By now, I’ve pretty much regained full range of motion, though with a fair amount of pull across my chest and down my side – it’s something I’m constantly aware of. Even when not stretching, there’s a feeling of tightness across the area, like a too tight bra I can’t take off, a thin cord cutting into my chest. Not horrible, by any means, but not pleasant.
The central area (the blood blister area) is improving – the scabs have finally fallen off; the skin in that area is discolored (which is likely to resolve in time), and scarred upwards from the incision where the scabs were (similar to burn scars – those may stay with me, but aren’t a big deal for me).
What’s far worse for me is a purely cosmetic concern – the central end of the scar protrudes outward in a little cone of skin; a ‘dogear’. These are more common at the *other* end of the incision, under the armpit, and on larger bodied folks – I get to be the lucky skinny flatchested patient who ends up with one dead center of my chest. It almost disappears when I’m stretching or lying down; standing up, it pouches out; leaning forward, it’s hideously obvious.
I don’t think it’s something that’s going to resolve without surgical revision, and I’ll be looking for a referral to a plastic surgeon soon. Dammit, I can cope with the major body modification, but I wanted a *pretty* scar!
I still do.
It may seem a frivolous concern, it may even *be* a frivolous concern – there’s the whole CANCER thing, after all, and the belief that I should be satisfied with simply being alive, but it’s my body and I’ve got another 25 years or so in it: I want to be as comfortable and happy in it as possible.
I’ve been continuing to do my PT (lots of stretching and now -* strengthening* – exercises) and scar care – massaging the incision, the surrounding and underlying areas, and the scar from the drain (both with and without silicone lube) throughout the day. Once the scabs came off, I started using a silicone scar sheet patch* on the area where the blood blisters were to help that heal. Doing my best to keep up with the vitamin C and zinc supplements as well – it all counts.
Long story short: I’m doing beautifully on my physical recovery – minimal pain/discomfort; adjusting well mentally & emotionally now that I’m back on ERT; pretty satisfied with the results cosmetically, aside from the central dogear (which I’m decidedly not happy with).
Still waiting on genetic testing, and results from the bone density scan on Tuesday; still leaning away from tamoxifen, but no hard decision as of yet – I don’t have all the information I need yet, and won’t until after the results are back from the genetic tests.
* Silicone scar sheets: These are little flexible fabric, silicone backed, self stick pads you can buy at any drugstore, cut to size and slap on; a bit pricy but washable and re-usable for up to a week, and clinically proven to help. I’ve cut the full sized patch in two; put one half on in the morning, leave it on most of the day, and then throughout the night; take it off in the shower in the morning and wash it. Use the second half patch on the second day, while the first half patch dries out. Rinse and repeat.