I have a strong tolerance for pain. I truly do. When I gave birth to my son, I made it through 23 hours of intense labor without any drugs and he weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds, 13 ounces. After I broke my foot playing basketball I rode my bicycle 60 miles with a cast up to my knee (crazy young college student). After rupturing my achilles tendon while playing softball, I waited in the stands one hour until the game was over before catching a ride to the ER. That injury required full repair surgery. So when I say Fluorouracil treatment has been painful I truly mean it.
The above photo is of one of my clay tools for creating texture. It consists of dozens of very sharp steel barbs. The pain related to Fluorouracil treatment at times feels as if someone is using this tool to impale my face. So when your doctor smiles while he writes out the prescription and tells all you first timers that it will probably be “a bit uncomfortable,” brace yourselves, especially if you have to treat your entire face.
Yesterday was day 23 and it was the first day off of Fluorouracil from my nose down. As I said in my last post, my doctor wants me to continue treatment on my forehead for two more weeks because it is not reacting as fast as the rest of my face did.
As much as I would love to say yesterday was all roses and furry kittens after stopping application on the majority of my face, it was not. In fact it was more painful and annoying in many ways. My face developed an increased amount of blisters and throughout the day they would pop and ooze down my cheeks. It would sting a lot at the blister sites and then itch like crazy. I also had increased burning over my whole face for the majority of the day.
The one thing that helps to provide some comfort is Aquaphor. I am now supposed to apply it and nothing else from the nose down for one week. Aquaphor is made of lanolin, glycerin, petrolatum, pro- vitamin B5, and bisabolol (derived from the Chamomile plant, it has anti-inflammatory, anti-pruritic and healing effects). It is a lovely, soothing ointment but it has a similar feel to Aloe Vera gel but doesn’t soak into the skin or dry out and it is very, very messy. It gets on everything.
This is how it works:
“Unlike Vaseline (100% petrolatum), which is occlusive, Aquaphor (41% petrolatum) forms a semi-occlusive barrier on the skin. This enables the transmission of water and oxygen, important in wound healing, and the formation of a protective moist healing environment. Its other key ingredients absorb the skin’s natural wound exudates, keeping the wound moist to help promote healing.”
This morning, day 24, I have developed even more blisters, Yesterday’s blisters are still oozing, I have a headache, and my skin is beginning to slough off especially on my cheeks. Yes it still burns and itches like crazy even with the Aquaphor but it doesn’t feel as dry as it did before. My face is still inflamed but a little less than yesterday. My forehead, where I am still applying Fluorouracil, is beginning to burn more as it catches up with the rest of my face.
**A comparison photo between day 23 (left) and day 24 (right). You can see a tad less inflammation (yippee for progress)**