Monday, September 26, 2011

The Itchy & Scratchy Show

So I was doing so great, my friends. Energy up, very very little pain, feeling excited about moving forward with life . . . but there's been this rash. It developed while I was in-patient, and no one could really figure out what was causing it. We switched meds, it stabilized, and I got discharged. I have been taking Benadryl every six hours, around the clock since last Thursday when I came home and it was holding steady . . . until yesterday. Yesterday, it flared like a beast, and today it's had me in tears. It is the most excruciating, uncomfortable feeling - I cannot get comfortable. If I could peel off my skin like a wetsuit, I would.

So, of course I called the docs first thing this a.m. My breast surgeon's team was dismissive, a la: "these things tend to get worse before they get better - please suck it up and don't call back." Bulldoggedly, I phoned up my plastics team, and they were more responsive. I had a 4 p.m. appointment and my PS at least made an effort to alleviate some of my issues. We got rid of the surgical bra. She removed the steri-strips. But here's the rub. What I really need to knock this thing out is prednisone. Prednisone, however, is bad for healing - and I've got a lot of healing to do. Most importantly, Lefty, the breast I had cancer in before, is on shaky ground - all docs think the implant will make it, that the skin and nipple will heal up and look very pretty, but it's very delicate because it was previously irradiated. I'm already a very lucky lady to even have it in good enough shape to perform this procedure in the first place.

So no prednisone for me. Same Benadryl routine. And what else? OTC hydrocortisone cream. More suffering.

I want this implant to succeed. I need to put my mind over matter right now and I need this to resolve and I need these breasts to heal. I'm not a prayer. Tonight, I wish I were. I think I'll try to meditate . . . to try to calm the little crawlies. Maybe ice the really bad parts. And try not to keep DI up all night in the process.

One piece of good news, though, so I'm not a total Debbie Downer tonight: While I was at the surgeon's office, I had 2 of 4 drains removed. And that, my friends, is a real relief. I think the other two will come out Thursday when I see my her again. So at least by end of week I'll look less freaky, even if I feel like crap.




  1. I'm so sorry. As annoying as it is, I'm just glad it's not an infection. I'm amazed you got some of the drains out that fast. The first time for me, I had drains in for almost 2 weeks. I was ready to rip them out myself.

    Hopefully tomorrow will be more comfortable and less itchy.



  2. That sounds just plain awful. I don't pray much either, as you know, but I will certainly be wishing you every positive and healing thought I can muster tonight. I hope you have some relief tomorrow. I am glad that at least you had the two drains removed today to give your spirits a bit of a boost. And phooey on your breast surgeon's office for having no bedside manner! Big hugs to you Sarah - I hope you get some rest tonight... somehow. xoxo
    Lindsay (P)

  3. Sarah, ask your doc if she could prescribe you Desonide instead of OTC hydrocortisone. It helped a lot with my son's food allergy-related eczema.

  4. Sarah, I sure hope you get some comfort and relief from all the itchy & scratchy discomfort. I can only imagine the discomfort -- but also believe you are stronger than it, and you will overcome! Hope you are able to get some rest and relief from this soon!

    Debbie C.

  5. Oh, man. Sorry to hear about the flareup and the no-go on the 'roids. How about some of the Benadryl anti-itch clear topical stuff? My kids love it when calamity strikes--it feels cool, you know?

    Glad you were liberated from some of your drains, though. Talk soon. -Dana

  6. Hey Sarah - just saying hello to you from the forum - signed up for your blog - it's great! Hope you feel better soon!

    Oh, and also, we have used a prescription level hydro cream (for poison ivy) that works much better than OTC stuff - I think it's called betamethasone? It's a higher concentration since it is prescription.

    Lorraine (dancetrancer)

  7. Mind over matter when you feel like you need to jump out of your skin is BIG mind stuff, on top of all the longer-term mind-over-matter stuff you are already carrying out. You will get through this, too, with the tools in your toolbox.

    In the meantime, we are sending all the healing power we can your way, and visualizing soothing rivers of Benedryl-infused bath milk.

    P.S. WOW on the drains!

  8. You are amazing and will do this - because that is who you are. Two drains down - two to Go - that's amazing progress...
    and you are healing - and you are itching and it's torture but you will do this.
    You are my inspiration.
    And it SUCKS and you wish you didn't have the rash - but you WILL do this.....
    I am so proud of your courage and your ability to keep a positive attitude and continue to help other women on THEIR journey through all of this.
    Hang in there friend! :)

  9. Well that's no fun. But excellent news about the drains. I had to wait 5 weeks! Hopefully the benedryl will make it tolerable. You don't have any tegaderm on do you? I was really allergic to the adhesive. I wonder if aloe vera would help sooth the itching?