1 week update Still no CS anywhere. Hands are dry and I use lotion here and there but it is not a big deal. No blushing at all. Anxiety-related blushing is completely gone as well. I still have some soreness and have developed a dull pain in the center of my upper back in the spot where the surgeon performed the cauterization. It appeared 2 days ago and is almost gone today. Skin on my chest and armpits is still completely numb. Sensation seemed to be returning a few days ago but I'm not sure if it is anymore. The scars are healing very slowly and still look ugly. In addition, I have also noticed a very strange "rainbow" type impression across my chest spanning from armpit to armpit and the muscles in my chest seem to constantly be in a state of slight contraction. When I try to stretch my chest out I feel some resistance in my chest muscles that wasn't there before. I have not seen this or heard of it anywhere on any ETS website. I'm really wondering what the hell happened to cause this and am hoping it goes away. If I had to guess I'd say it is related to excessive puncture holes made in me and excessive use of the cauterization tool.
Overall, I am very pleased with the way my body responded to the sympathectomy, but I am not happy with the extra puncture holes, chest numbness, and now this arch impression across my chest. I am concerned as to why I was in the hospital for 2 days after surgery with drain tubes in my chest. I bled about 75mL of blood post-operatively on each side. Perhaps that's common for redo procedures, but every ETS video I see there is no bleeding when the operation is done and patients get discharged same day. So, this leads me to believe that perhaps a blood vessel was cut by accident or something similar went wrong. It may be the case that redo cases are more problematic and I am wondering if I would of been better off going to someone like Dr. Nielson who is an ETS specialist.
Facial blushing is an involuntary reddening of the face due to embarrassment or stress. The terms blushing and flushing mean the same thing, although flushing tends to be used for more severe cases (known as idiopathic cranio-facial erythema).
this has been going well enough for me so far. i'm using Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF15 - colour alabaster and Recover correct and conceal redness. i just apply a tiny bit of the clinique on my face first with a brush and then a tiny bit of recover with a brush as well. it's made me a lot more confident and has reduced blushing a lot because if im going to blush i just tell myself sure my face isnt red anymore and it has been working. for me the reduction in the flushed face means a reduction in blushing. it's not that noticeable either as it kinda blends in really well with my skin. and anyway men can wear make up, ive spent most my life with a red face i really dont care if someone says im wearing a tiny bit of makeup.
Hi blushingman, I would say cs is almost non existent or very very slight in average temperature outside or cool rooms but I would say it's slightly increased when outside on a hot day. I always used to sweat a bit on my back in the heat but never on feet, now I have slightly more on my back and some on my feet. Still doesn't bother me at all though. Also the moment you go back into a cool room, the sweating for me stops completely. Working out is a big deal for me. I used to be a very competitive soccer player 7/8 years ago and still regularly play. I am also a very dedicated weightlifter which I focus on more now in the last 5 years. I have missed the last 10 days , and will be back in the gym tomorrow so I am very intrigued to see how things go with heart rate, strength, fatigue and keeping an eye on flushing. I obviously am not gonna push myself too hard straight away but will let you know what happens...
Day 5 My chest tightness is pretty much gone. Soreness in my armpits is almost gone. Feeling is slowly starting to return to my chest skin. Mild CS on my feet again today at work but my socks didn't get wet. Honestly I had mildly sweaty feet before my ETS. Right after my operation I had dry feet for the first two days so I thought that was the new normal, but unfortunately it has returned to about baseline level. So I'm not even sure if it's fair to call it CS. No CS anywhere else. Dry hands again and had to use lotion. Mentally I feel totally normal.
From here on out I'll probably update once a week, once a month, or if I experience new or increased symptoms. If anyone has questions just ask and I'll reply. But basically I was a pretty lucky patient and have very little side effects from ETS thus far.
I'm not sure how much it costs yet. I haven't received my bills. Prior to the surgery I spoke with my insurance provider and they told me it is covered and that Dr. Port has contracted rate. They also told me my maximum out of pocket was around $1100. So, i'm assuming my personal responsibility will be around that much. But again I haven't received my bills yet so I don't know. I will update when I get them. But how much you pay will not be the same as me since it depends what surgeon you go to and how much of it your insurance will cover. I am about as sure as I can be. I know what a blush is, believe me. If I am blushing, then I'm doing so without feeling any burning sensation in my face and without my mind going into a panic attack.
Day 4 I got discharged from the hospital last night. On the drive home my feet felt pretty hot but I didn't feel sweating. It was about 80 degrees and humid outside too. It felt good to sleep in my own bed again when I finally got home. On my way to work this morning my feet again felt hot and this time I noticed mild CS on my feet. There seemed to be a very thin film of sweat on them most of the day. Might have something to do with the fact that I wear leather shoes which are not breathable. When I took my shoes off my socks were hardly wet...just very slightly damp if anything. Overall not an issue at all but hopefully this doesn't get worse. No CS anywhere else on my body at all. My hands were very dry today. I had to put moisturizer on 2 times. I'm hoping they don't stay this dry all the time as it can be uncomfortable. Most of the skin on my chest is still completely numb. A few spots seems to be getting some feeling back. I will see what happens over time. NO BLUSHING. I had what would of been another blushing inducing moment at work today and I was able to stand there calmly in front of my co workers and just be myself like a normal person. Walking into work this morning I felt no anxiety about blushing, and after this moment I spent the rest of the day again with literally zero blushing related anxiety. It didn't matter where I was, who was there, or how many people. etc. I was no longer wasting energy trying "read" every social situation I was in to judge if the conversation would ever turn to me. No question about it, it feels life changing. I was actually able to do a better job at work too. My thoughts were calmer, clearer, and hence I was able to focus on the tasks at hand instead of wallowing in ridiculous blushing purgatory. I always knew the blushing was a distraction, but I did not realize just how much of a distraction until today...life instantly feels simpler. Once I got home from work I took the last bandages off from under my armpits. I was not all that pleased with what I saw. Before surgery, I asked Dr. Port if he could go in through my previous incision sites to minimize scarring. He said he will if he can, but that sometimes he is not able to on redo cases because of how lung adhesions form and how he has to dissect them free from the chest wall. Anyway, there are 2 new puncture sites on my left side and 1 new puncture site on my right. One of the new puncture sites on my left side is covered by my arm when I put it down, but both sides have 1 puncture site forward of my arm as well, so if I'm standing with my arms down you can see them both clearly. I'm hoping that these heal up well, but judging by my last ETS the scars will be somewhat visible for the rest of my life. If I lift my arms now, there are going to be 3-4 visible scars underneath and it it looks pretty ugly. I wish he would of made the punctures higher up where my armpit hair grows because the hair would of covered them better. With Dr. Nielson and his Micro ETS approach the skin is much more preserved. I'm not sure if he can use this same Micro approach for redo procedures due to the lung adhesions, but it's worth a shot to ask him. I feel that the multiple puncture sites are likely related to the numbness of the skin on my chest due to damaging nerves every time you stab a new hole. With Dr. Nielson I would think the less invasiveness of just a single, smaller puncture site would minimize the risk of the nerve damage/numbness as well. Right Side:
Regarding the mental fog, it seems to have improved after getting a good nights sleep last night. I can't say definitively if there were any psychological changes since there is no way to objectively measure this. One thing to keep in mind though is that ETS has been used to treat PTSD in people, so it would not surprise me if there were some changes in me mentally. If there were, then they must not be significant because nobody said anything to me about it today. I'm not worried about it anyway for three reasons: 1. I feel fine. 2. I knew there was a risk of this happening and told myself that I accept the risk. 3. My nerves were cauterized and there is NO going back for me anyway, so why bother worry about it in the first place. Regardless I overall feel much happier now just that I am not blushing anymore. 4 days out and things are pretty good.
Hi Harry, I've been reading all your posts. It's great to hear that you are so happy with the surgery so far! I hope you keep updating your long-term progress. So many people forget that. I am particularly interested to know how the CS is on a warm summer day, and if you experience more flushing in general. Also, if you used to work out regularly before the surgery, has that become more difficult post-op? Cheers
1 week post op- I haven't blushed once!! I'm still uneasy that I could blush but every situation so far where I'm thinking 'oh here we go, blush coming.. slight heat then....nothing!' Heat disappears instantly and can just keep going with my conversation! If this is the new norm then I can honestly say ETS was the best thing I've ever done and I wish I had done it 5 years earlier when I first saw Dr gorenstien. I don't have any pain or tightness. Dry hands which I like. CS is very slight (slightly more on back and feet) but no problem at all considering results. Basically after just 1 week, im the same old me just without the blushing. Incredible! I hope it continues.
Day 3 So far so good. There is still some soreness in my chest and there is also a feeling of chest "tightness" which I suppose will go away with time. The skin on my upper chest is still completely numb. I am still in the hospital and will be getting discharged in a few hours. Last night after a cup of coffee I started to experience moderate CS on my feet. The episode lasted about 1 hour then stopped. This morning I had another cup of coffee and no sweating on my feet at all. Weird. Hands have remained warm and dry the whole time. Last night and this morning I was walking around the ward where I and all the other post surgery patients are held. I ran into a few groups of nurses and experienced what would of 100% been blushing episodes since I was put on the spot in front of a few females. NO BLUSHING. Not even a creeping feeling of a blush coming on. The anxiety associated with it has instantly lifted as well. I was able to walk around freely and had no problems being around groups of people. Regarding my mental status, I have been getting doses of pain medication every 6 hours or so. I believe the medication is causing some nausea or something along those lines because I still feel that mentally I am in a slight fog. It is hard to think clearly the way I used to...perhaps I am just distracted by the slight pain/tightness in my chest, the medication I'm taking, and am still overwhelmed by this whole experience. I believe i'll have to just go back home see how I feel once I'm back to my "baseline" lifestyle.
Day 2. This morning another Doctor who was finishing her fellowship in Thoracic Surgery and assisted Dr. Port for my case came to see me and see how i'm doing. I talked to her about the operation and she assured me that everything went good. I asked her about the clamps and she confirmed that they looked for them but they were nowhere to be found. The sympathetic chain at T2 was exposed where the clamp was applied but the clips just weren't on. Just like Dr. Port said I suppose they fell off on their own so that is much more reassuring to me to know they in fact aren't on. CS is non-existent right now. In fact, another unintended effect was dry, warm hands and feet. My hands and feet were always cool and mildly sweaty. It never bothered me and I only went for ETS to address facial blushing. But if it resolved hand and feet sweat then I'll happily take it. Mentally, I am still in a fog presumably because I am on pain medication, haven't eaten anything since Thursday, and am very sleep deprived. We'll see how this mental fog clears up once I am back home and off all meds. My upper chest is still completely numb. I forgot to ask the Fellow about this but it may be due to numbing medication they injected in my armpits since they had to put the drainage tubing in. Hopefully this wears off but it's really not that big of a deal if it doesn't. Best of all, I've had plenty of nurses and people coming into my room and no blushing. Not even anxiety about it. Those aren't real tests but when I get a real one I will report back.
Titanium I believe. Dr. Port said that the lungs can rub against them each time you breath and over time they can work themselves off. I'm not sure what he meant when he told me that he "couldn't see them". I mean they must of been right in the vicinity of where he was working. Odd way to phrase it I think.