Just when things were looking up, I find out there is an infection behind and surrounding the Port. Thursday morning as I smeared the site with the local anesthetic prepping for the blood draw and possible transfusion, I noticed a redness, a slight swelling, and the site was painful to the touch.
I figured I’d let the nurses figure it out when I got to the center - and they did. Couldn’t do the blood draw from the port, had to access the old fashioned way - using my hard-to-find veins. When I met with the doctor he immediately called the surgeon who performed the implant; she asked that I come to her office right away.
The Port had moved and in one spot was very near the skin surface - it’s being pushed up from beneath. There were two alternatives: remove the port and heal the area with antibiotics (and re-implant the device at a later date), or surgically change the angle and depth of the port folding over loose skin, hoping it would settle when the infection cleared up - with the antibiotics.
The culprit seems to be my own compromised immune system, making me more susceptible to any kind of infection. I also need to put on some weight, too. Now that I am off the Chemo (probably the indirect cause of the infection in the first place) and my appetite has returned somewhat, I hope to do just that. Gotta put some meat on the bones to help fight off nasties like this one.
So, we talked it out, the surgeon and I, and decided that the second option would be more efficient though there is a 50-50 chance of success. She ushered me into a small OR she uses for such situations where she shot me up with a local anesthetic.
(The image at right was taken in that tiny OR where in honor of my working at Dos Locos - one of her fave local spots - she hung this little sign. I hope it’s sharp enough. It was shot in a hurry before I was subdued and attacked with stitches. Click the image to embiggen.)
Then, along with 2 assistants, cleaned, dressed, and disinfected the site. The procedure included 3 or 4 stitches, regular ones, not the dissolving kind. She wants to make sure the area is healed and strong before taking them out herself. The whole procedure took longer than the original surgery last month - about 2 hours!
Aside from the prick and pressure of anesthetic needles I had no pain, and none to speak of following the procedure. She then placed a huge dressing over the area and told me not to get it wet for the next 2 or 3 days. (Fortunately, I showered that morning.) I started the antibiotic Friday, so there should be some improvement in a few days.
Frustrating? You bet. Especially since I have been feeling so much more like myself. The good news is that I didn’t require transfusing, and I’m off the Chemo for now. That alone seems to account for my white cell count bouncing back, so that’s a very good sign.
Anyway, the weekend is half gone (historically a quiet one after the holiday) and I plan to be out taking advantage of the good weather that is forecast - sunny with temps in the upper 60s and low 70s. I’ll take it.
And so it goes.