Sunday, 16 October 2011

What kind of scarring does tracheal stenosis surgery leave you with?

Aha, now this is a difficult one.  I have seen several people have major reconstructive surgery for TS, and a few weeks later you really couldn't tell.  They just had a tidy little scar that eventually faded into the natural creases of their neckline.  I have seen other people who are left with more obvious scarring.  But a little scarf, accurately placed, seemed to contain the problem.

And then there are the people like me.  If you have a predisposition to forming keloid granulation tissue (believe me, you will know if you do.  It's the large and lumpy bright red kind of scarring), then you are pretty much guaranteed to be scarred for life.  My neck is, in the words of my surgeon, a total bloody mess.n  I guess that after six tracheostomies, a few failed attempts at reconstruction, and a hundred or so stitches for stents, you wouldn't expect anything less, lol.  I've learned to live with it.  When people ask, I just tell them that I am a survivor, and proud of that.  And you should be proud too.  There are things you can do to reduce the scarring.  You can put that bio oil stuff on the scar line. Some people swear by it.  Personally, I find that accepting the presence of the scar is the most psychologically healthy thing to do.  Don't let ignorant people make you feel uncomfortable.  There will be people who say 'er, what's that?  Yuk', but don't let them get to you.  These are the kind of people who were knocked on the head when they were young.  They can't process anything different.

The scarring will get better over the years.  It will become flatter, and the raised red ridges will fade to white and flatten.  But it won't happen overnight, so have patience, and don't let anyone make you feel like you should hide it.  Your scars are a sign that you made it through a tough and life threatening journey.  Be proud of them.

Take care.

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