Saturday, July 24, 2010

Warning: This is long and may be boring.

Mastectomy on June 7th. Left the hospital with 2 drains. The drains were removed on the 25th. However, that was too soon and I developed a seroma. On the 29th my surgeon drained the seroma and put a catheter in so I could continue draining. On Monday, July 19th, three weeks later, they said the catheter had to be taken out, even though I was still draining large amounts of fluid, because there was too much chance for infection, and besides I should have quit draining by now. By the end of the day a seroma was developing again. On Tuesday I contacted the surgery nurse, again, to see what can be done.

The rest of the week gets more interesting/confusing so bear with me. There are lots of phone calls going back and forth and I only learn later that most of the information was not correct. 

Tuesday - The surgery nurse calls me back and she has talked with my surgeon. Since I am still draining so much the next step would be with Interventional Radiology. They will do a sclerosing procedure. This procedure is one time only and there has been a high rate of success. She explained it to me. They will drain the cavity and then fill it with a sclerosing solution, leave it in an hour and then drain it and it will be all over with. Okay sounds simple enough so we made an appointment at St Jo Hospital at 6:30 Friday morning. I should take someone with me. (A little doubt in my mind about how simple this is going to be.)

Wednesday - A gentleman from radiology calls me to get me pre-admitted. There are a lot of questions being asked back and forth. He was surprised that I thought it was a one time procedure and tells me that it may be more than a one time. Hmmmm! The procedure could be painful but that they will make sure I do not feel the pain, I will have an IV. As soon as I told him that I had had a pulmonary embolus he wanted to know if I was on blood thinners - yes.  He almost panicked. He said my PT INR had to be 2.3 or less. I personally didn't see this as much of a problem because I still had two nights not to take my medicine but he wanted me off of it for four nights. The call almost ended immediately and he said he would call me back - he never did.

The surgery nurse called me back and wanted to cancel for Friday and Move it to Tuesday so I could be off my med. I talked her into letting me go and getting my blood tested to see where it was. If it was close to 2.3 I had no problem - it would be down by Friday morning. It was 2.5 so she decided that it was too close a call. I kept telling her it would be down by Friday and to call my anticoagulation guy and he would explain it to her. I asked her to please keep me on the schedule for Friday because this seroma was growing by the day. She said that if I was not in the correct range that they would not do the procedure so she would keep me on the schedule for Tuesday also. I would take my chances.

My anticoagulation guy called me and said to hold my meds Wednesday night and Thursday night and I would be fine. He said if you want to be sure it is down - and then gave me a little tip - which I did. Okay - now is the funny part. You know how I like humor in everything.  I put my pills in a container and just take them daily morning and night. After all this commotion all day I took my pills and did not give it another thought until about a half hour later. You know how your stomach goes into a knot when you know you have done something wrong and you cannot reverse it - well... I fretted over this for about another half hour thinking what am I going to do - I have really messed up. For some unknown reason I went out and looked in my pill container. There were three pills that did not dump into my hand when I took my pills earlier and one of them was my blood thinner. I think you all can figure out the unknown reason - all I could do was thank God over and over. When we least expect Him to be in our lives - there He is every time!

I feel like this is turning into a book so please feel free to click off at any time. I just don't want to forget any of this like I did my surgery.

Thursday - I worked at the church all day and the staff took me out to lunch for my birthday. It was so good - Applebee's.

Friday - Rebecca picked me up and we were checking into the hospital and I was getting the funny feeling that they were not really expecting me. They did finally take me up to a private room and then the staff wasn't sure what I was there for. Yes, I am still laughing. Finally this nurse -  not really sure who she was or which department she was from, started talking about the procedure and that my PT INR had to be at 2.0 or they would not do the procedure. She also started saying that they would not be injecting any sclerosing agent, they would just be draining the seroma. Rebecca and I just looked at each other. I am sure glad she was there with me or I would have been crying instead of laughing. My PT INR was at 1.47.

The nurse that was to take care of me blew out a vein trying to put in the IV so she had to call the IV therapy team to come up. After two hours they finally have me all ready for the procedure, and  radiology was ready for me. It was another hour before they come to get me. The person before me was really a problem per the radiologist. 

Okay I am down there now. Every one is so nice. The doctor came out and apologized to me for all of the confusion that has gone on. He realized that I really had no idea what was happening and that no one had explained this procedure to me properly. After he explained it to me he asked if I still wanted to go through with it - it was not too late to back out. Long story short - He put in a long catheter with a curly tail on it and he even let me see it on the screen. He drained the cavity and then injected it with Betadine. It was in for an hour and then drained. I had to turn every 15 minutes on each side, back and front, to make sure the Betadine went into all the crevasses of the  cavity. Meanwhile I do have one humongous drain hanging on me now. Nothing that can be disguised through clothing like the other ones. I will come back next Friday and have the Betadine injection again. And then again the next Friday. Surprise - again! There is only a 50 percent chance that this will work.

He said that they could do surgery again but that usually never works and only will make it worse. Some people are chronic seroma makers. 

If you have made it through all of this you probably realize that I continue to need prayer. Look what your prayer has done for me so far. Believe me - I am not complaining - this too shall pass. However, I am really glad this week is over. ~But I want a bra!!!!!

"My interpretation influences my situation -- It's not what happens to me that matters as much as how I choose to see it. The way I react will determine whether the circumstance makes me better or bitter. I can view everything as an obstacle or an opportunity for growth - a stumbling block or a stepping stone."
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