Tangled Web

Deceptions of a transgender guy


Me, the iguana


I am sharing my experience after my adrenaline-hyped top surgery revision here, in case it might help somebody. Forewarned is forearmed. Unless you want to change species, that is.

After my revision, which I chronicled in my last post, I faithfully redressed my new cuts and taped up the dressing with micropore. About the third day, I started feeling itchy around the wounds and thought it a sign of healing, but the itching became worse. I had to return to the surgery within seven days and on the seventh day, the day of the scheduled visit, I left the wounds open. They were sufficiently healed and by then I suspected the micropore tape to be the cause of the itching.

My appointment was for 15:00 and I sat through a morning meeting that lasted three hours, becoming more and more aware of a painful reaction across my chest. I ascribed it to having driven my car again that morning after a few days of being chauffeured around, but I could not do a visual inspection – imagine me halting the meeting for a quick check under my shirt.

Back in my office, I checked the situation and found red patches of skin all along the underside of the cuts. As the afternoon progressed, these patches started burning until I was in agony, but there was nothing I could do but wait it out till my appointment.

The nurse took one look and reminded me of the allergic reaction I had after my top surgery, but as that was along my shoulders and the back of my neck, nowhere near the wounds, the surgeon suspected an allergy to something used in theater at that time. I did not connect the two reactions. After the nurse rubbed some soothing bio oil on the red patches, I assured her I still had some of the ointment that helped clear up the allergy the last time and I rushed home to apply it.

Instant relief. The burning and pain was gone, with no more itching. I am now left with some scaly patches of skin, which will clear up soon. At least before I turn into a reptile, I hope.

Apparently the micropore tape caused an induction phase after the first surgery, which primed and sensitized my immune system for an allergic response, and this revision dressing taping caused the elicitation phase, in which this response was triggered far more quickly. Thanks for that nugget of information, Dr WebMD.

So skin has a memory too. Once the immune system registers the allergen, the recognition is permanent. A lot more than  what I can say for my own grey cells…


Author: Kris

Hi! I'm Kris. I live in South Africa with my life partner of 27+ years, whom I call B or Madam in my posts. We have a Pug dog child, Remi, also known as Pooch, who has graced and enriched our lives for the past 12 years.

11 thoughts on “Me, the iguana

  1. I feel with you. I have a sensitive skin that react to band aids, tape, sun and dries out if I shower more than twice a week. Flaky, scaly and itchy!


  2. I react to those nasty sticky-ing strips too … glad to hear all is well. 🙂


  3. Now my chest and underarms are itching sympathetically. Hope the Caladryl works and that your wounds heal up quickly. I think of you more like the wolf than the iguana.


    • I sincerely hope it stays with itching, Jamie. Would not want to cause sympathy pain! The Caladryl is now part of the home first aid kit, of which the contents are multiplying as the years go by. As it is early winter here, I think the wolf’s pelt is more appealing than the iguana. Take care and paw bump to Gracie from Remi.

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  4. I’m super sensitive to tape too and have all kinds of itchy red patches on my body at the moment. Some are a bit scaley too. I guess we’re in similar boats. I can empathize. What did you put on them to heal up?


    • Hi, scaly friend! I used Caladryl, an over the counter ointment. It has Dipenhydramine HCl 10 mg and Calamine 84,11 mg. That means absolutely nothing to me! It has a campher warning too. I googled “allergic contact dermatitis” and got various treatment advice. Take care, Shawn.


  5. Pffft. Lucky you. 😦