Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15, 2010

Hello everyone! I know it's been a very long time since I've posted and I apologize, but I am here now to bring everyone up to date on my health.

Starting in Jan. and Feb. I began to gain water weight. We're talking fast! I gained 70lbs. in 5 weeks and it was awful! I couldn't dress myself, I couldn't get in and out of the car by myself (I think that was the most frustrating part). Plain and simple I was just miserable.

I went into the hospital in March and they gave me IV lasix and I lost 10 lbs. in a week which was awesome but they were unable to tell me what happened and why I gained all this weight. So without a great plan or a follow up plan they sent me home after a week. So I'm back at home and still not losing any water weight and I'm taking a fairly high dose of lasix and this goes on for the next few months.

My abdomen is so distended I look as though I'm 9 months pregnant. I believe on June 6th is when I bumped my stomach on the counter in the kitchen, we have tall counters. Didn't think much of it and then I noticed a bruise and by the 8th it was black and raised. That night I went to sleep and woke up with this wet feeling. The bruised area had opened up and was leaking all over me. Then it hit me, the smell. It was infection, there's just something about that smell that you never forget or mistake what it is. So I call Rob and I get some paper towels and I start pushing on my abdomen and try to get the puss and nastiness to come out but there was so much. Needless to say we went to the ER in Vacaville.

This is what I remember: We got to the ER and they weighed me, I was at 310, and I had been 232 in Jan., so I was quite shocked. They put me in the wheelchair and took me back into the ER area and that's all I remember. Once I was in the ER they prepped me and took me to surgery, I had an infection in my abdomen that was going to kill me and they had to get it out immediately. This is Wed., then on Thurs. morning they took me back to surgery to clean more out of my open wound.

I was in ICU until Friday night or Sat. not sure, I was pretty out of it. I had all sorts of hoses coming out of me. They hooked me up to a wound vac, which is this machine that suctions the fluid out of the wound. I can't even explain the pain and I have a very high pain tolerance and the meds they were giving me weren't working right away.

So with this wound vac, they had to change the dressing every Mon., Wed., and Fri. Betty was her name, and she was awesome (wound care specialist). The first time I had the wound vac bandages changed I about lost it. I know I screamed a little and cried a lot. They had put so much tape on me and when she was pealing it off it was like pealing your skin off slowly. Needless to say I hated M,W,and F and Betty knew it. We up'd my medication a half hour before she began the procedure and it just took the screaming part away. I kept telling myself, this won't last forever, over and over again.

I believe after a week or so they decided that I needed to have supplemental feeding as they believed that I was not absorbing the nutrients that I needed. I was very malnutritioned. The biggest concern was my prealbumin which is an indicator of protein absorption. My level was at it's lowest 1.9 (in June) and the range it should have been in is 18.0 to 41. So they put in an NG tube (feeding tube through my nose and into my stomach) and did feedings while I slept. Slowly my prealbumin began to increase. I started out with clear fluids at first and advanced to eat regular food during the day.

At some point one of the Drs. decided that he was going to take some of the fluid out of my abdomen and run some tests. So I went to ultrasound so they could pin point a location of the fluid and then the Dr. went in and took out 3 liters of fluid. It felt so good to not have that pressure anymore, but unfortunately it didn't last, only 2 days and the fluid was back.

I stayed in the hospital just over a month as they monitored my blood levels and took care of my open wound. I was scared to come home. I was taking so many different medications and vitamins and I didn't have to worry about preparing food and so on and so forth. Everything was being taken care of.

I was discharged I believe on July 9th and they had everything set up for me. I have a hospital bed in my living room to keep my head elevated while I get feedings as I sleep. I have a nurse that comes M,Wand F to take blood for labs to monitor my levels since I'm on a high dose of Bumex (stronger than lasix). The nurse also checks on my wound and it's almost done healing. It started around 27 cm long across my abdomen and 15 cm wide. Now it's 8 cm long and 3 cm wide. When the nurse isn't here I do my own dressing changes twice a day. I also have an in Home Health Aide come to the house 2 times a week to help with washing my hair in the sink and washing my back and feet and legs. Everyone has been so helpful I don't think I would have made it without them.

When I left the hospital I weighed 246 and I now weigh 215. I haven't weighed this since high school, so a very long time ago. I still look like I'm about 7 months pregnant with the fluid in my abdomen but we think the fluid is slowly being absorbed.

I will try my best to keep up to date and I'll write more if I have forgotten some important info that has happened.

Thank-you all for your thoughts and prayers!!! I wouldn't have made it this far without all of you.

Until next time,


Helina said...

Wow, Kate, what a nightmare. You have been through so much! Take good care of yourself, and stay strong. I'm rooting for you!

shari bruce said...

KATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG, again my mouth is dropped open after reading your most recent blog. Girl, you have been thru so much, I admire your strength and bravery! You KEEP FIGHTING!!! I love you and want to give you a big hug.

I experienced some pain in changing my dressings when I had the breast cancer (wound developed infection), I would scream into a washcloth in my mouth. But nothing compared to your pain.

Thank you so much for sharing your medical updates with us!