn’t until I went away to college that my mind changed.

Sometime  in the middle of my freshman year, I made a short trip home to visit Mom, and we decided, on a whim , to go and get our ears pierced. (I really applaud my mother for going along with this mother-daughter bonding moment ?) At any rate, we went to the mall to get them done. {Yeah…that was my first big mistake ;-( }

After less than 4 months, my mom’s ears weren’t healing right and got a little infected, so she decided to let hers close up. I pressed on and continued to wear earrings. Over the next few months, I began to develop hard areas around the piercing sites. I let them both close up, but the scars became larger and kept growing.

By the time I graduated college and got married in 1993, I had bulbous scars front and back on my right ear and on the back of my left ear. Being a woman of color, I knew that these were a risk associated with any type of body piercings. They are known as keloids. Keloids are, in a nutshell, run away scars. Somehow the collagen in the skin keeps over producing , and the scars thicken and keep growing. They become hard to the touch and sensitive, and depending on what part of the body they are on, they can be quite painful and can restrict movement. Keloids can be moe prevalent in people of color, with more melanin in the skin (but Caucasian folks can experience these type of scars as well).

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So, wanting to get relief, I scheduled an appointment to have a local dermatologist remove them. We had the procedure done on our way up to visit my mom-in-law. Not a great experience, and not great results. Keloids should be worked on by professionals who are familiar with this type of injury, and if not handled correctly, they can become worse.

Meanwhile, I had to learn how to navigate having a deformity that everyone could see every time they looked at me. I learned, through the grace of God, that my beauty was not everything outside. I learned to help people see past the growths on my ears. That was such a valuable and needful time of growth spiritually for me. And my husband’s love and affection for me never wavered…he still thought and expressed that I was as beautiful to him as I had ever been. But there were still times when I didn’t want to fight that battle outside my home and I just wanted to go into a store without being noticed at all, or at least not noticed for that.

My next step was to go to a plastic surgeon to have them removed. That involved traveling about an hour away to have a consultation. We set the date, and my mom blessed us with the money to pay for it. This time, is was a full on surgical procedure, but I was awake for it. Removing those three growths was not the hardest part, however. Immediately following, after I had eaten, they took me in to give me low dose radiation as part of the treatment. I was fitted with a netted mask of sorts so that my head would remain perfectly still during the treatment. {Read: HORRIBLE for a person with slight claustrophobia.} By the time my hubby Art took me home, I was a bit of an emotional mess. That had been a lot in one day, and my tears overtook me. As I recall, I had to go back two more days to that hospital (an hour away) for those treatments. I was never so glad to be done as I was at the end of that week!

Well, things proceeded pretty well for the next few months, and it was a new experience for me. It had been about 26 years since I had not had anything wrong with my earlobes, and it was a joy to not see or feel them! I still could not wear earrings, but at least I didn’t have to cover up or mentally prepare to deal with them, and my ears didn’t hurt anymore. The exuberance lasted for a while, until I began to feel a knot starting to grow on my right earlobe. The right ear had had it the worst, with growths on both the front and back. I was a bit heartbroken because I knew what living with keloids was like now, and I didn’t want to do it again after having come so far.

All this time, I had talked with the Lord about my situation and He had guided every step thus far. I had definitely had my ups and downs, and sometimes I was confident, and others not so much. I searched the internet year after year to find out new information/treatments for keloids. As widespread the occurrences of them are, not much is known about how to effectively treat them.

As I prayed about this new development, my hubby suggested that I look not just for a doctor who knew about dealing with keloids, but for a plastic surgeon who specialized in treating the face, head, and neck. That was such a God-suggestion, and after a short time, I found Dr. Joe Niamtu, a plastic surgeon 2 hours away in Richmond, Virginia. He had before and after pics of his work on keloid scars on his site, and I knew that I wanted the benefit of his expertise. I found out later, after my first visit, that he was a TOP plastic surgeon, specializing in treatments for the neck and above, and that he has traveled all around the US and the world as a keynote speaker in his field. God had put me in the hands of one of THE best.

I was hesitant about surgery this time, and even more so about getting shots in my earlobe (another treatment with a type of steroid). I had gotten one steroid treatment a few years before after the surgery, and it was so very painful, so much so that I contemplated just living with the scar rather than going through that again.

However, Dr. Joe (after meeting me and Art and looking at the keloid) offered to treat this scar with series of shots over the next few months. I almost broke down in tears because I anticipated the pain, but the doc assured me that he would proceed differently. This was the turning point for me. Instead of using one needle to administer the numbing agent AND the steroid, (which caused great discomfort because the numbing agent irritates the nerve initially), he showed me that he would numb it first, and then administer the steroid. I had never had anyone care enough to do it an alternate way, and I was overjoyed. Over the next year and a half, I and the kids would make a trip down every six weeks to have that shot administered. Thank God for my family and for their support through all of this. especially my hubby. And I am so blessed to share that I have NO keloids at all. I can also wear no-pierced hoop earrings that are specially made at DesignerEars.com (you can read about them here.)

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It has been a journey, and there were times when I didn’t think I would EVER be free of them. But I am, to the glory of God! If you are someone you know deals with keloid scars, please share my story with them. Let them know not to give up and settle for having the scar the rest of their life. Tell them to remain hopeful and to not take no for an answer from the medical field. There is help and expertise available!

I asked the Lord to lead me to help and relief, and He did. I asked for the provision to get the treatment, and He provided. I chose to stand on God’s Word for healing, and He used the hands of a surgeon He equipped to minister that healing. I am a testimony of His goodness and faithfulness!

Thanks for reading my story…to God be the glory,

Dee

36 Replies to “Victory over keloid scars: my story ”

  1. Oh, Dee, how much we have in common! I, too, dealt with Keloids in the 90’s. Mine didn’t come about as a result of having my ears pierced, as I had them pierced for many years before developing the keloids. Believe it or not, Brian’s jealous sister couldn’t stand the thought of us having the youngest baby in the family, and she hit me across the face! It was an awful experience, but the blow cause me to develop a keloid tumor on my right ear (at the sight of one of my piercings). I had plastic surgery done on it twice – it came back the first time, so I had to have more intensive surgery done at the hospital the 2nd time. Years later, I can still feel a bit of a thicker earlobe on that ear; but, for the most part, it’s all gone now. So glad you have experienced healing as well!

  2. Oh, Dee, how much we have in common! I, too, dealt with Keloids in the 90’s. Mine didn’t come about as a result of having my ears pierced, as I had them pierced for many years before developing the keloids. Believe it or not, Brian’s jealous sister couldn’t stand the thought of us having the youngest baby in the family, and she hit me across the face! It was an awful experience, but the blow cause me to develop a keloid tumor on my right ear (at the sight of one of my piercings). I had plastic surgery done on it twice – it came back the first time, so I had to have more intensive surgery done at the hospital the 2nd time. Years later, I can still feel a bit of a thicker earlobe on that ear; but, for the most part, it’s all gone now. So glad you have experienced healing as well!

  3. Oh, Dee, how much we have in common! I, too, dealt with Keloids in the 90’s. Mine didn’t come about as a result of having my ears pierced, as I had them pierced for many years before developing the keloids. Believe it or not, Brian’s jealous sister couldn’t stand the thought of us having the youngest baby in the family, and she hit me across the face! It was an awful experience, but the blow cause me to develop a keloid tumor on my right ear (at the sight of one of my piercings). I had plastic surgery done on it twice – it came back the first time, so I had to have more intensive surgery done at the hospital the 2nd time. Years later, I can still feel a bit of a thicker earlobe on that ear; but, for the most part, it’s all gone now. So glad you have experienced healing as well!

    1. Wow Heidi…that was quite an intense experience! I’m so sorry you endured that whole scenario, and I’m grateful to God that you are healed up from that. Long road right? Thanks for sharing your story with me, I would have never known otherwise 🙂

  4. So glad you shared your story.
    I never knew what the treatment was for keloids. I’ve seen several A-A women with them on their ears and there’s even grocery story employee I’ve seen with them on his face.
    I hope they can find a treatment as successful as yours!

  5. So glad you shared your story.
    I never knew what the treatment was for keloids. I’ve seen several A-A women with them on their ears and there’s even grocery story employee I’ve seen with them on his face.
    I hope they can find a treatment as successful as yours!

  6. So glad you shared your story.
    I never knew what the treatment was for keloids. I’ve seen several A-A women with them on their ears and there’s even grocery story employee I’ve seen with them on his face.
    I hope they can find a treatment as successful as yours!

  7. So glad you shared your story.
    I never knew what the treatment was for keloids. I’ve seen several A-A women with them on their ears and there’s even grocery story employee I’ve seen with them on his face.
    I hope they can find a treatment as successful as yours!

    1. I do too, Joyce. They can be complicated to deal with, especially in areas of the body like the chest or on a knee or back. Thank you for taking a moment to comment as well!

  8. So brave of you to tell your story in an effort to help and encourage others, Dee! What an ordeal for you, but I’m very happy to hear you’re finally free of this. 🙂

  9. Dee, it is quite courageous to share this story! I am glad this worked for you. Keloids can be the source of such discomfort both physically and emotionally…
    Thank you for sharing!

  10. Yes indeed they can, Martine. Thanks for taking the time to read my story and encourage me!

  11. Avatar Nora Nameka says: Reply

    Hi Dee,

    Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I found your story on Pinterest while looking for a remedy to deal with my keloids that have just continued to grow despite treatments. I had a piercing in my ear that never healed and as a result I have keloids. I have had them removed about three times and they’re back and they’re looking terrible. My dermatologist advised that I may have to go the plastic surgery and radiation route which I have avoided because of fear that the keloids will grow back.

    I appreciate your story in that you had the God factor in there. I haven’t prayed for healing as I have tried to get this dealt with on my own. But God is the Great Physician and so who best to get healing from right.

    After reading your story I have decided that I need to get it dealt with because they’re not going anywhere and I am actually going to ask God how best to go about it and to lead me to the right doctor.

    I can’t wear my hair back in a pony because the scar will be there for all to see. I literally hide the scars with my hair. I would love to be able to just tie a simple pony tail in my hair.

    Thank you for your story, it came at the right time and had empowered me to take action and to get on my knees about my ear.

    Thank you, all the way from South Africa.

    1. Avatar dydean@yahoo.com says: Reply

      Nora, I am so grateful that my story has ministered to you. God loves you so very much, doesn’t He? Thank you for taking the time to write me and let me know your journey as well. I am agreeing with you in prayer that the Great Physician will lead you to the best to care for you and deal with your scars. I look forward to hearing your testimony..please keep me updated!

      1. Avatar Nora Nameka says: Reply

        Hi Dee,

        My appointment with the Plastic Surgeon is coming up on Friday and I’m super nervous about it. It’s the first appointment so I doubt that any procedures will be done. I guess it will be deciding on what the best course of action will be in dealing with the keloids. Your prayers in this time will be greatly appreciated. I’m hoping this will be the first step in permanent healing for my ear. Please pray that this Surgeon is the right one for me.

        Best regards,

        Nora Nameka

        1. Praying, Nora! Please keep me updated. I definitely want to hear about your journey as God opens doors for you!

  12. What a beautiful story. Your faith in God throughout the process is refreshing. I struggle with an undiagnosed health condition that I’ve had for years. Most of the time my faith is good but there are times I struggle. Just reading your story renewed my faith that God does have a plan and purpose for everything in our lives. The most inspiring thing is not to give up. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and your faith as well.

    I’m hid with Christ! (Colossians 3:3)
    Shawn

    1. Oh wow Shawn…I am so touched that my story is encouraging you in your walk. God is so good to refresh us right when we need it most! I’m praying for you, His health and wholeness be yours today in Jesus’ name. I hope to talk with you again soon!

  13. Amen. I am in the same position having a pretty big keloid in my right ear for 16 years now. It has been removed 3 times and grew back even bigger. I am having steroid injections under general anaesthetic every 6-8 weeks but do not see any improvement at the moment. I keep on proclaiming the word of God on healing over it and I believe that the power of the word of God is working. So reading your story encourages me to carry on and keep on having faith.

    Thanks

    1. Patrick, thank you for letting me know that this post is encouragement to you! I will be praying for you as well, for God’s total and complete manifested healing in your body. Please keep me posted!

  14. I am very happy for you that you got a surgeon who took care of your pain and tried different methods. I am 20 years old and I have three chest keloids and they follow the same procedure as you had said using the anesthetic and steroid on the same. I have had three shots now and I do not really want to go in anymore but this has kind of created a problem in my family and they are very persistent about me going through the pain. I am terrified and helpless

    1. Hi Amanda…I am so sorry that you feel terrified and helpless. You already have enough on your plate dealing with the scars! Maybe you can take a break from the treatment for a moment to each your breath and figure out how you want to proceed? I am not a doctor, but sometimes we need a small break to get that next step. I will say a prayer for you and please keep me updated on your progress!

  15. I”m so happy you shared this story. I am 19 enlisted in the U.S. army and also have a large keloid on my right ear as well that I am in the process of getting removed. I’ve had it for three years now and it has always be embarrassing to have exposed because people always have rude things to say about it. I was informed that I would be getting a series of steroid shots every month for six months after I have my keloid removed next week. I also have to wear a clip on my ear for a while after it is removed to lower the chances of it coming back. although there is a high chance of it coming back your story gives me hope for a permanent solution.

    1. I am so glad this gives you hope! i understand the embarrassment that you feel. I was your same age when I began to deal with these. But hold your head high and keep moving forward, don’t let that scar hold you back from embracing and enjoying your life Tynisha. You are so much more than that scar! Please keep me posted on your removal procedure, and God bless you <3

    2. Ian so grateful thatGod has used my story to give you hope!

  16. Thank you for sharing it is truly inspiring to see someone overcome these scars!!! I am seeing great progress in my recovery right now and hope to be completely free of them soon thank you !!

    1. I am grateful to hear of your progress! God bless you.

    2. I pray for the best in your recovery! It is always heartening to see progress in your own body 🙂

  17. Thank you for your story it has helped me a lot in building my confidence. It’s nice to read a story with someone who experiences the same thing. I was bullied as a kid due to my keloids. I was born in Africa and came to America and had my surgery done for free by a surgeon and then it grew back because it was surgery alone. Right after that I had surgery done at UTMB with corticosteroids shot and it grew back bigger and thicker. It’s very noticeable. I will definitely check this Doctor that you mentioned and when I get money hopefully I can get the procedure done when I’m older since I’m only 22. But like you mentioned with faith we are able to conquer anything. ?

    1. Are there treatment centres in Minnesota

      1. Hi Paula! I’m not sure if there are treatment centers in MN. However, it was helpful for me to look for plastic surgeons in VA. Then I was able to find one who specialized in keloid scars. My treatments at the time were $150/ visit for the shots. I am praying for the God’s best for you and for relief and healing!

  18. Was this super expensive ?

  19. People don’t realize how common these are for African Americans. I see them on young African American men once they start shaving too.
    I’m glad you’ve found the courage to power through the treatment and get the results you desired!

  20. Avatar Lakischa McDowellGreatheart says: Reply

    Since then, have they came back?

    1. Hi LaKischa! No they haven’t, and I am so grateful to God for that. Do you deal with keloid scars?

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