Guess whose back? Back again. Drainy’s back. Tell a friend.
That’s right folks, I woke up the morning with the normal amount of holes in my body and now I have an extra. Bonus!!!
I’ll back up. Remember the seroma I’ve been talking about? It’s the buildup of fluid under my armpit where they removed a bunch of lymph nodes. It’s not totally uncommon, after the surgeries I’ve had. Well, that somehow got infected and the whole situation was a perfect storm, blah blah blah.
Monday, when I saw the surgeon about the swollen armpit pain, they stuck a needle into the seroma and aspirated a little fluid which they then sent for culture. They knew there was an infection there, but also knew they had a few days before the culture came back. So they prescribed an antibiotic that seemed to make the most sense at the time.
Two days later (last night) I’m still in a lot of pain. I write a mildly incoherent email to my surgeon at 1am stating as much. I received a call from her this morning saying that the culture came back and there were multiple strains of bacteria and none of them were treatable with the antibiotic I was on so a new one would be prescribed.
This news, mixed with the fact that I was still in a lot of pain, prompted them to send me for an ultrasound of the seroma today. I almost went by myself, but my mom knew better and insisted on driving me. Good thing.
The ultrasound confirms seroma (duh). They also see distinct signs of infection and what they called ‘a lot of debris‘ (gagging).
All sorts of hallway discussions happen between the radiologist who did the ultrasound and my surgeon. They also get the plastic surgeon on the horn. This trio decides I need the seroma drained. Today. Surprise surgery- YEAH!!!
The next 2 hours are just bizarre. The interventional radiologist who is going to perform the ‘percutaneous drainage procedure’ abandons his schedule, walks with me and my mom through the tunnels of the hospital up to the procedure area, and tells me it’s happening right now.
No one has taken my vitals, which they normally do a bazillion times. It sort of felt like Penny’s abortion from Dirty Dancing. Just like they found some cold, empty procedure room and cobbled together some random medical trainees and away we go!
I was told to lay on on my side on the table and my arm was propped up awkwardly above my head, which is not an easy position for me to achieve. I was draped with what seemed like a very heavy handed amount of sterile drapes, cleaned off and numbed. All local anesthetic, nothing for my mental state, which I think is basically just mean.
Yes I am tougher than many, but hit your sister with an Ativan or something before you bore a hole into my chest wall! Jeesh.
I’m not even sure what happened because I was busy doula-ing myself out of a panic-attack fainting spell, but I know they drained my seroma and decided to leave a drain in my body for a few days. This drain tubing is wider than the others. When I asked why, I was told ‘in order to hopefully drain the debris.’
Sweet baby Jesus mother of Allah!!!!!!
So here I am. Another day, another drain. This one is nifty. It is a long bag that I strap around my waist. My drain bag brings all the boys to the yard…
Now I wait and hope that the infection clears with this new antibiotic and my new drain appendage. Chemo will most likely be pushed back at least another week, which is rage inducing.
Moral of the story: cancer is stupid.