First, I must tell you some good news. My scans came back with views of further shrinkage of my tumor. It is great news as this will allow me more time with my family. I will not go into remission at any point no matter the size of the tumor as my cancer is matasticised and is in my blood stream and lymphnodes. My doctor says that remission is not in the cards. He does share that he has a patient in Ohio that has the same type of cancer as I do and he is on 4 years of treatment with her. My goal has now become to pass by the 4 year mark using each day to learn how to live with this cancer and pass on any info I may learn to others to help them make their decisions regarding their cancer.
Anyone who has kept up with my blog knows some of the struggles of cancer patients between the chemo treatments and the side effects and the cancer and it’s affects on the body.
In April my leg started to swell daily. My calf became very sore and my leg discolored to various shades of purple and deep pink. I brought this to the attention of my Chemo doctor who ordered for an ultra sound scheduled to rule out a DVT (blood clot). None was found and I was told it was Neuropathy and was prescribed a medication to take for Neuropathy. I went home and did what I always do. Looked up this diagnosis and the medication prescribed. After much reading I came to the conclusion that the symptoms I was experiencing did not match the ones listed for Neuropathy.
By the month of May my leg progressively got worse and now was exhibiting small hard bubbles all over my calf that felt like an orange peel when touched. The pain and swelling continued. I went to my primary doctor who sent me for a second ultra sound which turned out clear of any clots. My primary recommended I follow up with my leg doctor who had performed vein work on me many years previous. She also recommended a special ultrasound which again ruled out a DVT. My leg doctor diagnosed me with Cellulitis. She explained I would need to take a large amount of antibiotics for a lengthy period of time. We started with 2000 mg of Penicillin daily. I started to take it for 7 days and it seemed to help until suddenly my leg flared up and showed signs of being “angry” as they described it. The deep pink color traveled up my leg and all areas were very tender. With this new development my leg doctor became very concerned and sent me to the emergency room explaining that my leg acting this way was beyond her experience and knowledge and explained that the antibiotic needs to be changed. I would need a large dose of the new antibiotic of choice via IV from the emergency room.
The choice of the emergency room doctor was Cefelexin. Dosage 2000 mg daily for 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks it was not gone and I requested more which he gave me another weeks worth. He explained if that did not make it go away then I would need to see a disease specialist.Well at the end of the week my doctor was out sick and I did not hear back from the office so I had no antibiotics over the weekend. Needless to say my leg doubled in size, turned all shades of purple and pink and became extremely painful.
Monday morning I was down at the emergency room first thing. The consensus was large dose of IV of the Ceflexen, see a wound specialist, a vein specialist and the disease specialist. It’s now the end of July and my leg is still on a recovery path. The new diagnosis of lymphedema has been added to the cellulitis. The wound specialist was very nice but not necessary. It turned out to be an appointment that offered no help except they were able to get me into the disease specialist the following day. After confirming the dual diagnosis and providing a clear understanding of what is really happening with my leg the doctor gave me precise directions on how we will take care of it.
At this point, a second antibiotic was added for two days and the first antibiotic was raised to 3000 mg for a weeks time. It was explained that my immune system is struggling and compromised from the cancer and the treatment. My leg circulation is poor at this point and the fluid that is supose to circulate through the lymphatic nodes is not able to which is causing the swelling. The infection is causing the pain which I need to clear up before any further treatment can be given. Once it’s clear I will see the vein specialist who will look at the vein system and see if any stints can be added to help the circulation process and avoid this happening in the future. For the moment I pray that the infection heals and I can move forward. I have to weigh and measure with each issue that comes up as to which direction to go in. Until then fingers crossed and this infection goes away.