STITCH INFECTION REVISITED

Infected sutures from my prior surgeries are creating a complication today.

My next surgery happens tomorrow morning.

Let’s back up.

The 3 weeks of antibiotics prescribed to me took care of the infection in my hernia area for a few days. Then it came back. GRRR! Well, I had to expect it would happen that way, as it was foreseen by the fates. So, less than a week after the antibiotics ended, a pimple formed where an old one was. Then over time a redness appeared in the hernia scar itself and grew to a large pimple and opened up again. Ok, we’ve got to take care of this. Now.

My hernia surgeon is not on my new insurance plan, so I scheduled consultations with two alternate surgeons to get their opinions. Their opinions were in agreement on the approach to clean out the sutures and mesh from the hernia repair, thank goodness, and I scheduled a procedure for tomorrow! Rest assured, it should be a minor procedure. My surgeon wants to put me under, so he can really get under the skin and make sure he understands the problem and gets rid of all infected material. Ok, I don’t really want to be aware during that. Very likely that he won’t replace the mesh.

The hernia may not come back, but it could. It could come back tomorrow or it could come back any time in the future. Then it can be repaired – again – at that time. But tomorrow it will be an in-and-out procedure. I will come out of OR (the operating room), then once my vitals prove stable I can go home, probably mid-afternoon, then back to business the next day. Ok, I can deal with that.

The surgeon who provided the second opinion cautioned, a full fix on this hernia could take “a while”. Yeah, I kind of figured. It’s quite amazing how complicated these hernias can be to fix. You could have a handful of surgeons review the same situation, and have a handful very different opinions on how to fix it. There are lots of material and technological options for surgeons to use, and there are a lot of body types among patients. Every patient will respond differently to a chosen treatment.

So, it seems to be a moving target.

Wishes of luck will be appreciated! I will update here once I am out.

STITCH INFECTION

From a gastrointestinal hold-up to… a stitch infection?

By Friday I was on the phone with the doctor again, the skin had turned red with a burning soreness from which I could not escape. She said the stitches need to come out. My next appointment with her wasn’t for five more days, so she called in a prescription for antibiotics, and said, if it doesn’t get better, she will meet me over the weekend to remove the stitches. At that moment, all I wanted was pain relief, so I began the antibiotics… along with more Ibuprofen.

By the next day I felt somewhat relieved, so Saturday was just a regular day at home; resting, reading, cooking, chores… By evening Matt and I were preparing dinner, and we were working out a disagreement. Matt was feeling I have been inattentive recently toward him, and I pointed out that I have not expressed to him how much pain and discomfort I have been tolerating, nor my secret concerns that my health would get worse before getting better.

Matt suddenly looked at my stomach intently and asked, “What’s that wet spot on your shirt?” Immediately I thought, Oh no, what now? I lifted my shirt and from the reddened skin and stitches oozed a mucous substance.

Oh my poor body!

As with so many times before, I had no idea what to make of this. Both Matt and I have been feeling worn out from these mysterious and worrisome episodes. Matt’s expression had softened and now showed severe concern. He got up and wetted a tissue with alcohol and rubbed the fluid away from my stitches. I vowed to call Dr. Childs the next morning.

After communicating the symptoms over the phone, Dr. Childs gave two options, I could drive in and have the stitches removed immediately (she was already at the office on a Sunday morning), or since it was not an emergency, I could wait and drive in Monday morning. I said, “I’ll come in now,” thank you. Yeah, let’s get this dun!

The good news is, Dr. Childs confirmed that the fluid was draining “as it should”, this happens, not to everybody, but is very common with soft tissue surgeries. The seroma, as it is termed, will have to drain and heal on it’s own time.

Whew! Stitches out, seroma relieved. Now I have a patch on my belly that absorbs seroma fluid. Because gauze pads are expensive, the doctor recommended feminine mini-pads will work just as well at a lower price. So be it, a mini-pad on my abdomen and daily flushing with a syringe of water (yuck!) will do just fine.

Today: Relief = comfort = concentration = happy Michelle = happy Matt!

mini-pad-feminine

GRADUATION!!! NO MORE CHEMO!!!!

Celebrating a Milestone

Friday was the last day of radiation and of chemo treatments!!! I’m so thrilled I no longer have to plan day trips into the city to be at the radiation lab, and have fewer pills in the daily pill orchestration, which this last six weeks had become a lifestyle of necessity. Matt & I were able to have some fun on our trips, but are both glad to be back in control of our daily schedule. And now I get to heal!

I decided yesterday at my exit appointment with my radiation oncologist that I DO have a yeast infection, and therefore will need to begin antibiotics. So, after our appointment, I was sent upstairs to the diagnostic lab to submit a urine sample to verify the infection.

I had thought that I would be free, like a student who finished exams, and could now enjoy summer vacation. Instead, after my exams, I’ve been told I have some credits to make up. At least the infection waited until the end of the treatments, otherwise I would have been given time off to heal, then come back and finish treatments, and I just wanted it to be done!

So my bum is sunburned, anus swollen, poos are like formed kitty litter (what is that all about??), and crotch is brutally sore and itchy. Now I am starting to feel relief, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It will be 1 ½-2 weeks before normalcy.

The next week is all about the three R’s: Reading, wRiting and Relaxation. Until my parents arrive!

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