Thursday, January 21, 2010


Must I always take the scenic route? I just want to put all this cancer crap behind me, but it seems like something is always popping up to prolong things.

Complication #1 the hematoma
Complication #2 the seromas
Complication #3 the incision broke open and got infected....

Sunday night I had a horrible time trying to sleep. I tossed and turned, couldn't get warm, and my back, which hadn't been bothering me much, started hurting really bad.

When I got up in the morning (1/18/10) I couldn't even think because I hurt so much. I took a pain pill and layed in bed. The pain never went away or even improved and I was still freezing. When I got up to go to the bathroom I was lightheaded and shaky. Being my stubborn self, I decided to try to get a shower (bright idea, I know!) I ended up cutting that short, because I thought I was going to hit the floor. I got out, dried off, and layed on the bathroom floor. I managed to pull my pants and bra on and then I yelled for Camille to come help me. Poor girlie was crying she was so scared, but she was right there to help me with anything I needed. She got me the phone so I could call my sister Jess to come over.

I took my temp. and it was 101.7, my back was draining just as fast as I could change the dressing, and there was some pus on the gauze. I knew I had an infection. I called my plastic surgeon's office and they were closed (Martin Luther King Jr Day). The answering service took my information and then put me through to the on-call plastic's resident. I waited on hold for about a half an hour and then I hung up, since they had my number. I fell asleep waiting for them to call and woke up 3 hours later, to find they still hadn't called back. GRRRRR!! Jeff ended up calling them back later that evening and I talked with a resident who had just come on shift, he called my plastic surgeon, and then told me I needed to be seen in Magee's emergency room and they would probably admit me.

When I got there the ER doctor did a wound culture, blood work, packed my wound, and started me on an IV. The blood work came back showing my white blood cell count was pretty high, so they admitted me. They said there was a chance I would need surgery, so no eating or drinking after midnight. In the meantime, they started me on two heavy duty IV antibiotics (Vancomycin and Unasyn) and pain meds.

The next morning (1/19/10) my plastic surgeon came in. She said my white blood cell count had been at 17 the night before and after just one night of antibiotics it was already down to 14 (they like it to be around 10). I was already feeling sooooo much better than I had the day before, so I was off to a good start. She did an exam and told me that sometimes the infection can start in the back and then travel to the front, causing problems with the reconstruction. It didn't appear to be the case with me, but she said she wanted to take me into the OR that day. The plan was she would open things up along my incision where it had opened up, go in, take some cultures, look around to make sure there isn't something more serious going on, clean things out (debride), put in a drain, and reclose. I signed the consent and within a half an hour I was heading to the OR (My plastic surgeon is AWESOME!)

The surgery went well. She said there was just the one spot and everything else looked good. I ended up with two JP drains, which she apologized for. lol! They kept me again that night so I could get some more IV antibiotics and recheck my back in the morning. The pain wasn't too bad. I had a burning in my back and the drain site was sore, so they were giving me oxycodone.

My Mom, my sister Nicole, and my nephew Peyton came to visit that evening.

What a cutie!

Here's a picture of Jeff. He was the only one in my hospital room to get any sleep. There was a monitor board in the hallway, right outside of my room. The beeping made it impossible for me to sleep at all. As you can see, Jeff had no problem!

At one point in the night I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed I had marks on my face. I also had a couple hives on my chest.

I pointed out the marks out to my nurse. We weren't sure what was causing this reaction, because I had been taking all my meds for over 24 hours, nothing new. She said she would call to get an order for Benadryl.

Well things were really busy for the staff that night and I didn't get the Benadryl till early morning. At this point my entire face was red and kind of swollen. This picture doesn't really show how bad it had gotten.

My doctor came to see me in the morning (1/20/10). My back was still warmer to the touch (sign of infection), but overall it looked good. She wasn't sure what had caused my allergic reaction through the night. At that point she gave me the choice, I could stay another night so they could keep an eye on me, or I could go home and call with any problems. I chose choice B!

They sent me home with an antibiotic (Keflex 4 times a day), a pain pill (Oxycodone), and all the stuff to do my dressing changes twice a day. I declined having the visiting nurses come see me, because I am totally capable of taking care of my drains and doing the dressing changes.

I am back to no driving, no showering, and no lifting anything greater than 5 lbs. UGHHHHHHH!

Here is a pic of what my incision looks like right now. She wasn't able to use the nice pretty sutures this time, due to the way the incision had broken open, but she said she can always go back later and do scar revisions to pretty things up. I am currently putting Bacitracin and Xeroform on it. I go see my doctor on Monday.

Let's hope this is the last of my post-op complications!


  1. My goodness, sure have been through the ringer with this reconstruction. I'm so sorry that you've had such a rough time and that you ended up in the hospital, but so glad that you're home and more comfortable now. You are one tough cookie, my friend.

    xoxo Lisa

  2. I'm glad that you are home and please continue to get well. Thank you for the nice comment on Ciara's blog. God is so good!

  3. Well at least Jeff was comfortable. I mean, thats whats really important here right? haha kidding You are a tough cookie. Runs in the family.