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It Began with a Tingle

I first realised something strange was happening when the back of my arm began to tingle. It was just one lump, about the size of a mosquito bite, halfway between my shoulder and my elbow. It didn’t feel sore or itchy the way a bite might feel, it tingled and was weirdly warm...

Maybe it will just go away, I thought, and chose a top with long sleeves to wear.

I had to wear a long-sleeved top the next day, too. And the next.

For the rest of the week I wore long sleeves, because the lump on my arm didn’t go away. It grew bigger.


The idea for this story came from a kind of benign tumour called a teratoma. These are usually present at birth and contain normal tissue or organ components, except in highly abnormal places. Teratomas are often found in the midline of the brain and have been reported to contain hair, teeth and bone. Brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo says: ‘I’ve actually found a finger inside the brain, a fully formed finger with the cartilage, bone, flesh and a fingernail.’

Also, the way the lump emerges as an arm in this story is based on the way legs grow on tadpoles. They begin as a lump and emerge from the body elbow/knee first. 

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