Disappointing Glitch (graphic pics)

Dr. Gimbel had said I could start swimming again on Thursday as long as my incisions are completely healed. Unfortunately, I still have that small spot on my left side – the one that was really leaking for a while. It’s still a bit open, so I thought it would be best to check with him before potentially contaminating myself. While taking pictures of it to send to him, I also noticed on my right side a strange blister on the incision. I sent the following pictures and email:

Right side of abdominal incision (small sticky spot)

Right side of abdominal incision (small sticky spot)

Left side of abdominal incision (blister)

Left side of abdominal incision (blister)

Here is our email exchange:

You said I could start swimming again starting Thursday as long as all of my incisions were healed. The breasts look great – they’s so seamless in fact that I can’t even feel a scar when I run my finger over them. I still have two spots on my abdomen that I hoped you could look at (pics below). The first is of the spot I showed you at our last appt – it’s smaller now, it’s not dripping actively, but it is still a bit sticky when I touch it. The second is on the other side and it feels sort of like a blister – it feels like there’s fluid in there if I press on it (don’t worry – I’m not trying to open it!). So, as much as I’m dying to get back into my exercise regimen in the pool, I definitely don’t want an infection. Do you think these look ok, or should I still wait to go swimming?

I’m glad you are doing well. These little persistant areas are not too uncommon, and usually just take time to heal. I think you should probably wait for things to be all sealed up before you swim to avoid any deeper contamination that might set up an infection. Can you do walks, treadmill, stationary bike, etc until then?

Also, I am planning a hysterectomy at the end of this year. Can I still have laparoscopic surgery through my belly button and abdomen now that I’ve had this done?

Yes, you should be able to have the laparoscopic procedure done as usual once everything is healed (about 6 months post-op).

I went to a FORCE meeting (that’s the org that supports people with BRCA mutations) on Sunday – several local women looking into surgery. I recommended you highly!

Thank you for your kind words!

So, I’m disappointed. For me, swimming is 50% about physical wellbeing, and 50% about mental wellbeing. I find it relaxing, therapeutic, and meditative, and of course it makes my body feel better – stretched and flexible. He suggested treadmill, etc, but frankly, I hate the gym and wouldn’t go there at all if there wasn’t a pool. But, I will continue to take walks outside and I have DVRed some yoga, which I will also start doing.

I did write back to ask if I have to wait for both of these ‘problems’ to go away, and he said just to wait for the right side opening to close. I also asked him what that blister is – he said it’s probably a suture knot trying to free itself and that it’s nothing to worry about. Out of curiousity, I googled “suture knot blister” and was able to find this veterinary advice, which while about a dog does seem to describe what I have. This is some info about humans who’ve had tummy tucks, and it also seems to describe what I have (although mine does not have any pus, thank god).

Now that I’ve emailed him like six times, I realize I forgot to ask about another potential problem – a thread of some kind is actually popping through the skin of my right breast to the right of the pseudo-areola. It’s like a little piece of clear fishing line that’s just poking up out of the skin, definitely less than an inch (I tried taking a picture but it’s so small, it doesn’t really look like anything). If I tug on it though, there’s resistance and I feel a bit of discomfort throughout my breast. I wonder if he’d consider that to be an opening too. Now I’m paranoid; I never really thought about how scary pool water is.

I really think that small opening on the right side could close any day now, and I think with keeping it dry and not scrubbing too hard in the shower, it probably could be gone by the weekend. My new goal is to be back in the pool on Monday, unless the skin around the stitch on my breast seems to have changed. Ugh. By the time I’m allowed to swim again, I’ll be back at work and won’t have any time to do it anyway.



    1. Ha. His responses are curt, but at least he replies. When I wrote back to ask him if I had to wait for the blister and sticky spot to both heal, he wrote “just sticky.”

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