Sunday, June 26, 2011

Updates on Wounds and Medical Appointments This Week

Let's start with the wounds in the armpit: I think the skin has continued to grow in (slowly but surely) in the main area. There are four other spots that aren't healing but aren't growing either. I suspect that there's cancer, but now that we've lessened the tumor load in my body, maybe my immune system and the other systemic treatments (Tykerb/Herceptin) can begin shrinking them.

The chest wound, where the tumor was removed, is draining fluids. But already, since Thursday, the drainage is less. I am wearing a JP drain, but expect to get that removed on Wednesday as there was only 15ml of drainage in 14 hours.

In place of the chest tumor, there are incisions - and stitches - about 2-3 inches long at the top and at the bottom where the surgeon was able to close the opening. He also put in a "stent" which I thought meant something like a "shunt" - a metal tube or something. But what it is is a wad of gauze that is pressing down on the wire mesh and the skin graft in the hopes that the skin graft takes. He expects that about 80% of the graft will take. The stent won't be removed until July 5th or so. I am on antibiotics for 10 days so hopefully an infection won't set in. Already the drainage there is less although there had been a lot of blood and fluid there for a few days. I changed it last night and I think I found the right combination of getting the right amount of gauze/ABD sponges to catch the drainage and keeping the areal coverage of it relatively small. I already think it sticks out less then uniboob, so it's a huge huge improvement.

On occasion, my right thigh, where he took the skin graft, hurts, but that's only when I've been immobile for awhile. If I keep moving, it stops bothering me. I should change that dressing as it is already sticking. I might get brave enough later to replace it with the transparent suresite dressing - which doesn't stick when there's fluid.

As for the lymphedema in my left arm - I don't think it's getting any better. It's hard to wrap up high enough on the left arm to shrink the largest fluid retention - nearest the armpit - and sometimes, I don't wrap tight enough. I am already tired of the damn thing, but it is what it is.

I have 13 medical appointments this coming week. Five for radiation, two with wound care, two with physical therapy, one with the surgeon, an appointment for Eddie, one with acupuncture, and then an infusion with Herceptin/Zometa.

But given all of that, I feel really hopeful. Even my surgeon yesterday said that I am making him a believer in alternative and immunotherapies. As far as we know all the gross/large tumors are out of my body. Now on to the business of keeping anything else from growing.

Thank you all again for your continued love and support!


Betty said...

Just hang in there and keep up the up attitude. You appear to be doing really well now which is wonderful.....Betty

MisAnthropology said...

When a doctor tells you you are making him a believer in something, that's a pretty powerful endorsement. Speaking of alternative therapies, we hit Fatima tomorrow.

Joanna said...


You are truly amazing. You have made me a believer in alternative strategies. It is interesting to see that your doctor is seeing your wisdom also.

Dee said...

Thank you, Betty, Mary, and Joanna. Yep, I ink it is pretty cool that I am converting some non-believers. And Mary, thank you for visiting Fatima on my behalf! Everything helps!