Keloids, Oedema & Back on Two Feet (9-15 March)

A Life in Words
Finally, here’s a (poor quality) photo of my original scar in all its Glory. Unfortunately, we’d never thought of taking photos at any other time so this is the earliest I have. (Damned shame we didn’t get any pics of the raw wound.) The large red rectangle at the top of the photo is where the surgeon took the skin for the graft and directly below it is the ‘meat pie’ hole to which they grafted it …around which, incidentally, you can see the horrid suture marks from the first job by the surgeons botched. The scar directly under my finger is, I assume, where I was impaled by the metal which I yelled at the rescue worker to “just fucking rip …out”.

Monday 9/3/87

Did I tell you I’m 60kg again? Well, I was measured yesterday. Oh, and by the way, Mark’s shitty with me again. I said something about all I need is Jemima & Fiona as friends & he (taking I didn’t need him) said he’d never talk to me again, no matter what I said or did. So he’s shitty with me. I s’pose I can expect another goodbye letter perhaps in Wednesday’s mail? Oh well. My appointment was the major news of the day, originally (god its hot) He (the dr.) said it’s excellent. Looks a bit “gooby” to me …but I’M ALLOWED TO WALK AND GO OUT ETC!! WOWEE! That’s what I was waiting to hear. Back at school next Monday YAY!! Although, I dunno; if Mark’s so shitty. I’ve been slowly trying to straighten my leg. IT IS SO HARD. I haven’t yet. WOWEE!!

Tuesday 10/3/87

Hope I sleep better tonight – the last few nights have been terrible – I keep waking. Oooooh! I am doing SO well! I can straighten my leg almost completely back, now & can put most my weight on it for a few secs. And I’m so proud. [Good!] At this rate, maybe I will be walking by the (or for the) weekend! Sandra W rang me this arvy -said Mark understands what I meant’s just he’s upset that I spend more time with my friends at school, than him [what? you haven’t been at school for all bar 3 days of the school term so far…?] (it really matters to him.. he does care) I thought he might ring tonight but no. Oh well. Went & saw nana today. Well & good. . . (boring visit) [oh, to have had hindsight…] also Jo & Mike rang. A Life in WordsThey’re counting the days til they come up. I did no schoolwork this morning again. Justine & Mrs Mac came this arvy, as they left, mima & polly came. Yru gave Julia an enormous leaf of aloe vera to give to me. I haven’t been putting anything on my scars lately UMAH! [I can be ‘religious’ about certain things (obviously!) but it seems treating my scarring was not one of them. I have very soft skin which is a blessing but the trade-off  seems to be that I scar badly: hypertrophic-keloid scars are reddish, raised lumps (you can easily spot them in the photo of my leg above) which thankfully often fade and flatten out over time, but never disappear, unfortunately. While not yet fully understood, keloid scarring seems to result from excessive collagen in the wound healing process; one of my doctors gave me the impression it’s as if your body heals over-zealously?!] mmm… hot, yes. Rain? yes. pimples? Yes – going away? Yes (I hope) Mark – I love you? YES!

A Life in Words
Cairns Post, Wednesday 11 March 1987
Since its completion a decade later, the memorial has been everything our great principal desired.

Wednesday 11/3/87

Mr P [Monique’s father] rang this arvy..sounds so ‘tired’ and ‘weak’ ..Mrs P will not be back for another 2 weeks or so. No call from Mark (of course). Nor any mail. I wrote him a letter which I’ll post tomorrow. Hope it doesn’t sound silly. GUESS WHAT? I CAN WALK WITHOUT CRUTCHES!!!! UNREAL, HUH?! After only 2 days – I can let go and (hobble, limp) walk ’round! (Today I went to Earlville with mum – did shopping but I took crutches – needed them – got tired easily. Oooh runny nose. (Fi & mim came round this arvy, too.) I actually read my novel today (although that was the only schoolwork I did) And didn’t have a bath tonight – just ran out of time. [ew!] Rainy again – but cooler today at times. I slept rather well last night!! Oh, I wish Mark’d ring or something I wish he’d talk to me. Oh I love you. Don’t treat me this way.. PLEASE!!

Thursday 12/3/87

Well, I’m doin’ good . . . walking’ (limpin’ really!!) round! Mum woke me early Dropped Jules at school (went past the seniors – saw him) then we waited an hour or so before we went in. . .took off the dressing. I think doctor Clark was pleased I could walk… I asked questions – they were answered [I’d love to know what I asked…] – nothing to worry about (physically, anyway; I didn’t send the letter to Mark, or even give it to Jules to give to him – will tomorrow – damn, I forgot to re-write it.) Read my play today so .. that’s it. I’ll have to do some solid work tomorrow: MUST. Am going to the movies 2morrow nite with Fi & Jules! Hey, hey! Gonna ask mark (if I get that letter re-written. Shaved me legs 2nite & armpits – didun wanna but had to. [I preferred waxing… but that must have been too large a feat for me to accomplish, somehow?] Ankle looks absolutely revolting – fat (swollen) Leg a bit sore from using it lots I think – it’s looking even better today- I can’t believe it! mm rain, though! Fi came down ‘S’ arvy→ ambulance man dropped off some videos drove to fi’s & Watched them. BORING seen before! [I’m guessing they were a collection of news clips/footage that, like everyone, I’d’ve seen repeatedly over the past month.] Oh neckache.

Friday 13/3/87

A Life in Words
This isn’t my ankle, but it could have looked very similar…

Today (not bad luck – much) I took my first WALK. I mean WALK, NOT LIMP!! Fantastic! (And I had a shower, standing all the time!) [I think I can vaguely remember this feeling: the uncertainty of pressing down into my foot was dwarfed by confidence and the knowledge that it was okay to do this, after the doctor’s positivity yesterday. Oh yes, it felt really good!] This morning I hurried a new letter to Mark .. to give to Jules to give to Fiona to give to him. But, we didn’t go to the movies tonight after all – Fi wants to invite mima, tomorrow night (she works 2nite) & even if mima can’t come we’ll still go. So, (Fi was convinced he’d ring me – he didn’t) if he went, we wouldn’t’ve been there – he’ll be even angrier. And if he didn’t go, it means (he didn’t ring) that he doesn’t care. Oh shit. I need you to contact me, Mark. Please, please God, let things be the way they were before the crash. It’s not fair. My life’s the pits. My ankle’s so ugly & fat (swollen) [I failed to understand that my entire leg had been blown up like a balloon during the accident, so the elasticity in the entire appendage (not just the dermis) would have been incredibly tested and it would take some time for it to return to somewhere near normal (thank God I was young and still growing). The fact is, my right leg would never be the same size as its counterpart again: even after a night’s rest, my right lower leg is always 1-1.5cm thicker in circumference than the left.] Beka (came round this arvy) said hers took awhile to go down. [I think she had had a sprained ankle. A somewhat different injury (!) but wonderfully supportive of her.] GREAT. But I walked today that’s something right? [Yes.] And I did some work. And Trina dropped over my negatives & photocopies of photos of Monique. And I sunbaked (towel over my legs so I don’t get a mark from the bandage) & get this – got burnt slightly after only 15 minutes! [Ah the FNQ sun: it cooks you quick!] OH MARK. PLEASE RING ME or come over.

Saturday 14/3/87

No phone calls from Mark, today, let alone a visit. Hope, really hope he didn’t go Friday night..he’d be so shitty (so much more shitty) with me. I rang Fi twice ..3rd time lucky. Mima might not be going tonight – depends whether she gets her schoolwork done or not (speaking of which, I did none) I danced today! (Not really physically jolting- just “bopping” around! I spent most the day writting out the major things that’d happened in the weeks past .. ready to do up my scrapbook. Fiona’s late!!’s 7:20 – movie Jumpin Jack Flash starts at 7:30. Oh Mark, stuff you. (Told Fi, she said she’d ring him tomorrow for me. She’d really expected him to ring me last night.) NO VISITORS today Rather boring day ‘But Jeez, my ankle’s gone down! (I spent ½hr or so in the sun again today – just head & shoulders..wanna bleach my hair. where’s the lemon juice?)A Life in Words [After 4 weeks in hospital my hair had darkened considerably… and as a natural blonde this was displeasing to me. We used lemon juice whenever we could but I don’t know how well it actually worked…] tell you ’bout the movie tomorrow. My ankle – I can’t believe how much it went down, after putting it under a pillow last night. [yeah. I’m sure I meant the pillow was under my leg, not vice versa…] UNBELIEVABLE! Dad & Jenny came over today – this arvy. Amazed at me walking

Sunday 15/3/87

I’m not so worried about school, even though I got bad news from Fi tonight (well..not good .. not bad(??)) I’ll probly get the nerves tomorrow. See, he & Steven & Cameron & Keith were going to see the Stroopers, so they went to Fi’s …she tried talking to him, but he didn’t say “anything”. (At one stage she said “I was going to call you tonight” & he said “why don’t you tell her you rang but I wasn’t home?” Nice, huh? What’m’ I s’posed to think of that? KNOWing me- the worst. [Well, it’s hardly inspiring…] He hates me. But he can’t. I couldn’t accept that.) Wonder what’ll happen at school? (Today I did chem. & nothing much else – a bit of art) I was going to rest my foot as much as possible today so it wouldn’t hurt for school tomorrow… know what happened? (It’d gone down even more this morning (not much more) but more) It swelled right up again. [A perfect example of what happens when sitting for too long… unless elevated of course, which I doubt I would have been continuing now that I was almost ‘back to normal’…] NO visitors of course. Esp. not mark even though they were in the area. It’s too much to ask. Oh I’m nervous. Angela R. rang tonite – is coming over wednesday arvy. Oooh.. I’m worried. I’m hurt. His song’s on the radio now Miracle of Love. [Hmm, don’t remember that. But I still like the song. Check it out below…] SHIT it’s NOT FAIR.


2 thoughts on “Keloids, Oedema & Back on Two Feet (9-15 March)

  1. I just wanted to write and thank you for sharing your experiences and I hope it has been cathartic for you. I was in year 6 at Balaclava at the time and I will never forget the sounds of the ambulances going by that terrible afternoon. The crash touched the lives of the whole Cairns community. I have devoured your online diaries and it brings back so many memories of Cairns, being a teenager and the associated teenage angst. Please keep posting. What a wonderful thing you are doing. I wish you nothing but the best and once again, thank you xx


    1. It feels strange to say it’s my “pleasure” …but it is. Because it is cathartic. I began transcribing my diaries when my mum passed away, for a number of particular reasons, but have discovered so many more along the way. In transcribing I am keeping my mum alive, and in re-living everything – I am not getting ‘stuck’ in the past, rather than learning from it. Looking back – with such detail – cannot do anything but emphasise how far you have come, how much you have changed over time. Thank you for expressing your appreciation, Carrie. I can promise you this will not be ending anytime soon, since 1987 is still the most notable year of my life to date! xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s