Strong Independent Woman That Don’t Need No Armpits (Part 2)
The Tale of Dr. Quack
Editor's note: This post contains graphic images of Selina's armpits after her surgery.
If you’re reading this, then you probably read my first installment of Strong Independent Woman that Don’t Need No Armpits. Now, where were we? Ah yes, we left off at the part where I was stupid and refused to see any medical professionals. Three years went by of me living in constant pain and refusing to go to a doctor. At 22 years old, I could barely move my arms and I started getting pain just walking. Every step I took sent sharp shooting pain straight to my armpits and it was becoming unbearable.
I had numerous massive boils under both of my armpits and they started opening up and releasing a horrible discharge and odor. I was living in constant pain and now embarrassed because of the smell that was coming off of me. I carried around alcohol pads and would clean under my arms 5 times a day to try and eliminate the smell, but my flares just kept leaking and smelling. Every morning in the shower, I would spend 10 minutes just trying to painfully squeeze out all the discharge so maybe it wouldn’t be so much during the day. No matter how much I squeezed, there was still so much. I was growing more depressed the worse it got and I didn’t know what to do. I was so scared of seeing a doctor, but this was excruciating.
Time to see a doctor
I gave in and decided it was time to go to a doctor. Instead of going to another walk-in clinic, I wanted to try and see a dermatologist. Because of the insurance, I was under, I had to first get a referral from a primary care physician. I didn’t have a PCP at the time, so I just picked one that was close to my house.
Even though I was there just for my specific problem, the doctor demanded a full-body physical before even discussing with me why I was there. After the physical, the doctor looked at my armpits for two seconds and then said she was referring me to a general surgeon. When I asked about seeing a dermatologist, she said no and said I had to see a general surgeon. I was naïve and listened to her. I mean she’s a professional, right? She has to know what the problem is and send me to the proper doctor, right? NO. WRONG. SO WRONG. SO MUCH WRONG.
Seeing Dr. Quack
She sent me to a general surgeon that BUTCHERED my armpits. I like referring to him as Dr. Quack… because he was a complete quack! I had one appointment with Old Quacky before my surgery. During this appointment, he too looked at my armpits for 2 seconds and then said, “Ah yes, Hidradenitis Suppurativa. I can operate on this.”
The only positive I can say is that he’s the one that first said the name “Hidradenitis Suppurativa.” He didn’t tell me anything about it, but he said the name! He didn’t know how to make it fully stop, but he said the name! Baby steps, right?
Anywho, Dr. Quack butchered me and my pits. Remember how 22 year old Selina is naïve and listens to whatever the first doctor says? Well when he suggested doing surgery on both my armpits at the same time, naïve Selina thought, “Hey, why not?”
I CAN TELL YOU WHY NOT! BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO MOVE, THAT’S WHY NOT!
Nothing about the surgery went well
It took 4 tries for the nurse to get the IV in and the Quackster painfully shaved my armpits before I was even asleep! Since he also only looked at my armpits for 2 seconds during our one and only appointment, he didn’t realize how bad they actually were. He told my mother and boyfriend that the surgery would be 15 minutes... two hours later and I was still being operated on.
He said he didn’t realize how bad it was and it’s so good I came in because the infection started spreading towards my heart and could’ve turned into sepsis. Even though he acknowledged how bad it was, he refused to put me on antibiotics and only prescribed me Oxycodone.
After almost 2 months of my wounds not healing (because of the lack of antibiotics), he tried cauterizing the wounds to close them. When the pain was unbearable because my wounds weren’t healing and I asked for a refill of the pain medicine, he went, “do you really think you need more?” as if I was making the pain up.
That was my last experience with Old Quacky and things take a slightly better turn soon when I meet Dr. Homeboy!
How has your HS affected your relationships with friends and family?