19 Days Post-Op

The nose keeps getting better and better. I’ve graduated from the nonstick pads and tape to small Band-Aids that can be cut to the perfect size to cover my graft. They’re a lot less hassle, too.

19 Days Post-Op

19 Days Post-Op

My skin is finally starting to calm down, and not a day too soon. It’s been almost as stressful as the graft, itself.

And speaking of stress, yesterday DH’s company eliminated his position. To be fair, he’d been miserable at that place from the beginning. He said younger men have no respect for their older coworkers. He’s not “old” at 58, and he has more knowledge than 10 of those youngsters tied together. We’ll have to wait and see how things turn out with a new job.

Tomorrow is my 3-week follow-up with the surgeon. I won’t tell him how insubordinate I’ve been, and I’ll just let him think I’ve been following all his rules to the letter. :-)

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15 Days Post-Op

When I took off my bandage and cleaned the graft site this morning, I was kinda blown away by how quickly it’s healing. It’s been two weeks and a day since my surgery, and two weeks ago, I couldn’t have imagined how well I’d heal. I went from looking like this…

Layer 3, Day of Surgery

Layer 3, Day of Surgery

…to this. Amazing, huh?

15 Days Post-Op

15 Days Post-Op

Putting the bandage on at bedtime is routine, but I’m still not wearing it during the day at home. I keep the site slathered in Aquaphor to keep it moist. I have a feeling it would be VERY uncomfortable if it were allowed to dry. My nose, in general, is still swollen, and I’m wondering if that’s contributing to the tightness I’m feeling on the rest of my face.

My skin is not very happy since I haven’t been able to care for it normally. I’m having a facial later today, so I’m sure it will feel much better soon.

Still in good spirits but wanting this to all be over so I can do what I want, when I want.

13 Days Post-Op

Dare I say it? I can see light at the end of the tunnel. The scab on my nose gets smaller by the day. It’s still very sore around the surgery site. Doesn’t the graft site look great?

Day 13 Post-Op

Day 13 Post-Op

Yesterday I ventured out for breakfast with a friend. After not wearing a bandage all day the day before (except to sleep), the tape drove me crazy. I couldn’t wait to get home and take the whole thing off.

It was a good day, especially, for two reasons: 1. My friend brought some gorgeous roses from her yard, and they’re still scenting the entire room. 2. A card came in the mail from two people I know only through a fragrance discussion forum I belong to. We’ve never met, but we’ve exchanged emails and some perfume samples. Anyway, inside the card was a Starbucks gift card (remember my Grumpy Cat post about what happened at Starbucks?), complete with receipt. LOL!! It brightened my day more than I can describe. I’ve already thanked all these friends, but I’ll do it again: THANK YOU! It never ceases to amaze me how simple gestures can have a huge impact (this includes phone calls and emails). :-) Thank you, everyone!

Rule Breaker

Remember I said I’m not a good patient? Further proof: Today I decided to shower without putting plastic over my face. My thinking was that, if we’re supposed to clean the wound with water and a Q-Tip, water must not be the problem. I slathered on a thick layer of Vaseline over the entire surgery site and took my normal shower. I didn’t let the water hit my nose, but of course, some did roll down my face.

Once I was out of the shower, I wiped off the Vaseline and applied a thick layer of antibiotic cream. I’ve also decided to leave my nose uncovered while I’m at home, with the exception of when I’m sleeping. BTW, that foul smell from a couple of days ago is gone. I don’t understand why it was there to begin with, but it’s fine with me that it’s gone.

Day 11 Post-Op

Day 11 Post-Op, Slathered with Antibiotic Cream

Although I don’t plan to leave the house, I decided to wash my hair and put on clothing other than my jammies. No makeup, tho, because that’s a lot of effort if I’m not going anywhere. Tomorrow, tho, I’m having breakfast with a girlfriend, so I’ll do a “full face.”

A few months ago, I mentioned I’d lost 35 pounds. One would think that with all the staying at home I’ve been doing, I’d have put a few back on. Wrong:-) I’m holding steady and feeling very good about that.

10 Days Post-Op

Nope. Not worrying anymore. My graft looks good, relatively speaking. A lot of the yellow gunk in the photo is attached to the dissolving threads, so it may take a bit longer for that to fall off. I’m OK with that. If I thought it were safe, I wouldn’t wear a bandage around the house; however, with two dogs and three cats, I’m sure it’s not a good idea, considering the pet air floating around.

10 Days Post-Op

Skin Graft 10 Days Post-Op

What? Me Worry?

Sunday

It’s been a worrisome day. My graft is all scabbed over, and when I changed the bandage this morning, it smelled foul. To me, that says infection. I’m on antibiotics, so it’s not likely, but still, I’m concerned. I took photos of it last night and again this morning.

My patient instructions said to call Dr. M. on his cell if I had any concerns, so I did. I immediately sensed that he didn’t like being called on Sunday morning. I told him about the foul odor, and he asked if I was taking my antibiotics. Then he asked when my next follow up visit was (in almost two weeks). I told him I had taken some close up photos of the graft and asked if I could send them to him so he could take a look. He said no. I’m guessing it has to do with liability, but I could be wrong. He said if I was that concerned about it, I should call his office in the morning and schedule a visit. Alrighty then. That didn’t make me feel any less worried.

8 Days Post-Op. My Face Is Still Swollen.

8 Days Post-Op. My Face Is Still Swollen.

After scouring the internet for hours looking for images of skin grafts, I finally gave up. Skin graft photos are almost all before-and-after shots, nothing in-between. I decided I’ll start including them in my blog, not only for my own reference, but for other skin graft recipients with the same concerns I have.

Medical articles I found on skin grafts had conflicting info. Some said an odor was to be expected during bandage changes while others said to call my doctor. I visited various skin cancer discussion forums but still couldn’t find a definitive answer. I guess my definitive answer will come in the form of a visit to my surgeon’s office.

9 Days Post-Op

9 Days Post-Op

On the bright side, if you can call it that, I’ve discovered Nexcare Absolute Waterproof Tape doesn’t tear off my skin. This morning I cut a gallon Ziploc freezer bag to fit my face, then applied the tape around the edges before I stuck it to my face. There were no leaks when I took my shower and washed my hair. I stood under the shower for a few extra minutes, letting the water rain down on my body. I miss my daily showers and hair washing.

A note about my drug stash. More than one reader has commented on it, so I feel the need to explain where they’re coming from. I’ve had numerous surgeries the past few years, including hip replacements and shoulder arthroscopies. My doctors have commented on how high my pain tolerance is, and that’s why I don’t use many of the pills I’m prescribed. I don’t throw away any prescription drugs after I’m healed because there will always be times when I’ll need them for something else—like now. Y’all can rest assured I’m not out prowling the streets looking for a drug dealer.:-)

Later this evening, my worries were alleviated when I did my nightly bandage change. The Aquaphor keeps the graft site soft, and with a wet Q-tip, a lot of the dead tissue rolls right off. Enough came off tonight that I was able to see the bright pink skin underneath. I won’t be visiting my doctor tomorrow, after all, and that’s a good thing.:-)

One Week Ago

A week ago yesterday, I had my surgery. The week has seemed to go by quickly. Friday was much better than Thursday, even tho I didn’t get much sleep the night before. Maybe when my nose is healed, I’ll get to catch up on all the zzz’s I’ve missed.

I had a bit of a scare with my skin graft yesterday. As I was putting on the Aquaphor, I noticed the graft was darker than it had been the day before. Immediately, I started worrying that it was dying instead of healing, and it was all my fault because I’d slept on my side the past few nights. I didn’t remember my graft turning dark four years ago, and I checked my blog to look at those old photos. After spending a couple of hours researching skin grafts and looking at images, I felt better, knowing they do turn dark as they heal. Whew!

After spending more than 30 minutes experimenting with bandages, I put on some makeup (mascara is nothing short of miraculous, IMHO), got dressed and ran a few errands. Sitting outside the entrance of Walgreens was a man collecting donations for whatever. I smiled at him and kept going. He said something I didn’t hear, and I said, “I’m sorry??” He said, “On your way out,” as he pointed to his collection box. Seriously? While I was in the store, I debated what to say to him on the way out. What I wanted to say was, “I’ve been cooped up for a week, and the last thing I want right now is someone expecting me to give them money.” I paid for my items and headed out the door, and the guy said, in a loud voice, “Would you like to donate to <fill in the blank because I didn’t let him finish>?” I’m sure his tone was meant to intimidate me, but if he’d known about my imaginary evil twin, Veronica, he wouldn’t have bothered. ;-) I politely said, “No, thank you,” and kept walking to my car.

In a grocery store, a woman left her grocery cart parked at an angle, blocking the aisle I needed. She was trying to decide which pork chops to buy. I cheerfully said, “Excuse me, please:-)” She heard me, and she glanced at her cart, but she didn’t move it. So I waited a few more seconds, and in a louder voice, I said, “Excuse me, please:-)” She turned around with an angry look on her face, but as soon as she saw my bandaged face, she smiled and moved her cart. It shouldn’t have mattered whether I had a bandage or not, am I right?