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I'm here because in all honesty, I'm not coping.
I'm a 17 years old (female) and was officially diagnosed with this condition about three months ago. Since I was about 12 I've dealt with odd acne on my chest and breasts. By odd, I mean it was never pus-pimples.. just small red sores. They rarely burst, just built pressure and ched until they finally went away... however they left deep, hard keloid scarring.
I never had bad "flare-ups" when I was younger. Up until May/June this year, I was doing well. I'd been treated with prednizone by previous doctors, and steroid injections to soften my scars and help them heal... but I was over it and ate a very clean and strict diet. This was mainly greasy/oily food and sugar free.
Then suddenly (and I'm not sure why), I developed a lump in my left armpit. No rednoss, just a lump under the skin, like an ingrown hair. I treated it like one until it reached the size of a grape and I began to panic. My doctor took blood tests, asked for ultrasounds and fine-needle aspirations. He didn't have a clue and prescribed antibiotics in case it was a very infected ingrown hair. A week and a half later, I discovered a small abscess had developed. It didn't weep, it ws just a hole in my underarm.. which grew until I was able to get to another doctor (I was in the middle of relocating at the time). He explained that I had a sebacious cyst (caused by hidradenitis) and the hole was the drainage point. He also explained that they're normally scalpeled and drained, or surgically removed, but mine got to the point where it took care of itself. However, the abscess didn't heal for 7 whole months. This was the time period I was on the waiting list for surgery.
In these months, my chest and shoulders flared like I had never ssen. The back of my neck, as well. My doctor gave me Isotretinoin (accutane), and my dermatologist gave me Erythromycin to treat the flare up caused by Accutane. Then I started on the pill to just try to help my overall condition. I was in constant pain, and couldn't wear singlets or chest baring shirts because I was embarassed by the sores. They were/are so red and angry.
Anyway, I eventually saw a surgeon who set me up for excision surgery. On the day, before I went into theater, he started drawing all over me. He planned to remove some of the cysts on my chest to help clear up the rest of the sores, as well as fixing my underarm.
I'm here tonight because it's been 2 1/2 weeks since my surgery. I'm in and out of the hospital 2-3 times a week (it's also 2 hours from my house) because my surgeon insists on seeing his work.
I had my stitches removed a week after surgery. Two of the wounds opened up within 24 hours because Nobody had bothered with steri-strips and despite my complete carefulness (and hardly any mobility) the skin just couldnt seal on its own. My underarm was fine until last Friday, when a tiny, pin sized hole developed, and has now almost grown to the same size the original was. I see my surgeon tomorrow. He has left my chest open (just covered with bandages) to "see how it heals" and I might "have a slight scar". These wounds are almost 2cm wide.
I'm here for multiple reasons. One: How do I stop being an experiment for my surgeon? He is so overly interested in just "seeing how things go" and I'm so done after 7 months of being bandaged and poked at. My skin is coming away with my bandages now. I'm beyond frustrated.
Two: Can I actually ask for stitches in my chest, given that by tomorrow its not scabbed enough to just leave alone?
Three: I've read a lot about cutting nightshades out of your diet, and plane to do so. Are there any other tips for reducing flare-ups?
and Four: How in the world does anybody cope? The title is the ultimate reason for my post, besides feeling alone in this.
I'm so tired of feeling ugly and I'm disgusted by myself.
Sorry for the big post.
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