Sunday morning came around and it was time to remove the very last of the dressings and have a full shower all by myself. This was a considerable milestone.
Where the wound site started was still very tender and slightly swollen. I wasn’t going to be modelling any bikinis and I didn’t linger for long by the mirror. I had envisaged this moment to be rather fabulous and had the posh shower gel out and the best conditioner.
The reality of the situation was, it was sore as hell. The force of the water was harsh on the wound and I was convinced I saw some bleeding. Before you start to panic and think this is a 999 moment – it was completely my imagination. There was a small amount of scabbing on the wound site and these washed off in the shower. The experience was not the magical one I had imagined.
I then had the age old argument of do I use Bi-Oil or E45 on the site to minimise scarring. Previously I have been a Bio-Oil champion but I do appreciate it can be quite greasy. The Dressing Nurse had said not to waste my money on it and that E45 would do just as well. I am genuinely torn. As it turned out, the decision was made for me. When I took out the E45 from the medicine cupboard it had a best before date of November 2017 – a tad out of date. Impressive to know that we had brought that all the way back from the UK! Actually when we looked at most of the other potions & lotions in that stash, they were nearly all out of date. Back in the day I am quite certain my parents never read a best before date, but my partner can be a bit paranoid about all of that so a big throw out was completed.
For anyone facing this themselves, I also used a gel from a local Herbal shop. The gel is called Z Gel. I found this to be fantastic. Not too greasy but very soothing. Like most things, it is down to personal preference.
Foolishly, I also thought that once I was staple and drain free I would be able to sleep on my left side. Not so. This actually took several weeks to become any way comfortable.
A small concern was that the top of my thigh appeared still to be numb and a little swollen. I had also noticed that my left ankle was starting to swell. I doubled my efforts on the exercises to avoid lymphedema.
That week the appointment arrived to see the oncologist. On a particularly bad day when I had been feeling a bit down (before the drain had been removed) my partner had said to me that I had ‘done the hard part’; the op was done and it was all uphill from there. I had the distinct feeling that the meeting with the oncologist was going to change that….