Since (finally) being diagnosed with HS a little over a year ago a lot has changed. At the time I was almost in constant pain and was always uncomfortable. Now my life has changed.
Since September/October last year (about 7/8 months into treatment) it seemed that the ‘lumps’ had cleared. I wasn’t getting any new ones and that alone was fantastic for me. The ‘lumps under my arms (armpits) seemed to not be healing though. I wasn’t getting any new ones but the older ones were not healing and were still painful.
So I headed off to my dr and he said there seemed to be no alternative but to have surgery. He had mentioned in the beginning of the treatment that surgery might be necessary but at that point I wasn’t sure what surgery and to be quite honest, I was willing to do anything to get better. I went to see the surgeon and he explained what he wanted to do. One option was to remove all the skin in my armpit and do a skin graft but he wasn’t too happy with that as he wanted to keep as much of my “own” skin as possible. So he opted to remove strips of skin and pull it together. He told me to finish the Roaccutane a week before surgery and booked me in for the end of February.
Once it was time to go into hospital I was quite nervous. I was originally supposed to only have a day procedure and would be home the same day. When I went to do the pre admission forms they thought that I would probably stay the night because of my asthma however when I went in on the day they still said that I would be going home the same day. I was happy thinking I would still be able to sleep in my own bed.
They wheeled me into theatre at about 11.15 and I lay there for a while waiting. They finally came to fetch me and once they told me “sleep well, see you later” I started to panic and immediately had an awful taste in my mouth and feeling wierd. I woke up about 1pm and my first thought was that they had chopped my arms off. They had tucked me in so tightly that I couldn’t move and when I opened my eyes I was in so much pain that I really though my arms were chopped off. I started crying and they gave me morphine almost immediately. They also gave me oxygen. They also removed a lump on the side of my nose and when they put the oxygen mask on it was hurting where they had cut my nose. For some reason it felt like I couldn’t talk so I just kept shaking my head which in turn made them hold the oxygen mask down even tighter. By the time time they were wheeling me back to the day clinic I was finally starting to feel better.
They decided to keep me over night anyway. I am still not sure if it was because of my asthma or if there was another reason but oh well. Off to the ward I went. Luckily both Willie and Heidi were there so they did everything for me. Including getting me into my pajamas and getting me comfortable. By this time I was starving and thirsty as I hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before. I was really looking forward to the pasta I had “ordered” for dinner. I wasn’t feeling 100% and also had pain in tummy but they told me that is from the anesthetic. So when dinner came I was very happy and started eating happily. By the second bite I had this strange feeling and before I could say anything I got sick all over. My food included. Nurses rushed over to help me clean up and took my food away saying that I can’t have anything else to eat. I then proceeded to get sick all over myself again which meant another clothes change. By this time I had to phone Willie to bring me more clothes from home as I was running out. Before he could get there I had to change again. Luckily I also had a few ‘sessions” where I managed to not have to change my clothes.
So the next day I came home and was spoilt rotten. I managed to just sleep as much as I needed. It is quite amazing how much you need your arms for. It was quite uncomfortable and the pain medication made me sleepy. I think that is why I managed to get better so quickly. I think the biggest problem for me was the dressings. I seem to not handle plaster very well and the dressing we used irritated my skin and made little blisters all around the edges. Of course every time we changed it we had to move it up slightly so that it wouldn’t aggrevate the same area all the time. When we then took that dressing off the blisters popped and all the skin pulled with the plaster. We did try a few different ones and managed to find a more material one that was the best out of the lot.
So once the stitches came out it was SO much better. On my right side I had 3 cuts from side to side and on the left only two. On the left side there is a piece he didn’t do and wants to do at a later stage. That piece has not flared up again though so it might even not be necessary. I now have nice little scars running all the way across my arm pits but it is so much better than she scars and pain I had before. It is still a little tender when I stretch too much and the surgeon said the skin will stretch and not pull so much over time.
I am almost too afraid to say it but could it be that the HS is no more??