Sunday, September 28, 2008

Infected Port is Out and I am in PAIN


Look at how red this is. For being under your skin, it should not look like this. (Forced smile before surgery)

Surgery socks, ugly gown and my 24 dvd. How I got through surgery day.

No more port
I made an appointment with a surgeon to look at my infected port yesterday. It was getting really bad. It was bright red. Puss was oozing out of it so much I had to bandage it up unless I wanted to ruin every shirt I wore this week. The skin on top of the port was peeling off (painfully) a layer a day. In a couple weeks my port would have removed itself. The pain was almost unbearable. I was loosing range of motion in my right arm. Something had to give.
So, when the surgeon took the first look at my port her expression told me everything I need to know.

Still, she told me everything I needed to know (and then some) with words. Apparently this was one of the worst port infections she had seen. There was no doubt about it that this sucker needed to come out. She asked me when I ate my last meal, and scheduled surgery for 8 hours after that. Before I knew it she had me scheduled for a 5pm operation that same day. I went home, packed some stuff (my computer and my DVD of 24) and had my dad drive me to Beaumont Hospital for a 3pm check in.

I was not that concerned with the actual surgery. There were much bigger concerns on my mind. The surgeon explained to me that when you have a really bad infection, you cannot close the incision up. If you do the infection gets trapped inside your body and it will never get better. What she ended up doing with the surgery was…opening it up, removing the port, and closing the vein it was connected to, but leaving the whole port incision completely open and stuffing it with gauze. Holy crap. They do not close me up. When you have an infection you have to leave the incision open so it can heal from the inside. They stuff gauze in there and it has to be removed two times a day and re-stuffed with new gauze. The gauze is supposed to collect all the puss, debris, and all other bad gunk that is supposed to come out. Eventually the hole you stuff with the gauze is supposed to close up (heal from inside out).

Three very bad things about this:

1. It takes 6 or more weeks to heal,

2. The scar is going to be big and look really bad

3. (The worst part) I have to change this gauze two times a day and it is going to hurt like hell.

I guess the surgery went well. She actually said it was a little better than she thought. (Thank goodness. I couldn’t take any more bad news)

Right after I was in some extreme pain. They gave me Tylenol 3 but it took a while to kick in and I was in really bad pain. Once the medicine kicked in it was all good. I was totally out of it and couldn’t walk well. I went home and Chloe and Kevin to the rescue. They took such good care of me. Chloe slept with me on the couch for a few hours. I went to bed and slept in until noon. Chloe napped with me all morning. I swear cats know when their owner is not feeling well. Kevin stayed home from work and took care of me. He’s trying to get me to eat, but I have no appetite what so ever. I have to take Vicodin for the pain. I am very anti drugs now so it kills me to have to take something but the pain is so intense I cannot stand to not take it. The Vicodin makes me dizzy, nauseous and itchy all over. I almost threw up this morning and I don’t throw up. I’ve had 30 some chemo treatments and never threw up, and I can’t tolerate pain medicine.

At 3 (very soon) I go to meet with the surgeon so she can show me how to do the first gauze changing. I am dreading this more that I dreaded the surgery. She told me it is going to hurt. I think I am taking 2 Vicodin before the appointment. I might throw up in the office, but I am so scared that this is going to hurt like crazy.

(I went to the surgeon to have the gauze removed and re-packed and now this is what I wrote after)

OOOOOUUUUUCCCCCCHHHHHH!!!! Holy hell!! My day went downhill quick. First, I am so nauseous from Vicodin that I couldn’t even take a second one for this re-packing, plus I have been feeling like I am going to throw up all day long. I had to lie down at the office because I was so dizzy and felt so sick. Then the bad part happened. She took off the tape so I could see what it looked like for the first time. At first I didn’t think it looked that bad. Then, she pulled the gauze out of the hole. OOOOUUUCCCHHH! It hurt like crazy and it was WAY deeper than I thought. Kevin had a look on his face like he has seen a ghost. I think he was surprised with how deep it was. Then, she had to stuff it back up with new gauze. This was the most painful thing I think I have ever felt in my life. It was so uncomfortable. I cried. Kevin said he blacked out for a second and had to sit down. Obviously he can’t do this in the future. He said it was a lot worse than he pictured it. We have to change this every day. Hopefully my mom can do it for me. I think it is so bad because all my skin is so red and infected that it is totally tender (plus the fact that we are stuffing gauze inside a site that is about 1 inch and a half deep.) Anyway, this completely sucks and it hurts. If anyone reading this ever has a port – get it removed right away if it becomes infected at all. Hopefully I can help someone else avoid this.

Anyway – cancer treatment is a big rollercoaster. I am on one of those really steep, fast downhills. I’m going to take a nap now. I haven’t eaten really anything in two days now and I still don’t feel like I can. Hopefully I will fall asleep and when I wake up things will be better.

Your not so happy friend

1 comment:

  1. Shannon, My mother got her port removed but it seems that she will still continue to need Chemo. We are exploring the option of putting a fresh port. Are you aware if this can be done? Preferably not at the chest area because her port had been infected and the wound is still not healed (pus is still being generated)


    prateek [dot] mehta [at] gmail [dot] com


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