Be patient with your stretches.
I recently got a MRSA infection in my earlobe. I was at 10mm at the time but my right ear was being stubborn with a double flared tunnel so I was a little rough with getting it in - as far as I know, shoving the tunnel in created a tiny tear on the inside that allowed the bacteria in.
The first picture (top left) is when it started to bother me. Swollen, tender, and the entire area around the back of my ear was constantly red. The next picture (top right) was taken a few weeks later, when my lymph node started to swell - that’s the lump underneath the ear. The infection entered my bloodstream and made me very sick. I was convinced I was going to die. I was on the strongest antibiotics available but nothing was working. I was completely drained of all energy and my entire body was in pain.
The third picture (bottom left) is a few nights before I went to the emergency room to get it taken out. My ear had completely swollen around the tunnel and it was completely stuck in my ear. I was in extreme pain at this point and I couldn’t go 5 minutes without having to clean pus/lymph/blood off my neck. I ended up in the ER with 6 needles in my face and neck to numb the area before a doctor and a surgeon wrenched it out with clamps. It was an absolutely horrific experience. The flesh inside my earlobe had begun to die at that point.
The 4th picture (bottom middle) is my ear a few days after having the tunnel pulled out. You can see immediately that it is much less swollen. It wept for about a week afterwards but there was no way the infection would have healed if I hadn’t gotten the tunnel taken out. At this point it was no longer painful, just gross. The last picture is what it looks like tonight, a month later. Still a little messed up but far better than losing my earlobe entirely - or dying from septic shock, all because I was a little impatient.
These pictures don’t come close to fully illustrating just how horrific and draining this whole experience was. Please stretch safely.