September 12, 2023 - Bread Always Falls Buttered Side Down
Not to be fatalistic, but I have found that when it comes to ME and Breast surgery, the butter will always hit the floor. Oh, how I was so optimistically hoping that this surgery would upset my trend. But no, I’m not that lucky.
It is true, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. At this rate, I must be pretty damn Herculean.
So, overall, my SECOND double mastectomy went well. I am well passed my initial reaction, horror, and sadness. In fact, it doesn’t look half bad. I’m getting used to it. What is NOT going well is my healing. This happened the first time around, so I do not know why I’m surprised. It has been 4 weeks since my surgery and I am frustrated.
Let’s talk about the incisions. I have 2 very long incisions across my chest. They do not meet in the middle, but each one goes under each arm and around to my back a few inches. When Jamie saw me without my bandage the first time, he turned white and clammy. He had to sit down. He was not expecting to see such long incisions on my body. But remember: Jamie is a great nurse, but he does hover on the squeamish side. Once he got used to the way it looks, the way I look - he is fine!
The incisions on the front of my chest are healing nicely. It is the pesky spots under both of my underarms that are causing me pain. Both incisions decided to separate and….well I will spare you the gross details. Maybe. The incision on the right side (non breast cancer side) is doing much better. It only has a small separation and hole. - a small wound. The incision on my left side, which is where the breast cancer resided, the lymph nodes were removed, and the skin was radiated, is NOT cooperating very well. That open wound is about 1 1/2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and a little deep. NEWS FLASH: There will be NO pictures of this, so don’t you worry.
To be expected, Mayo has been watching my wounds intently. You would think that they could just stitch me back up, but that is not how wound healing works. Wounds heal from the inside out. Any other option introduces serious risk of infection.
We spent time with zinc oxide on the wounds covered with pads. It did help a little, but the progress was not as was hoped. I was at Mayo yesterday with my surgeon and they decided to cauterize the wounds with Silver Nitrate. The cauterization part sounds worse than it is. They basically applied Silver Nitrate to the wounds, which chemically cauterized them. It also stung like a #!@*&%!! According to Woundsource.com, “Chemical cauterization through the use of silver nitrate can help accelerate the clotting process and achieve hemostasis on a variety of different wounds.” Hemostasis basically means to stop the blood flow.
I will have this process done on Wednesday and then again on Friday. They will evaluate the progress to determine if I need to continue this into next week. We are hoping the silver nitrate stops the wounds from enlarging (longer, wider, or deeper). I am rooting for the Silver Nitrate to work its magic.
The surgeon was brutally honest (which I love). These wounds could take weeks and weeks to finally heal. So, it means that I will keep them covered and survive on the old adage that “Time heals all wounds”. It must be true , we sure do hear it a lot!
And, I have to address my last post. What a downer it was. When I reread it, it certainly takes me back to that moment, but that moment did not last. I am mentally doing 1000x times better. Time has also helped me physically not look so concave. The original tightness of the wrapped bandage did not help with the initial aesthetic, but time has helped me become more flat - more normal looking.
I also have to give a big shout out to all who reached out with kind words, thoughts, cards, flowers, food, and most importantly LOVE. The intrinsic knowledge that I have a mountain of people in my corner is overwhelming. It is certainly the fuel that I live on to fight another day. I am blessed beyond measure.
I am looking forward to having healed incisions, because I want to wear clothes!! Not that I sit around naked all day, but I am in a recovery uniform that consists of comfy tee-shirts over a mastectomy wrap that holds my gauze pads in place. I’m ready to see what I look like in COLOR! It is coming. All good things come to those who wait, and I just have to wait for TIME to heal my wounds.