Not In Jersey: My Abdominal Surgery Part 3 My Abdominal Surgery Part 3 - Not In Jersey

My Abdominal Surgery Part 3

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Part 1 | Part 2

This should be the post where I tell you how well I’m doing and how my recovery has gone great.

But it’s not.

Because for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, I am experiencing one of the rare complications that can occur after the surgery I had. This complication is much more likely to occur in smokers. I’ve never smoked anything nor do I ever plan to.

Two weeks after surgery, I was feeling better and was finished with pain meds. I had an area on the incision which turned black and my doctor prescribed a cream meant to help with healing burns for me to apply to that area. The cream she prescribed was Silver Sulfadiazine. For some reason, neither myself, my doctor, nor the pharmacy flagged the cream as something I probably shouldn’t use, as I have a known allergy to Sulfa antibiotics. I guess since the cream is topical, it is considered something different from the oral Sulfa drugs. Three days after I started applying the cream, I realized that although I had already been itchy, now it seemed I had hives along my incision line. Hmm, hives, I thought. Sulfa. Oh my. I called my father who is a registered pharmacist and he thought the cream was different than the oral drugs, which explained it being prescribed in the first place. I texted my friend who was one of my surgeons and he said to do a patch test on my arm. I never did have hives appear on my arm, but my itchiness increased and by Tuesday I had hives over my whole body. This is possibly unrelated to what happened otherwise!

(If you are squeamish you may not want to read the next part!)

On the same day that I realized I was using a cream I was possibly allergic to, I also experienced increased oozing from my incision. When I texted my friend / surgeon I also told him about the oozing and he thought it was normal, knowing that I did have the part of my skin which had turned black. Two days later, I noticed what seemed to be an actual hole in my incision line where the oozing was coming from. I had an appointment that day, and I ended up needing my incision re-opened and cleaned out, having dead skin and fat removed, and having the wound packed with gauze. Not only that but I was told I would need the wound cleaned out and repacked every day going forward.

I now have a visiting nurse service coming to my home to repack my wound each day. And it’s not just an incision now, it’s a wound. The small hole I noted last Tuesday is nothing compared with the wide open hole I have now. My reconstructed belly button is also somehow gone and remains only as a hole in the skin.

I’m going to be dealing with daily nurse visits for at least a month, if not more. Can you imagine? Thankfully, it doesn’t hurt. I mean, it’s painful at times, but it would be way worse if I had any feeling in my abdomen at all. Thankfully as well, my doctor prescribed something to help my itching and it is 1000 times better now. I also asked about the possibility I would get a yeast infection due to being on multiple strong antibiotics and my doctor prescribed something for yeast…turns out I may have already had a yeast infection and just hadn’t realized it.

So instead of improvement, I have this major setback. I am not happy, to say the least. I probably won’t be able to go to Florida next month as I had been hoping. I may not be able to swim this whole summer. I have a gaping open wound on my stomach. So yeah.

Oh yeah, I’m down ten pounds since the surgery. And like Dave said, this isn’t the worst complication we could have encountered. I didn’t die.