Day +1517: Hold your head up, hold your head up…

Day +1“Hold your head up, hold your head high
And if they stare
Just let them burn their eyes on you moving
And if they shout
Don’t let them change a thing what you’re doing.”

1/24/2015: The tag line came to mind while Michael was tending to my neck yesterday, repeatedly chiding me to “Hold your head Recliner Sleepup.” It thus occurred to me that I should do a post-surgery blog update. I mostly stay positive but am moody some days and will remain nervous about any possible negative aftereffects until everything heals fully.

As you know if you read Michael’s last post, I had neck surgery on January 16th to clean up the long-term internal scarring and fibrotic tissue from my 2012 bilateral neck dissection and subsequent lymphedema. Although I had it done for medical rather than cosmetic reasons, the procedure was essentially a neck lift so I have cosmetic benefits as well.

It’s funny, my neck looked best the first day after my surgery – neatly stitched incisions, no visible bruising, beautifully
smooth and well defined chin line, little swelling. Tylenol remedied the soreness by day and 5 mg. of Oxycodone worked great at night. I didn’t need any pain medication after the first few days. I’ve worn a “jaw bra” (compression mask) all week and slept in my recliner to help prevent swelling.

As the week progressed, the bruising made its way to the surface and my neck turned faint shades of red, purple, and yellow. Still, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated. When the bit of swelling went down, my chin wasn’t as smooth, and some of the fluid seemed to be returning. Towards the end of the week, the stitches became irritated and the scars bright red. I was very happy to get my stitches removed on January 23rd. I wished Dr. Boahene had used glue instead like Dr. Gourin did with my 2012 surgery. As far as I know, sutures and surgical glue are equally effective; it’s more a matter of surgeon’s preference. Anyway, the redness is fading now, and the holes from the stitches are hardly visible.
Healing is progressing faster than I expected. In another week, I’ll start using silicon strips that look like cloth Band-Aids on the scars. I used them before, and they work great to fade and soften the scar tissue.

I had to skip my UVA1 phototherapy last week and am waiting to hear from my doctors whether I can resume treatments this week. My shoulders are doing surprisingly well, possibly because I move around less sleeping in the chair instead of the bed. My tossing and turning at night bothers the skin GVHD spots on my back and shoulders.

Guess that’s all for now. Once again, life is good and I’m happy to be alive. Michael and I hope our readers are doing well. We’re sending extra healing thoughts out to Mike and Deb.

Tag Lines

  • Day +1492: Pompeii, Bastille (IDed by Cathy)
  • Day +1492: Just Another Day, Caitlin Crosby (IDed by Cathy)
  • Day +1492: Disturbia, Rihanna (IDed by Cathy)
  • Day +1492: Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off, Joe Nichols (IDed by Cathy)
  • Day +1492: Take Me to Church, Hozier (IDed by Cathy)
  • Day +1492: Radar Love, Golden Earring (IDed by Cathy)
  • Day +1492: “My God, I’ve heard a rant like this before,” quote from the film, Dogma (IDed by Cathy)
  • Day +1508: The Final Cut, Pink Floyd (No one IDed)

Cathy is a superstar! Thank you for taking the time and effort to identify seven out of eight!


  1. SO GLAD YOU are doing GREAT!!!

    The incision looks wonderful!


  2. GREAT NEWS!! I’m so happy you are doing well! Hugs Lori

  3. Wonderful news on the progress you have made since the surgery!!! Thanks for sharing your story in words and pictures 🙂 We also appreciate the healing thoughts, they are working.

    What a difference a week or two can make!

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