Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Recovering from Surgery’

As well as living with Still’s Disease, over the past couple of years I have also developed a condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa, due to being on Prednisolone for so many years. Hidradenitis causes swelling, abscesses and leaky channels to the surface of the skin, particularly around lymph and sweat glands (lovely I know). Last August I had a procedure to remove the worst affected area in my left groin, a procedure that took a long time to recover from, since it means leaving an open wound to heal. Eventually though, it did heal and I was just left with a neat scar. The surgeon wanted to do the same procedure on the right side, but it seemed to settle down, plus I became so poorly with the Still’s that it wouldn’t have been possible until now anyway.

But now, I do need it doing. With the reduction of the Prednisolone the right hand side has flared up again and is swollen and sore with some drainage every now and again. Even the left side, below my scar and previous site, is tender.  I think this is what happened last time too – that my HS flares seem to be related to reducing the Prednisolone, although I’m not sure why that would be. So yeah, I should really have it seen too. The difficult thing is that I have been through so much illness this year and am just starting to feel pretty good, with lots of positive things happening in my life, that it is hard to make the phonecall to arrange the surgery and put myself back into the ‘sick’ role 😦 I was really lucky last time; as horrendous as the wound looked, it was never extremely painful and I had minimal infection. This time could be different and could set me back. There are risks as with any surgery.

The other thing is that I want to aim to go back to work in September, so I would prefer to get it done sooner rather than later, as I do not want to have to take time off for something else (did I mention I already need a procedure to take two wisdom teeth out?!) At the same time, I remember the discomfort of having an active HS site when I was last at work – that was not easy either. Plus, if the site becomes infected, it will jeopardise my Infliximab treatment and that’s the last thing I want.

There is so much to consider, so I’m giving myself this weekend to mull it over and if I decide to go ahead with it, I’ll phone on Monday.

What would you do? :\

L

Edit: I just reread the HS information on the above link and strangely, Infliximab is one of the suggested treatments so in theory I shouldn’t even be having this flare of it.

Read Full Post »

It’s about twelve weeks since I had my Hidradenitis surgery in August and time to see the surgeon again, for a check up on the wound and also the second site, which may need similar surgery.

We arrived at the hospital in plenty of time for my appointment, but it was only after a two hour wait that I finally went in and saw the surgeon.  He was pleased with how my wound had healed (almost completely now) and as I suspected, felt that the second site would benefit from the same procedure as it is already creating tough scar tissue around the tracts, which is uncomfortable, an infection risk and also unsightly.  Okay, surgery does leave a scar but I’m surprised at how neat the first one has turned out and hopefully it will fade in time, meaning that’s much preferable to what was there previously. I just hope he does an equally neat job this time round.

I’m not exactly looking forward to having an open wound again, going through the daily clinic visits and so on, but it’s better to get it out of the way all in one go rather than put it off; plus, if I did put it off, it would probably need more extensive surgery. So, I read through the consent form and will receive a pre-op assessment date in the post shortly. I hope it’s after Christmas at least.

For those that are interested in how these wounds heal, here are a couple of more recent photographs.

At 10 weeks and 12 weeks

You can compare these pictures to those taken at three and six weeks as well as a list of related posts, here.

L

Read Full Post »

The other thing that I wanted to update about was the Hidradenitis Surgery I had at the end of August, which left me with an open wound on my inner left thigh.  The nurse was initially concerned about me travelling to New York before it had healed properly, but felt better once she realised I was capable of looking after the wound myself.

Apart from changing the dressings every couple of days (and laying Aquacel onto it), I barely noticed it was there. It continued to heal nicely, although not as quickly as they’d expect due to the Prednisolone. Last week, the nurse laid it with something similar to aquacel but which encouraged faster granulation and healing – it made me itch like crazy but after keeping it there for 3-4 days, the wound had reached skin surface level and so now all it needs to do is close in from the sides.

At my last appointment on Thursday, she decided it didn’t even need the Aquacel anymore, so I am now down to straight Softpore dressing.  I’m really pleased with how the whole experience has been – of course I’m still keen to see how the scarring turns out, but so far I have not been put off having the surgery again if required.

Talking of which – the site that developed on the opposite side no longer drains; there are still two tiny holes/tracts in the skin and the skin itself is thickening but I’m hoping this is just self-healing and that I won’t need the surgery in the too near future at least.  I next see the surgeon on 16th Novemeber, which leaves plenty of time to evaluate how things are looking.

I really hope that once the healing is through, I can have a break from all things abscess related at least.

L

Ps. I’ll try and post some photos showing the wound at different stages of the healing process.

Edited to add photos:

Wound at three weeks and six weeks

Related posts:

Surgery

Post-Op (Day 2)

Dressing Changes etc (Day 4)

Wound Update (One week)

Post-Op Appointment (Three weeks)

Read Full Post »

Of all the mornings to wake up with the joints flaring, it had to be today, when I had an appointment to see the surgeon for my post-op follow up.  It was such a struggle to get out of bed and ready but I told myself that it would be a quick appointment and that I’d be home resting before long.

Sod’s Law says that I had to be wrong.  We sat in the hospital waiting room for almost an hour and a half, with me so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sit still but struggled to move at the same time.  It took all my effort to stay and not go home; the only reason I did was because I knew that my wound needed redressing and I was hoping to get some feedback.

Again, I was wrong. When I was called in to see the doctor, the nurse said – ‘so you’ve had a little bit of skin removed have you?’  I was a bit confused, since it was more than a ‘bit of skin’ that I’d had removed, but I didn’t want to make too much of it in case they thought I was dramatic. Then the surgeon (not the one that did the actual surgery mind..) asked to see the wound; I made my way over to the bed but he stopped me and signalled for me to just er drop them and show him from where I was sitting.

I tried to explain it had a dressing over the top and he seemed surprised; ‘why are you still using dressings? It should be fine without dressings now’ he said, as the nurse removed them for me, revealing my blood-soaked, packed wound. Needless to say, I was a lot confused!

‘Oh’ he says. ‘That wasn’t what I was expecting’.

Turns out that whatever was written up in my notes, doesn’t quite do justice to my lovely wound and that there was nothing he could tell me for the time being, since it would take a few more weeks to heal properly. Talk about lack of communication!  The whole thing would have been a waste of time if I hadn’t had the second Hidradenitis site to show him, which formed the week prior to my surgery. He took a swab because there was some crepitus (crackling), suggesting an anaerobic infection, and told me that I would probably need the same surgery on that side too. Wonderful.

I have another appointment for a ‘proper’ post-op assessment in six weeks time.

One good thing did come of it though – I was given permission to shower again, woo hoo. I can finally throw the flannels away and have a nice long, hot soak, which I missed greatly!

L

Read Full Post »

There hasn’t been much to report since the surgery on Friday; I’m still on bed rest mainly, so as to keep my legs raised and help the healing process. The wound is currently repacked with Aquacel or Kaltostat every morning and then redressed, meaning a daily drive to the local clinic. It’s not the nicest experience, having someone prodding around in an open wound, but I had visions of it being much worse and I’m pleased to say the pain is only mild.

The first nurse I saw told me not to look, that they’d taken quite a chunk out of my thigh, so I didn’t. However, yesterday the nurse somehow managed to stick the dressing onto the wound itself, meaning that it peeled away and gaped every time I sat on the loo, giving me no choice but to face it. I made sure that the nurse this morning stuck the patch well and truly over the wound and taped it down doubly, as not only did it make me feel queasy seeing the gaping hole, but I was also worried about it being contaminated. I have had a wound infection in the past and it wasn’t nice; thankfully, this one is looking nice and pink, which I have been told is a good sign that it is clean and healing well.

I am not allowed to shower so am having good old fashioned flannel washes twice a day and my boyfriend washed my hair for me last night. He’s also looking after my little furbaby, Jasper, as I’ve been told to keep away from pets for a while; I’m sure I will have a very sulky bunny by the end of it. I think both of them will deserve a treat by then too, especially considering how close my squeamish bf came to passing out during the first dressings change.

Still’s -wise, everything is pretty much the same and being kept stable by the Prednisolone and painkillers. Tonight I am to make a couple of changes to my medication; firstly is to switch to Modified release Tramadol capsules, which I only need to take twice a day and should give me a more steady level of pain relief. Secondly, I need to double my dose of Methotrexate to 15mg.  This is still a lot less than I took when I reacted badly to it, but I’m still feeling a bit hesitant  – the ‘hangover’ side effects have gradually faded over the past weeks and now I have a feeling it will be like starting over, if not worse.

But that’s being negative and only time will tell.  I have to know that I’ve given the Orencia the best chance of success before giving up on it; this could be just the boost it needs.

L

Read Full Post »

Sexy Surgical Stockings

It has been two days since I had the surgery to remove the scarred/infected tissue from chronic Hidranitis in my left groin and things are going okay. I still have to wear my lovely stockings and keep my legs raised, so I am in bed surrounded by books, Dvds, my laptop, phone, Kindle and DS just in case I get bored.

 

The pain isn’t too bad, a little bit worse today than it has been so far but I’m keeping up with the four doses of Tramadol a day.  What bothers me is how much blood is soaking the dressing, the patch gets bigger every time I look at and all I can smell is blood. I can’t wait to get it changed tomorrow because it makes me feel really grotty. At the same time, I’m dreading it because I know it will be uncomfortable, maybe even painful.

I had a nice treat though today – to celebrate four years together, my boyfriend cooked me a huge steak, chunky chips, corn on the cob and peppercorn sauce and served it to me in bed with my own little candle on the tray 🙂

For every cloud there’s a silver lining,

L

Read Full Post »