So these new pictures are from today. The prior post was showing what it looks like (albeit kinda blurry) when the wound is mildly infected but today I’m going to talk about what happens after that.
WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGERY AHEAD NSFW
You know, if I didn’t know that people had this surgery all the time and that wounds like this do actually heal, I would think my doctor is a complete lunatic. That said, I have implicit faith in my doctor, he’s the best in Chicago for this type of surgery. I know he has a close relationship with the best breast cancer surgeons as well so I’m pretty confident of the care that I’m getting and boy am I thankful I am because this has been an interesting and more difficult road than I saw coming.
Upon reflection that was silly of me because I have a very good friend from college who did not mince words and told me about her experience, yet somehow I thought that in the last 10 years science and technology would have magically made the experience like I don’t know a 10th of what she experienced. Not true. I think the scars and the heal time have reduced but like by a week maybe 2. Not quite what I had expected. Perhaps because I am an optimist and I just assume that everything will always go along the happy path… which is sortof ironic considering nothing in my life has gone that way. I digress. What I was going to say is that when recovery from surgery gets difficult and you are very stressed out I think what really makes the biggest difference is love. I had been on/off considering getting this surgery for the last 10 years, to the point where I was still on the fence about going through with it until a week before. So the only people that knew about the surgery before I had it were: my partner, my mother, my partner’s mother and 2 friends. Typically that’s not what I would do because that is a lot of pressure on not very many people. Particularly because both of those friends not only do not live in the same city as I do but they don’t even live in the same state! Oh and I told my best friend who lives in the Netherlands after I had it done… because I just forgot to call her — time zones make it challenging to coordinate, you know? Yet for some reason I just didn’t consider needing a support group.
Part of me wonders if this is because I have a very independent personality. Ever since I was small I’ve always wanted to do things on my own and to be responsible for myself and to be completely and entirely self-reliant. I don’t think that’s a bad thing but I think it undervalues the importance of love. So recently I posted on facebook to let the rest of my friends and family know what is going on in my life. The outpouring of love that I have received has been a very happy and helpful surprise. My partner, thank whatever you pray to in the universe for her, has been a rock for me to stand on and yell at and generally be quite unpleasant to and still loves me and puts up with me and is kind to me. These are the things that I think people forget to plan on. And it’s so easy to forget that people love you when you have bigger things on your mind, like having silver dollar size open wounds on your body and small infections that have shooting pains that go from inside your breast all the way to your nipple. But what I think you can forget is that even if it’s just a skype date once a week with a different friend, knowing that someone cares and loves you is a powerful healing tool. My partner is amazing and I know she loves me dearly but it’s a lot of pressure to have her be captain step and fetch it and also provider of all the love in the universe. It’s also a little unfair. So I’m thankful for little things. Like my friends that have started to reach out… now that my genius self let them know I underwent this procedure.
On to picture time!
If you’ll notice in this picture you’ll see that from the last post the skin was red and somewhat yellow and angry. So what the doctor actually did is literally cut away the infection (which does cause some bleeding). And then after injecting me with some lidocaine he put some sutures in to ensure that the wound will close instead of continuing to spread apart. Part of the issue with the skin spreading apart is that sometimes with women who have particularly dense breast tissue it can make the skin want to spread apart (gravity) instead of close together. I’m hoping these precautions can help. And now that I’m on the antibiotics the pain is far far less severe. There’s definitely a base level of pain that I’ve simply gotten used to by having this procedure done but it no longer *hurts* all day, which I think is great progress.
Now on the right side you’ll notice that from that huge scary as fuck (pardon my language) hole that was there it’s closing up beautifully. The scars are already starting to fade and everything is going really well. So I did want to make sure to show what it looks like when things go well because this side has really been doing a good job. And I have no pain on this side, I just have to make sure to put the cream on it every day after I shower so that it continues to heal up nicely but overall there are no problems.