Will try to keep this short, as I have wet hair that needs drying, late at night.
I've had to sleep a lot the past few weeks, as I've had the flu then recovered from that, then had surgery. Still recovering from that. I'm still on track though to self-publish my memoir by mid-September, even though I had a break from it.
This part might be a bit graphic, so skip this part if you're squeamish. I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a form of skin cancer, after a biopsy. It just looked like a non-pigmented drop of wax above my lip, hardly noticeable in selfies and on video.
After a six-month wait for semi-urgent surgery, I finally had surgery on my upper lip three days ago.
I had to travel to the city for it and a family member took me, as it was early in the morning and I was still half-asleep from my sedating medications. The surgeon said he would probably take at least 8mm (0.31 in) from the top of my lip, as part of the 'wedge excision', through all three layers of tissue (to the inside of my mouth), so that it would lay fairly flat.
He said he would be cutting through a nerve, which may make some of my face numb.
I was conscious for the surgery, done under a local. I was still very drowsy, and averse to the bright lights, so got onto the operation table with my eyes closed. My other senses were on hyperalert though, even though I was very still (which is what the surgeon wanted).
The injections to anaethetise the area felt like bee stings. Then a delay while that kicked in. Then the awful bit. I could hear, smell, taste everything. Hear what the surgeon etc said. Hear the static sound of the cautising tool, smell the burning of flesh, taste blood. The surgeon said to his assistant to suction the blood out of my mouth (like a dentist assistant suctions saliva).
He said he took a 'wedge excision' (like a slice of pizza). At least 20 stitches, with 7 external and the rest dissolving.
It was over and done with in less than an hour. Currently have a near vertical wound, around 2.5cm (1 inch) which should fade to a scar.
Recovering from surgery
Not sure if it's from internalising the stress plus the side-effects of the pain and anti-inflammatory meds but I was exhausted and slept a lot.
The mouth is a horrible area as need to move to eat, drink, swallow medications, clean teeth, talk.
I've taken a full week off my part-time job to recover. Partly because I don't want to be in public when I look like I've been in a bar-fight. My entire lip swelled up, like those people who inject their lips with fillers. My cheek is swollen a bit too. I've been using ice-packs and the swelling is starting to ease.
My friends who have had similar surgeries say the scars will fade. I can't wait to get the stitches out, as eating has been a mission as I can't fully open my mouth, plus it hurts too. I can't make certain mouth shapes, such as spitting out toothpaste. I can't brush my teeth properly.
I ordered myself a Mandala dot painting kit. It was quite inexpensive and had large and medium acrylic dotting tools, smaller metal dotting tools, stencils and square black card.
It's been something very low key to do, requiring not much cognitive thought or effort. It's also a temporary distraction from pain and discomfort. My dots are pretty messy but it's still meditative.
I added the blue dots as the red kind of looked like drops of blood (not sure if I was processing the surgery, there).
A tip I read and tried was to add some flow-aid to the paint to get cleaner, rounder dots. I also painted a few rocks.
When I was a little less tired, I proof-read my manuscript. I recommend printing out your manuscript, as there's a lot that can be missed in the digital version. I am marking it up in red, to painstakingly go through an update.
I've also noticed I use hyphens a lot and I'm not confident they should be used or not. Grammar and spelling apps gave me conflicting results eg for 'rollercoaster' vs 'roller-coaster'. So I've gone through and looked every one I'm not sure about up. If there's still errors, you can't say I didn't try my best.
I've just slept and rested a lot. I haven't been able to eat as much as usual, with a sore mouth, so I've had some smoothies with some protein powder, fruit etc. Also trying to drink enough water.
Today and yesterday, I went for a little walk. Mainly to maintain my mental health.
Book finishing touches
On a nice, sunny day, I redid the photography for my book cover (from a collage of cut-up art). I haven't gotten around to actually doing the layout. I intend to do that within the next few weeks.
I have two more out of 32 chapters to mark up. Then transfer any alterations to my manuscript (that should take me all of this week).
I will apply for my IBSN's at the beginning of September. They're free in New Zealand and I think it's best to have your own (unless you don't mind being tied to a distributor).
I'll need to state them in the front of my books, then do the formatting for e-book (which is different from the print-on-demand book). My memoir is called Bipolar Courage: Are You Sure You're Not Autistic? My psychologist recently skim-read it (she's protective of me), and she couldn't put it down.
I've tried to avoid mention of politics as much as possible, yet some politics about diagnosis is mentioned, in story-telling form. The memoir is about some of the behind-the-scenes drama during the advocacy journey (as Bipolar Courage). With focus on a complicated friendship with and autistic man.
Anyway, it's nearly 11pm, so I will go dry my hair, make a smoothie, then head to bed.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.