On Thursday September 4th, I went in for a CT Scan and was happily informed that there is no abscess. In other words, the fluid removed from the rear incision area on August 8th did not return and I am free and clear with no need to see Dr. Cagir (my surgeon) for another three months. Whi-hew!!! [Nothing personal, Doc, but that's damn good news.]
However...I do have some discoloration around and tenderness on the stoma [the surgical opening visible on my abdomen] and I had a fever on Tuesday night. Dr. Cagir took a look at the stoma. There is no irritation on the skin surrounding the stoma. He also checked the stoma for hernia and found nothing. He completed the meeting saying he could not tell what was causing the irritation but also explained that it's not his arena and made sure I shared it with Dr. Allerton (my chemo doctor) who he knew I was scheduled to see. So, when I met with Dr. Allerton, he took a look at the stoma and reviewed my blood work. White blood cell counts were good meaning no serious infection, so he put me on two antibiotics - Flagyl & Avelox and made it clear that I am to contact him immediately should I experience any additional pain, swelling, puss [yuck], fever, etc. I also self-prescribed Ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and thus reduce the tenderness. It's definitely making a difference.
It was an interesting experience at the hospital. Dr. Allerton missed my 10 AM appointment because one of his patients had an emergency as we were waiting to see him. So, I we went to my 11 AM appointment with Dr. Cagir and returned at 12:25 PM to see Dr. Allerton. He was not scheduled to return from his meeting for another 35 minutes which pushed our meeting time back to 1 PM. At one we were called in to the exam room. At 1:25 PM, I asked if he knew we were there. At 1:40 PM he was paged and it was reported that he was in the ER with one of his patients. I found myself frustrated that we had waited a total of 1 1/2 hours to see him and still we waited. Then I reminded myself that if I had a dangerous reaction to my chemotherapy treatment that put me in the ER, I would want him there monitoring my vitals making sure I had whatever I needed. A bad reaction to chemo can be a pretty scary situation from what I understand.
And at the same time, I find it hard to be compassionate and patient - waiting, waiting, waiting - while Daniela & I are doing everything we can to keep our 21-month old occupied or better yet, to keep him from exploding out of sheer boredom as he climbs the walls of the tiny exam room. Because when he starts losing it as a result of being in the hospital for hours longer than any of us find tolerable, we soon have to start monitoring our own patience levels with one another before the two of us start pulling our hair out because we had no intention of being there this long and now we are wondering if we'll be able to pick up the 10-year old from school on time. Not to mention how fortunate we were that a friend/neighbor agreed to let our dog out for us while we were at my appointments.
So, there we are on the floor of the exam room playing with Matchbox cars. And when that got old, we let Beau sort the various exam room materials and tools. We try to avoid that, but by this point it was either their materials & supplies all over the floor or a 21-month old tyrant whom we adore screaming for whatever it is that isn't available to him at the moment. And soon that got old, so I got online on the exam room computer, discovered YouTube to be a blocked site, but then got lucky opening Google Video and was able to access a non-Youtube video link to the Muppets doing Mahna-Mahna (one of our all time favorites) for which I soon realized there was no speakers. So, I sang along as best I could, then searched and eventually landed on Bob the Builder - of course with no sound. But as soon as I clicked on "play," Beau immediately exclaimed, "Bob!" and we knew we had secured a few more minutes of relative peacefulness.
After my appointment, Dr. Allerton apologized for the second time and again I let him know how much I would have wanted him by my side if I was having an emergency-room-scale reaction to my chemotherapy. In retrospect, I feel like it was a good opportunity to let go of how I expect life should be. It really does make things easier to go through, but my goodness, life is not exactly short of these opportunities and I can hardly consider myself an 'A' student in that arena. But all in all, I think Daniela and I did fairly well. I'll see Dr. Allerton next week for a check up assuming that between now and then, the stoma goes back to normal.