Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

I am just a few days past my one-month post-op date and I just had what should be my last surgery for a while – my right-hand tendon sheath release for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.

A month ago, I had more work done on my wonky ribs. With two new incisions, that makes seven scars on my side. I tell people I was mauled by a bear.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

The top incision was used for my 10th rib stabilization for Slipping Rib Syndrome. The rib was jutting out at my torso, the rib slipping again, and needed to be put back in its place. This incision has healed mostly well – other than the bandages and tape that tore my skin around it. I’m allergic to adhesives but they’re pretty much required for surgery and bandages, so I allow some skin discomfort for the greater good. This incision was doing perfect but it has now got an open area rejecting stitches, go figure.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

My second incision was used to explore my 11th rib area to see why there was pain there, too. After fixing my 10th, this area should be pain-free, so I was superglued back up and we left that area alone. This incision is not healing nicely. I have had stitches poking out of this one, too.

We have found with past surgeries that my body likes to reject stitches and this incision is proving that true, once again. It had healed everywhere but the two corner closure areas and those open wounds are pretty sore. I am having to keep clean bandages on them and avoid friction from my clothes.

I had a one-month follow-up with a different surgeon and I waited over an hour and a half for what seemed like two minutes of his time. He looked at my incisions – told me they looked great, even though they are not healing, and he asked how I felt. Then, we mentioned coming in for another month’s follow-up and putting in a new consultation with physical therapy.

Because my body has had such a rough time and four rib surgeries, I am still on light-limited-duty and I am having to take it easy on my chest wall for around 3 months. The surgeon and cardiothoracic care team want my chest and ribs to have plenty of time to fully heal before I can lift things or get back to my new normal.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

I was told if I was having a major problem like swelling, fever, purulent drainage – to go to the ER. So far, it has not been bleeding much and there are no major signs of infection, although it is getting worse day-by-day and a little more tender. I put Band-Aids over the open wounds for a day or two and then I let my skin breathe for a few days, away from the adhesives, and then I repeat.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

Otherwise, I don’t want to jinx myself and say that this surgery was successful – but I have had SIGNIFICANTLY less rib pain after this surgery. I was very, very sore for the first few days, this surgery hit me hard and was almost worse than my previous 3 surgeries. But, with each day, I hurt a little less.

I have found that if I wear myself too thin and do too much, that I will suffer some pain. I have to remember that I am still healing but I can’t help but want to get up and move. Moving is getting easier but bending is not. I get nerve pains if I tighten my chest wall or move my ribs too much. I have to keep reminding myself to be kind to my body.

Now, I was supposed to have my latest hand surgery on my right hand at around two-weeks post-op but I knew my body needed more time to heal and I rescheduled that surgery for a month out. Now, that surgery was this week and it went as well as expected.

My left hand had been the focus these past few years, with multiple ganglion cyst surgeries and a De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis tendon sheath release surgery. In all, that hand has had 4 procedures and I still have a ganglion cyst that is getting larger by the day.

I am no longer in a brace for that hand but it still sends nerve pains down my wrist near my thumb with Lumpy the Ganglion cyst still there, too.

But, this surgery focused on my right hand.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

My right has also had De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis pain, or Mommy Thumb, and I’ve been in a brace for it for years, too. At first, it was not as inflamed as the left, so we let it go for a while. Now, this year, it has been flaring and hurting and we planned on the first surgery for it.

I am glad that I waited a month after rib surgery for this hand surgery. I needed my hands to help lift me up and do things with these ribs still sore. I imagine I’ll have a rough first few days post-op as I get used to not using my dominant hand but I get through it. It being my fifth hand surgery, I’m a pro when it comes to preparing and post-op procedure.

I’ll be in a cast for around two weeks and then I’ll finally get to shower without a bag covering that hand. I’m hoping this hand will heal with no complications. I’ll have my follow up at three-weeks post-op.

This should be my last surgery for the foreseeable future and I am ready for a break. I have had four rib surgeries, a fistulotomy, and perianal abscess surgery, and, four hand surgeries – all in the last two years. Including this hand, that’s 10 procedures. I am tired. Just the thought of getting hooked up to saline and thinking about the smells of the hospital makes me nauseous.

As soon as I got to the hospital today, I got nauseous at the smells. The saline made me so sick, I thought I was going to puke and the anesthesiologist asked if I was going to be sick. Luckily, I didn’t. They did, however, blow multiple veins and I ended up with four needle sticks.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

This hand surgery was a new experience for me, as I got a different kind of anesthesia – a Bier block – and I was awake for most of the procedure! I was talking to them and having full conversations behind the curtain – all while they were cutting open my wrist. I do not remember that from any prior surgery on my hands.

I didn’t need time to wake up for recovery after and I pretty much immediately got to get up and come home. No pain meds for me either, which I’m happy about because they tear apart my stomach.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

Now all I have to do is heal and stay safe out there.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

I’m lucky, so far, as my first COVID test came back negative and I am assuming the same from my second. If you keep up with me on Facebook, I shared my COVID test #2 via video. I got this test at the VA in their drive-through testing area, I got to sit in my car as they tickled my brain.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure covid test

Compared to my first test, I know that this one was done correctly. My first was done so quickly, I am positive it was done incorrectly. With the second test, the nurses made sure to follow CDC guidelines and left the testing stick in each nostril for about 15 seconds, which was not pleasant at all. It is uncomfortable. It does burn. You will cough and your eyes will water. I understand that it is a requirement for surgery but it was not enjoyable. That video is available on the Videos page.

But, at least my Crohn’s and Fibromyalgia seem to be doing okay, which is nice. I’m not completely symptom-free but I’ll take what I can get. I am due for my Stelara shot next week and I can tell that my body needs it. I actually took premeds and got my shot all setup yesterday, only to realize I was a week early.

I am keeping up with all of my symptoms via Gali – and I am learning new things every day. Last month, we celebrated Body Positivity, so I submitted a few images to share, too.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

My migraines have been running rampant as I stress over everything but I’m making do.

I know this post is not much, but I wanted to get an update out there since it has been a while and I can’t seem to nap after surgery today and the Carter Block is uncomfortable. You can tell by my face, I am tired, y’all.

Seven Scars & My 10th Procedure

I will do what I can to keep y’all updated on social media.

For me, It Could Be Worse.


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Previous Posts on It Could Be Worse:

Any Way You Slice it – Thoracic & Hand Surgery, Again

Slipping Rib Syndrome

Author: It Could Be Worse Blog

I am a Kentuckian, a blogger and Crohn's Disease columnist, a military veteran, a model, and a mother to my fur baby, Bilbo. In this blog, I will share my opinions and life experiences, my feelings and problems, with my patient perspective and other health related issues. I will share stories from my life, the good and bad and the real things that others may not be as open to discussing, and hopefully you can (or can't) relate. Thank you! For Me, It Could Be Worse.

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