Back in Black

Yes yes, I know, I promised I’d end this blog on January 30th, and then I went AWOL, and now I’m back writing. I apologise. I got to January 30th and found that I was hanging onto the blog for… something. I wasn’t sure what. I turned 30, I went on my first ever campus visit (see picture below, don’t I look snazzy?), I was doing really really well!

There was just one odd thing: one of my sutures ahdn’t fallen out, and I could feel the ends where they stuck out from the stitch hole but the knot was trapped under my skin. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll email the nurse at the surgery and ask her what to do about it. The nurse wrote back within the day (on a Saturday no less) and told me to put a warm compress on a couple of times today and see what happened tomorrow.

So I put a warm compress on for 15 minutes.

Three hours later I felt something trickle down my chest, and when I went to look I found that everything was ANGRY and RED and there were two large blisters – one the size of a grape, one the size of a raisin – on either side of the graft site, which was weeping and peeling. Oh my goodness I freaked out. I was terrified that I would lose the graft, that I had an infection, that I’d have to go to the ER or up to Cleveland for another procedure.

I called the nurse and she called the doctor and I called another doctor and the general consensus is that it’s fine. The slightly annoying thing is that one doctor very confidently said it was a seroma (a post-surgical fluid build up), and the other said just as confidently that it was definitely not a seroma, it was just a heat blister. Luckily their treatment plans both lined up most of the way. I’m back in dressings, and I have to go on antibiotics for five days. Who’d have thought that a little hot rice pack could cause this much trouble???

And of course, the suture that prompted the original email is still very much there.

More updates as this goes on, I guess? I’m glad I didn’t close down the blog at least – I started this to educate people about what might happen before, during and after top surgery, and while this was a fairly long time after it makes sense to tell people that it could happen.

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