Sausage casing

It’s been 2 weeks since my revision surgery; the good news is I’m healing. The bruising that I subjected y’all to seeing is much, much better thanks mostly to my stellar lymphedema and massage specialist, Tammy. She did some manual lymph drainage on my bruised areas Friday, and by Sunday the bruising was almost gone. For real. The bad news is that the healing is ongoing. Why is that bad news? Because I’m impatient, man, and I’m ready to be done with this stage so I can get back to my regular life — albeit temporarily, in between revisions — and pretend to be a normal person who’s not affected by cancer.

Yes, I know, I’m far from normal. And yes, I know I’m waaaaaay affected by cancer. And furthermore, I know it’s never over. But I’m impatient nonetheless.

In addition to being an impatient patient in general, I’m so super ready to be done with this latest round of healing for two rather large reasons: it’s perfect weather for tennis, yet I can’t play; and I’m sick to death of the compression garment.

This is what mine looks like — although that’s not me in the photo; it’s someone from googleimages. My garment, which I refer to as sausage casing, comes up higher beyond my waist and goes down lower. It’s basically a thick fabric (mostly spandex but way thicker than workout clothes) with a 4-inch-wide waistband that sits just under my newly plumped breasts and ends mid-calf. It has a zipper on each leg that extends from mid-thigh to the top of the waistband, and multiple hook & eye closures under the zipper. Lovely, huh? I’m not sure which is worse, the fact that it is HOT or the fact that I have to wear it 24/7. It’s still summertime in Houston, with highs in the mid-90s. The sausage casing is not a warm-weather accessory. Both of those facts are sucky to the nth degree.

What’s the purpose of the sausage casing, besides an instrument of cruel & unusual punishment for the unlucky recipient of random gene mutation that causes breast cancer in an otherwise healthy 40-year-old woman? That’s a question I’ve pondered a lot over the last 14 days. The last LONG 14 days.

The theory is that the sausage casing reduces movement of the skin that’s been traumatized/sliced & diced/sucked out/reallocated, et al. Ideally, the skin needs to stay in a compressed state and it needs to avoid any unnecessarily movements, because unnecessary movements can affect internal wounds and get in the way of healing. The garment also decreases swelling and promotes the flow of blood and lymph fluids, working to move the yucky stuff (blood from the massive bruising and other toxins) out of the body.

That’s all well and good, but let me tell you people, the sausage casing is not comfortable. Not one bit. It’s HOT (did I mention that??) and while the spandex helps it look and feel sleek and soft, it’s still thick and tight. It also irritates the back of my knees when they bend, and sometimes it bunches up like old-lady pantyhose and has to be yanked and tugged back into place. I try not to do that in public, but sometimes I can’t stand it. The damned thing is snug enough that one spot on my right hip is caved in (see the right hip area in the photo above). Yep, caved in. And yes, it can be permanent. Dr S was a little concerned about it during my visit yesterday, and if he’s concerned, so am I. He had a solution, of course, but I’m still a bit concerned. His solution? Extra padding, because the sausage casing isn’t enough to deal with. So now, in addition to the sausage casing and its bulky zippers, I have a wad of soft cotton stuffed in the casing, between my caved-in skin and the second-skin of my garment. The wad of cotton shifts around a bit, so I’m constantly having to adjust it to make sure it stays between me and the point of the garment that is caving me in. This means that I’m not only yanking and tugging the sausage casing, I’m reaching in over the waistband to rearrange the wad of cotton. I know, it’s mesmerizingly attractive, right? Stop the ride, I want to get off. Enough already.

I guess it could be worse — I could have the sausage casing on my face:

6 Comments on “Sausage casing”

  1. David Benbow says:

    Think of it as your catwoman suit. Rowr!

  2. lauren says:

    You are so freaking funny. Indignity #879 served up by breast cancer, sausage casing.

    You have no infection though, and that is good 🙂



  3. Eddie says:

    I have to stop reading these posts. You keep robbing me of any right to grumble or complain about my life! Seriously, you have been astonishingly good-humored about this. Your demeanor these last weeks has not given the slightest hint of how unpleasant it has been.

  4. gozzygirl says:

    When I read about what you’re going through, it makes me truly thankful that my plastic surgeon was able to do the DIEP in one surgery, with no revisions. I had my areola tattooed last week, and am going back for the nipple to be created next week (under a local). The best part about both of those procedures: I didn’t feel a thing!
    Hang in there Nancy. It will get better. Oh, and keep your amazing sense of humour …. sausage casing. I’ll be thinking of you at Oktoberfest.

  5. Patti Ross says:

    Oh my goodness–what an ordeal. I swear there is a god and she has a really, really wicked sense of humor. Why else would a person getting care but who has to endure incredibly long time frames for the healing to work and ludiscrous processes to make things better be called a “patient”? When I went through one of my surgeries, it took me about 6 months to heal and the doctor had the nerve to say things were moving along so quickly. I really think I hit her!

    I am glad you are able to look in and help us laugh with understanding–maybe you will be able to laugh later, when the sausage casing is a thing of the past. I am sending you good wishes!

  6. Sausage casing in Houston’s heat! That’s brutal!


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