Monday, December 13, 2010

Beauty

A friend shared this on my local ICAN and it really resonates with me.

"I just finished the book, "Little Bee", by Chris Cleave. It is about a Nigerian
refugee and an English woman. It is a great book. There were two very touching
paragraphs that made me think of my ICAN ladies, so I wanted to share them with
you. In this part, Little Bee, the Nigerian woman is in a detention center and
she is speaking to the reader:"

"On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do
those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and moons on your dress? I
thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here to please agree with
me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But
you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as
beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not
form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.

In a few breaths' time I will speak some sad words to you. But you must hear
them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another
beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know,
something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and she will turn around
and smile."

I know it's been a LONG time since I've updated about my scar progress, but I've been in a different place in my head. I promise to write more here soon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tips for Recovering


Here are some tips for healing immediately after the surgery.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 40

My scar today-
I'm sorry I've been completely ignoring this blog. I've been REALLY busy lately. Both with local activism (perhaps you heard about this? I was helping out.) and with committing myself to not being a lump, sitting on the couch all day. So, I've been away from my computer a lot more, doing more with my daughter, doing more in our new house, trying to be a more present person. During therapy I actually realized that being on the computer all day was a coping mechanism for me to not deal with my issues (be they from my c-section or my parents, friends, self, ect). I've realized that I hate being alone with my thoughts and that when I'm bored they start to drift to unpleasant memories that I've tried to hard to repress. I flash back to my c-section a lot when I'm bored. The one memory that I haven't repressed to the point of my other memories is that of Vala's birth. A part of me wants to forget all the horrible trauma that I went though, but I don't want to lose her first moments either. It's a definite struggle in my mind.
Anyway, I'm working hard with therapy to not feel broken. In fact, my new mantra is "I Am Not Broken.". I even made a t-shirt (I'll post pictures later). I realized that I've felt broken for most of my life. I grew up in the "sick" role of the family and just when I started crawling out from under that role around the time Nathan and I got married and I got pregnant, I had this disaster birth and it just threw me back into the mind set of "something must be wrong with me". Throw in all the emotional issues I've had with friendships and you've got a big ole pot of self doubt with a hearty pinch of self loathing. It's hard for me to see myself as a competent, functional human being and having every bit of control stripped away during my birth not only reinforced what I had felt about myself for so many years but also trampled any little bit of empowerment I had worked so hard to find in myself.
So, I'm working hard on my mind right now and seem to be focusing less on my physical scar. Actually, since it's covered with the silicone scar sheet most of the time I hardly have to look at it. I haven't been massaging it lately at all. I have started working with a chiropractor and massage therapist though, so hopefully I can kick my butt into gear about it. I see them again today and plan on asking for some DIY tips. My massage therapist actually mentioned something interesting last time that I want to do a whole post about. More on that later.
Physically, my scar seems to not be doing much. I'm on the third silicone scar sheet (week 5). I think it feels a bit smoother and there are parts that are starting to disappear but the colored portions are still angry looking to me. My husband thinks I should write to ScarAway and tell them their product isn't working because he can't notice a difference. I want to give it the rest of the 3 weeks until I cast any judgment.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 20

My scar this morning-
Massage is going much better since my great revelation the other day. I'm quite excited about that. Color and smoothness seem to still be improving.
I'm planning on doing a series of interviews with medical professionals about healing c-section scars (physical and emotional). I haven't contacted anyone but I have a few people in mind. Is there anyone you would like to see featured here?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Scar Massage Revalation

I just did two minutes of Mayan massage followed by two minutes of the technique I posted about yesterday and it's SO much easier to massage my scar A) after doing the Mayan massage and B) WITH the scar strip on. No icky feelings! I'm very excited about this since I've had a hard time with doing the massage.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 17

Here's my scar today-
My scar is feeling ok lately. I was able to massage it using the method I just posted about without too much trouble last night. I could only go for about 2 minutes before the icky feelings overwhelmed me. I get to start a new silicone strip. The first one did amazingly make it all two weeks without needing outside help to keep it on. I was pretty surprised about that. I thought for sure it would have fallen off with all the cat hair that had embedded in it. It's looking ok, no big changes other than generally being smoothing and a few more places turning to silver. I do think there will be major improvement by the time I'm done with the full 2 months wearing the strips.

DIY Scar Massage- Part 3

Here is some info on what I believe is myofascial release but could possibly be the Wurn technique, though I'm not familiar with Wurn.

"Scar tissue massage is not recommended during the first five to eight days after surgery, or if you have an infection, God forbid! The first week should be all about resting the abdominal area, and not overdoing anything, being careful to prevent movements that can comprise or pull on your scar. For the best success scar massage for c-sect should be performed within the first 14 weeks after surgery. But it is never too late to start the process.
Make sure the scar is not sensitive to the touch, to help desensitize the area place a warm washcloth over scar and lightly rub with fingertips for 1-2 minutes. Once you are able to touch the scar without sensitivity or pain you are ready to massage or use one of the taping products.
Scar massage is done very gently you don’t use a lot of pressure. First test to see if any area of the scar feels stuck to underlying tissue, place your thumb and index finger on opposite ends of the scar. Gently push your thumb and finger together. If your scar and skin make a rounded arch out away from your body, then outer layers of scar tissue are not adhered. If the scar looks more similar to an “M” with the center of the scar stuck and this forms an arch on either side, then you have scar tissue adhesions present. If you can’t lift the scar away from your body you may have areas of tissue adhesion or you could still be a little swollen from the surgery.
Next place your two index fingers perpendicular to each other and press gently as you push towards each other. You do this as you move along the scar.
Next place your fingers over the scar and gently move the scar in circles (clock-wise and counter clock-wise). Your fingers should not slide over the skin. This can help smooth out your scar. If one area feels more stuck than another, spend more time in the stuck area.
Next place your middle and index fingers perpendicular on the left side of the scar. Gently pull the scar up toward your head, and push it down toward to feet in a rhythmic manner. Hold ½ second or less in each direction. Move across the scar repeating the up and down motion, do not slide your fingers across the skin. Your fingers should move with the scar, again using very light pressure.
Next lightly grasp one end of the scar between your thumb and index finger. Gently lift scar away from body, separating it from the underlying tissue. Gently move your fingers side to side for 30 seconds. Move your fingers to the center of the scar, repeat technique and then move to the opposite end of the scar, and repeat." -From Massage A Mom

Friday, June 18, 2010

DIY Scar Massage- Part 2

I'm feeling under the weather right now, but I wanted to share this article that I scanned out of Mothering Magazine's March/April 2010 issue about how to preform Mayan massage on yourself-
 
Click the picture above for a larger image. Alternatively, you can read the full article which discusses the benefits of Mayan massage here. The article mainly discusses the benefits of Mayan massage pertaining to menstrual and fertility issues, but those are just the tip of the purported benefit iceberg. A more complete list of benefits and some more info is available here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 13

 My scar today-
I played around with my photo editing program (nothing fancy, just Picasa) to make my scar a little more lifelike. I feel like the pictures don't do my scar justice if that makes sense.
I kind of feel like doing a little art therapy by making my scar look how it feels to me. I'll see if I can get my husband to help me figure out how to do that. Otherwise, maybe I'll break out my easel and paint it. I haven't painted in ages.
I'm going to write later about Maya(n) massage, so stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 12

Here's my scar today-

The color is definitely changing though it seems darker in places and much lighter in places. Overall it seems very purple today.
The scar strip is really having trouble staying on. It's supposed to still be worn until this coming Sunday (2 weeks per strip), so I may have to resort to band aids to hold it on or something. I don't know if my problem is abnormal since I have a LOT of cats so I'm having cat hair issues with it.
I know I promised that I would be writing more, and I will, but I'm having trouble finding motivation right now. That's one of the big problems with PPD, it's hard to heal when you don't want to do much at all and talking about it is even harder.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Life gets in the way sometimes...

I'm sorry for the lack of posts lately. Things have been extra nutty around here. I'll be taking the day off today as well to get the house in order and recuperate from the weekend. I'll make it up to you, promise!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 8

Here's my scar today (pic taken standing up)-
I'm having a really busy couple of days so I won't be blogging much. Not too much change today. The silicone strip is starting to not adhere well, even after washing. I hope it can make another week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 7

My scar today-
My scar seems to developing places randomly that are improving in color while other places stay the same. I'm sure it will even out eventually.
I had a tough time yesterday touching it, lots of icky feelings. I found out that a massage therapist that is well known for c-section scar massage works at the chiropractor that I'm going to be going to and my insurance will cover it! I'm going to be asking her to show me how to do self massage and I'll write about it here.
Speaking of writing, I meant to write more yesterday but my husband had the day off so I spent time with him instead of being glued to my computer. I have a big list of things to do today, but if I can accomplish a good portion of it, I'll sit down and write a bit.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 6

My scar this morning-
 No big changes today, just a little smoother. It seems like the outer parts are starting to blend. It still feels very rope like though. I haven't been that good about massage. I hardly touched it yesterday at all. I feel like I have some emotional hurdles before I can really be comfortable touching it. I didn't get a chance to call insurance about a massage therapist, but I will make it a priority today.
I'm planning on writing quite a bit later, I'm thinking I'll do a post about more methods to heal physically and possibly a post about postpartum body image. We'll see how the day pans out.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 5

 My scar today-
(Sorry this isn't the best pic, Vala is being clingy and insists on nursing every time I take out my phone to snap a pic) 
It’s looking really good today. It seems smoother and softer. The color is still in the process of changing. I did get a weird attack of itchiness last night, but it went away faster than it usually does when it gets itchy. I’m noticing that the edges of the strip are starting to not adhere well, so I guess I need to wash it. I’ve been wearing the strip for the maximum time possible and just taking it off for baths and to massage my scar/take pics.
Massaging isn’t going as well as I want it to. I need to kick my butt into gear about that. Even if the scar ‘looks’ good from the outside it won’t be truly healed until I help that scar tissue break up. My husband and I have been trying to conceive number two for a while now and I’m a little worried about the pain resulting from scar tissue stretching again. I feel like it might be worth it to look into a massage therapist for this. I wonder if my insurance would cover that…I guess I’ll add that to my list of questions that I need to call about.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 4

My scar today (please note that I just realized that I've been putting the wrong time on the scar a day pics...those occurred at 12 months 2 weeks)-
My scar today seems miraculously smaller. It's just over 4 inches now instead of the 5 inches that I started with only 4 days ago (and only 1 1/2 days of wearing the silicone strip). I'm REALLY surprised by this result. It also feels much softer and the color has changed a bit. *I have a theory about the size. I think I may have been a bit bloated when I started the pictures, so that could explain the shrinkage.

I forgot that I was wearing the strip yesterday until about halfway into my bath (which should be a testament to how comfortable it is...or possibly how sleep deprived I am) and was convinced that I ruined the strip. Nope. Just had to let it dry off and it was good to go again. I was worried the soap in my bath would affect the stickiness, but it's held tight, even after a long night of tossing and turning (I hurt my back last night).
I'm super excited to see more improvement!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Meet My Scar- Day 3

Here is my scar this morning-

Yesterday I managed to massage my scar for my blog post and I intended to massage it again in the shower, but I got distracted by a slippery toddler. Maybe today? We’ll see. I also discovered that my vitamin C got exposed to moisture and is now kaput. So, I’ll have to pick up some new supplements next time I’m out. I did however receive my silicone scar sheets and applied one last night (read my post here for more details). So far so good with that. Massaging this morning went well (slight feelings of ickiness and a little soreness) but was cut short by a grouchy, teething toddler who fell on her butt while trying to chase the cat. Such is the life of a mom! I’ll try to get some more time in later.
No noticeable changes due to the scar sheet yet, though it did feel nicely moisturized when I removed it.

ScarAway C-Section Scar Treatment Strips


*This is not a paid review. I will be brutally honest with my experience with these. 
I posted yesterday that I would be starting to use the silicone strips when they arrived sometime next week (I ordered them on Wednesday), well it turns out that shipping is crazy fast! I got them yesterday and put one on last night. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

DIY Scar Massage- Part 1

In this first installment of DIY Scar Massage, I'll be focusing on how to perform lubricated massage on your c-section scar.



Scar Tissue and Adhesions and Pain, Oh My!

You've all heard the expression "know thine enemy"? Well, scar tissue and adhesions are on my personal most wanted list (er, most UNwanted list that is). Let's take a look at the basics so we can better understand how to defeat them.

Meet My Scar- Day 2

Here is my scar this morning. 
I anticipate that there will be little change to be seen in the pictures for a while since I’ve just starting the process of healing. I took this picture standing so you could see the difference between this and the picture from yesterday (which was taken lying down). When I stand, the left side sucks in at one point and the skin above the scar hangs loosely, framed with slivery stretch marks. It used to be worse, but since I’ve somehow been able to lose all of the baby weight plus some, it doesn’t hang as badly as it did and the angry, redness of my stretch marks has faded. I’ll be writing more later on postpartum bodies and how they can change. You can also see how the scar slants upward on one side more clearly from this picture.
I have to be honest. I didn’t do anything yesterday to my scar. I got preoccupied hanging out with friends. Maybe I should set an alarm? At any rate, I didn’t even remember to take the vitamin C.
Hold on, I’ll massage it now…
Ok, done. I couldn’t find my EPO, so I used vitamin E oil. I noticed that using oil definitely made touching it easier. My oil was stored with some jasmine essential oil which is my favorite smell, so perhaps I should look into aromatherapy to help with relaxing during difficult treatments. I found that the adhesions on the left side are more prominent than the knot on the right. I was able to massage for about 3 minutes before the oil started to absorb and the friction made me feel icky. The feeling that I’m terming “icky”, I would describe as a tingling numbness that builds into nausea and contributes to increased negative emotions. It’s so hard to describe. 
I will be writing later today on techniques using lubricated massage for scar healing.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Power of Words and the Best of Intentions

I know I said I wasn’t going to write about the emotional aspects of healing yet, but it seems this crazy roller coaster of recovery does make some loops.

Methods for Healing Cesarean Scars and My Game Plan

There are many, many ways to speed healing of the physical scars left by cesarean section. I'm going to try to list as many as I can find here and outline my own game plan for physical healing. If there is anything that I left out, please feel free to tell me in the comments! I will be discussing the various methods in their own posts at a later date.

Meet My Scar- Day 1


My scar- 

This is how it has been for months now (though seeing it now on my laptop screen and not in the mirror, I realize that it's not as horrible as I thought it was). I didn’t have any infection or major issues other than generally just healing after being nearly cut in half. My scar is still red though it’s mostly purple now and is slowly turning silver and shiny. It's almost exactly 5 inches long. It’s rope like with lumps along it’s span finishing with a sizeable adhesion where the OB tied his knot. It slants to the left, as if it’s the OB’s signature. It itches constantly. It’s numb and strangely tingly.  I have painful electrical surges as my nerves try to reconnect. I feel nauseous when I touch it and even worse when my husband does. The sight of it in the mirror is enough to make me cry most days and always flashes me right back to the surgery and feelings of helplessness and visuals of my blood in the overhead instruments and the smell of my flesh burning and the sound of the OB humming. 
I am starting a regimen of physical healing techniques that I will be blogging about including using a silicone scar sheet, massage and supplementation. I will be posting about each of these things in more detail and information on how you could use such techniques to help your scar(s). Please note that I am not a medical professional and am merely posting my experience to information I was able to glean from the internet and books. Always discuss treatment options with your care provider.

Buckle your safety belts, this is going to be a bumpy ride!

This is one of the many first steps that I'm taking on my road to recovering from my c-section. I intend to blog about my experiences healing my scars, physically and emotionally and offer support to those on similar paths.