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.