A sensitive soul

I am not sure how many times I have heard the saying that cancer just keeps on giving.  Oh it is so true.  Little and not so little unexpected bonuses.  Like the disappearing thyroid function, unpredictable digestive patterns, permanently impaired fingernails, Twang Arm and a lingering tingling of neuropathy to mention a few.  And one of the most irritating quite literally – sensitive skin.  The combo of surgery, chemo and radiation have made the skin on my upper torso particularly sensitive .  With that and my port, I have been unable to wear necklaces because they rankle my skin so.  And after port flushing, I cannot tolerate a sticking plaster as before very long I can feel a rumbling as the skin starts to erupt as if I was hosting some kind of alien, waiting to break free through my skin.

This latter is causing me some grief following my de-portation.  My wound seems to be healing well and I only needed pain relief for the first day and a half after surgery.  I am carrying my port around in my handbag, taking it out every so often for another look, such is the intrigue it still holds for me.  After all I had kept it close to my chest for so long.  Embedded in my chest to be accurate and you can’t get much closer than that.  So that side of things appear to be fine.  However, the thing I have been struggling with is the seemingly innocuous  adhesive dressing.  Within a few hours of the surgery, I could feel my skin start grumbling and complaining.  Before much longer it was becoming  really crotchety.

I knew that there was a fresh wound under the dressing though, and that trying to remove the adhesive strip was not a sensible idea.  A ridge of irritated skin started to form around the edges of the dressing and over the following couple of days I started gradually to peel away the offending plastic.  The grumbling got louder though and was showing signs of developing into a full scale rant so around day 3 I reluctantly headed to the pharmacy to see what goodies I could acquire which would help this situation.  And I do have to confess, I had an increasing curiosity to see the colour scheme which was developing around the surgical site, as well as how the incision looked.  I picked up a selection of interesting items, including  sterile dressings pads, anti-septic/surgical spirit and surgical tape with a mix of trepidation and anticipation.  And irritation.

Back in the studio, I peeled the rest of the dressing,  let the bruises out and the skin breathe.  I carefully prepped the area making sure it was sterile and meticulously clean and covered the wound (which was looking very healthy and healing well) with a new dressing.

Unfortunately, this surgical tape did not last long before it too started to make my skin crawl.  Before long I was back in the pharmacy, scouring the shelves for the gentlest tape possible.  I managed to find a hyper/hyperallergenic-oh-so-gentle tape and carefully re-dressed the site again.

My supersensitive skin, though, is continuing to flare and protest and I guess there is not a great deal more I can do about it.  Tomorrow I will see Dr P, the surgeon, again and I very much hope he has a magic solution!  At the very least, I hope I am able to leave the wound uncovered and let my poor sensitive skin calm down so that will let me concentrate on puzzling over the port itself.


8 thoughts on “A sensitive soul

  1. I’m so sorry you are struggling with this, Philippa. I do hope your surgeon has a wonderful, magical solution and that it can remain uncovered. I didn’t know there could be sequelae to the de-portation. Wishing the best. xx

  2. Oh boy, Philippa, this really is the gift that keeps on giving….. Remove the port and still, issues…. Hope the doc has a magic bag of tricks to fix you up. Glad to see you on tweet chat last night!!!


  3. Oh, big sigh, Philippa. I run into a fair number of patients who are just allergic to every kind of tape going. I don’t know if benadryl or some other anti-allergy med would help, but that’s another thought. If the incision is basically closed, hopefully you can just leave it open to the air. There is also such a thing as ‘liquid bandage’ that can just be daubed on if your surgeon thinks it needs covering still. A cold compress might help, too.

    Damn and blast the darn port! Maybe when you’re ready to let it go, you should set it on fire one of these days…

  4. I’m hoping your skin has ‘calmed down’ a bit by now. Yes, cancer does keep right on giving doesn’t it? I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this, but I’m glad the port is out. It’s funny I never had the option, or thought to ask, of keeping mine. Have you decided what you will do with it yet?

  5. Thanks for your support and kind words – it is definitely calming as I slept without the dressing last night. Woke up in the night scratching though! However, all is good and the surgeon says I no longer need a dressing as it is healing really well 🙂 I am also very aware that this is so trivial compared with all the other stuff!

    I am still carrying the port around with me, that is the level of fascination it continues to hold! I have a feeling I am going to keep it prisoner for a good bit longer 😉

  6. Oh, Philippa, you are so right. It keeps on giving. That’s the stuff non-cancer people never seem to understand and partly why we bristle so if someone happily exclaims, you’re all done. Nope, never done and sadly, you’re proving that again. I hope you feel better soon! Hugs.

  7. Philippa, I have been thinking about this “sensitive soul” post so much this week. I just wanted you to know that. I’m so glad to hear the wound is healing and that you are feeling better.

  8. Thanks for such support and understanding. Oh I know – that “all done” nugget – and the “why don’t you put it all behind you” ….. The worst is that we know it is so hard for those around us to understand where we are coming from. Sigh.

    Thank you so much for your thoughts – I am feeling so much better now. The inflammation is almost gone, and certainly not ruling my life any more!

    It is wonderful to be wrapped up in such warmth and support 🙂

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