Advocating for and connecting those new to their pain journey and all the veterans of pain who have been on their journey for sometime. Testing new products and existing products for the caregiver and their loved ones. Offering a safe place to tell your story with no judgement, because I've been there.
Back in 1993 I was rear ended by an impaired (VERY) driver, since that time on top of the chronic back pain, other issues have occurred which I am being told by my general practitioner (GP) and my pain specialist that they are all related to the accident and the damage in my lower back. Several years after the accident my legs began to show discoloration to the point they looked badly bruised (see photo below). It took awhile to go through the insurance process to be approved to see a vascular specialist. It was he who informed me that the discoloration was actually, cellulitis which the Mayo Clinic defines as, “Cellulitis (sel-u-LIE-tis) is a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender. It can spread rapidly to other parts of the body. http://www.mayoclinic.org/cellulitis.” I was told my legs would stay like this other than changing in how dark or light in color they are. It was in the first part of 2015 that I had my first experience of blood squirting out from my leg up to 12″-8″” out. The first and largest of these geysers started on my left leg just above the ankle and was about the size of a piece of pencil lead (black spot in photo at left), not large at all. To make this post short, this experience happened 4-5 times on the left leg prior to finally being set up to see a vascular surgeon (VS) and get his opinion on it. The process here was you have to attend an 4 hour class on cellulitis and the vascular issue that can occur with it, prior to meeting with a surgeon. I took the steps, meet with the surgeon right after the class and as soon a I took the gauze and wrap off and the area started spewing blood, he make the comment that I should have been into see him months earlier. The next month I was in having the surgery on both legs, the reason was that the day before the surgery my right leg did the exact same thing, a vein burst and the site was facing a thin wall of skin and the pressure open the skin and the rest is history. So when I was in waiting for the surgery and my doctor came out to mark and sign the surgery sites (2) on my left leg, I asked if he wanted to look at the right leg. He stopped all paperwork, re-ordered new paperwork showing both legs and a total of three surgery sites.
Prior to the surgery the doctor and all of the brochures and websites I looked at all said that it is possible (highly) for the surgery sites to become infected, just because of where their located. And yes, three weeks into the recovery both sites on my right leg became infected. They went from surface area wounds to crater size wounds, I would say they were each 1/8″-1/4″ deep (see photo at right). This photo was taken four weeks after the infections started and was the smaller of the two. They were having to remove dead skin or infected skin, scrap the area with a pencil size “D” hoe type tool and tweezers, then would soak it in a bleach mixture to help kill the bacteria. This would then allow them to place a silversorb product on the wounds to keep them moist, cover with either standard gauze or a foam product and then wrap in gauze wrap and cover in Tube-a-Grip compression sock (2 layers). At some points this would be changed three times a week only until recently when I was having to change the foam and gauze daily. Five months into this the legs were going from looking better to having minor infection and back again. The photo at left was taken exactly at five months. All of the scab you see had to be removed, I kid you not there were times I was in so much pain that I was biting on my wallet as to not scream out. Weeks turned into months, nine months, one week to be exact and this past Tuesday I was told that the final site was covered in new skin and had a small scab hanging on, and to not pull it off and risk re-opening the area it was left on yet as soon as it falls off they are going to consider it healed, 100% and that I only needed to stop in next week to just have it checked. That is the final photo, the small scab at the top right is what they need to fall off. I could have had a kid in that amount of time, I have a better understanding of what expecting mothers are going through. I just didn’t have to gain 20-30 lbs or have my insides fight for territory. My choices with this were, go through the recovery process however long it may be or leave it and have it open up in the middle of the night and I bleed out or let the wounds become infected and take the chance of loosing my foot or worse my leg. I took photos of 85%-90% of my visits, tracked my blood pressure, pulse, weight, temperature, etc. with any one of these changing could be a sign of infection or fluid retention (bleeding internally). Be sure if you have any type of infection, you do everything you can to keep the area clean, clear of debris, dead skin or infected skin, covered properly and seen by a physician or better yet a wound therapist, they know what to use when and to help with what ever you have going on. If your not getting the care you feel you need for your condition, then insist on the care you feel you need. That’s the only way your going to get it. Be safe