It sounds scary. I was terrified when the HIQ said that at the next appointment he was going to “remove the dead tissue”. I anticipated pain. I even had a panic attack. As if I wasn’t enough of a basket case as it was. I didn’t even get an explanation as to how it would be done.
By this time I was crying at least once a day. It had finally sunken in that things were really bad. I had lost both nipples and areolae. The tissue was completely dead. The tissue itself was blackened and rubbery. In some places it crackled when I pushed down on it. So it had to be removed.
Dead tissue is a breeding ground for infection and if it wasn’t removed, it would have caused infection that would have gone systemic and eventually killed me. So debriding, even though it sounds terrifying, is actually a good thing.
When we came back for the next appointment, the HiQ STILL didn’t explain exactly what would be going on. Thankfully his nurse did. She explained that this wouldn’t hurt because the tissue he would be removing was dead so the nerve endings were dead too. Because the nerves were dead, there wouldn’t be any sensation except for a pulling sensation.
I sat down and kept my eyes closed the entire time. I do know that he cut the tissue off with surgical scissors because I saw the instruments before the procedure. All I felt was pressure and tugging. No pain aside from the emotional grieving of having lost an intimate part of myself. I grieved for the loss the same way an amputee or breast cancer survivor would.
It still freaks me out some that he was cutting tissue off my body. It sounds like something out of a horror movie, doesn’t it? Just the concept was enough to freak me out. Yet through all of this I explained calmly and in clinical terms to Hubby what was going to happen. He was, again, not allowed in. I refused to expose him to it and I was determined that I would do my best to maintain a facade of normalcy.
I failed about half the time by this point. But I tried, by damn. I tried.
The most important thing to take away from this post is that if you have to endure debridment, it is NOT painful. It sounds scary but what’s scarier is what will happen if you do NOT have it done. So have it done and do something really nice for yourself afterward.