Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wound Update, Compression Wrap, and Medication Side Effects

Today, I first saw the wound care nurse. The largest open area in my armpit is 4x2.5cm. But a few days ago, near the incision line in back, it started draining again. It had developed a "postule". The wound care nurse feels that this may be a minor staph infection, so she put silver on it and we covered it with the antimicrobial silver gauze.

The two smaller areas that do not have skin near the bottom of the wound have developed red raised areas. It may be infected, too. But it may be cancerous lesions forming. She doesn't know for sure. But in case it was hypergranulation, she put silver nitrate on the two areas (which kills the tissue). I think she also put some silver nitrate on the postule. We will monitor the area and sew what happens over the next few days.

I then saw the physical therapist and I caught her up on all that happened to me in the last couple of months. She put a compression wrap on my left arm, extending from the base of my finger to my shoulder. I need to keep it on for at least 22 hours a day to try to get the swelling down. It was a good 5cm or 2 inches bigger than it was last year. It's just a little bit uncomfortable around my elbow.

The interesting thing the physical therapist told me was that lymphedema is protein-rich fluid, that encourages bacterial infections. So, it's highly likely that the areas that are raised and the postule are little bacterial infections. I will tell the wound care nurse that on Friday. That made me feel a little bit better.

I was a little shaky and jittery all day. It's a side effect of the anti-seizure medication I am on. But I think it was complicated by the two Benadryl I took in the middle of the night last night which can "cause hyperactivity in children". So, I don't think I will take that any more. I will ask my neurosurgeon tomorrow about drug interactions.

My fingers are still numb and now my ring finger and my left thumb are a little numb as well. I will talk to the neurosurgeon about this. I noticed in April that my ears had hardly any ear wax. I had some last week, but not this week. This makes me wonder if there is something new growing in my brain. I also got the call today that my Tykerb will be delivered tomorrow, so Thursday, I will start taking it and hope that it gets to where it needs to go in the brain. Nip whatever it is in the bud. I also wonder if I could decrease the anti-seizure medication dose since I seem to be getting some of the less desirable symptoms, like some lack of coordination. But I will also ask him what symptoms I should be aware of should more tumors develop.

I also see the general surgeon tomorrow afternoon to see about removing the chest tumor. And between the neurosurgeon visit and the general surgeon, I will have two visits - L, a colleague from Fairbanks, and A. who is also bringing a meal.

So, I was a little worried today, but I was also able to do some things with Eddie at school - he had a swimming party this afternoon and I drove him and some of his classmates. Then this evening was his musical. He was the producer. I feel a little less worried because I think my jitteriness (if that's a word) was caused by the Benadryl.

I hope to get a better night's sleep tonight. I got about 5 1/2 hours last night. I will take melatonin first and then Ambien if I wake up in the middle of the night. That's what I did on Sunday night and I had a good day on Monday. I will keep you all posted - and keep putting out good energy that there is no disease progression already.


Joanna said...

Hi Dee,

Do you think the tissue that is possible cancer lesions should be biopsied? Maybe it is pointless to do the biopsy, but maybe if you knew whether or not it is cancerous, you could monitor how well the Tykerb is working.

I hope you get some much needed sleep.

Dee said...

I will see if my general surgeon can biopsy either of the two lower spots. He.might not be able to since the nurse put silver nitrate non them.