Thursday, October 24, 2013

Another Knee update

Update: it still hurts :(

My knee is still pretty sore, especially if I don't take my Tylenol in the morning to start my day. I usually don't take it if I'm going to be home for the day. 

I will usually take 2 arthritis or 3 "muscle aches and body pain" Tylenol in the morning just as soon as I wake up so that it has kicked in by the time I'm ready to leave home. I will admit though...as the end of my work day draws near, I've noticed that my walk is less of a walk and more of a "The Walking Dead" zombie lurch. 

It's unfortunate that I have to wait soo long for an appointment, so I'm hoping my body will be kind until then. It's just hard to think that I'll not only have to wait for the appointment, but the booking of the surgery after that will also require some sort of a wait. Crappy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stomach Scar Sundays (2)

Here it is-the picture stomach scar update from my scar revision on September 14, 2013.

I think I've devised a better method for taking my stomach pictures. It includes standing up and facing the mirror-as opposed to lying down in bed like I did in "week 1". I think it shows the scar better.

The scar looks a bit better, especially at the bottom. Near the middle, I think it almost looks better in week 1..? Maybe...? Eh..maybe not so much.  I'll keep up with the silicone strips and see what happens. But for now, I'm happy :) 

Oh, the arrows in both pics are just meant to show you a previous "marker scar", just to give an idea of which part of my scar is what. 

Also, as I mentioned in my former fistula Fridays post, the "week 1", "week 2", ect mentioned in these posts are meant to document my use of silicone strips when the wound was healed enough to begin using the strips. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Swollen Knee update!

So in a post a couple of days ago, I posted a pic of me in the ER and my swollen as heck knee.  It had gotten so swollen and so full of fluid that I couldn't even walk! Well, I could walk, but I was definitely limping like crazy!

So as I mentioned, the rheumatologist did come in and remove fluid from my knee. They removed a full 40cc (or 40ml). This is actually quite a bit of fluid to be removed! After removing the fluid, I was given a prescription for naproxen. This is only a 7 day course of naproxen, which is an anti-inflammatory.  There is much controversy about taking naproxen, especially since it isn't considered the best thing for my kidney. I was also given an appointment to see another doctor on Friday just to see how my knee was doing.

In the meantime, my nephrologist ordered some blood work to see how my creatinine was doing. He wanted to make sure that the naproxen wasn't having an immediate negative affect on my kidney. I also did a urine test. Hopefully the tests came out ok, as I will not hear anything about the results until at least Monday. With today being Saturday, I'll have already taken 5 more pills by then. Praying it doesn't affect my kidney in any way, shape, or form.

Anyhow, at my appointment yesterday, my knee was tapped again. A student doctor tapped my knee. From what I could hear from the main doctor, she put the needle a bit too low, and therefore the optimal amount of fluid to be removed was not removed.  Some coricosteroid was injected into my joint as well to help with the inflammation.  I was told to stay off of my feet until today, and by today my knee would feel better.  To tell you the truth, with it still being early, I haven't actually had the opportunity to "test my knee out", but I'll definitely be doing that soon as I do have to go out.

As for the x-ray that was done on Tuesday, the doctor did say, as for where my joint is concerned, that it is essentially a "bone on bone" situation. I don't have much (if any) of the cushioning that people usually have in their knee, and this can cause a lot of pain. There are also "bodies" (aka, bits of bone and stuff) floating around in my knee, which also causes a lot of pain and can also cause inflammation.  Bottom line? Knee replacement in my near future.  It kind of sucks that it came at this time-I wish it came earlier in the summer. Maybe I could have gotten it done in early September, and by early November it would have already been 8 weeks, and probably full healing would have taken place by then. As for now, with winter coming, having a knee replaced in the winter and having to deal with getting around in the snow won't be fun. On top of that, my parents are going on vacation towards the end of November, so doing it now wouldn't be an option either as I would pretty much be confined to home, and getting to doctor's appointments would be a nightmare.

Anyhow, I am able to walk now and my limp is minimal. However my right knee can now easily be mistaken for a bowl of Rice Krispies, as I certainly do snap, crackle, and pop with every step.

But...I can walk..!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Former Fistula Fridays (2)

Hey everyone- it's fistula Fridays!

Time for an update on my fistula's healing progress. I wore the silicone scar strips all week.

These pics compare the first set of pics I labelled as "fistula Fridays" with pics taken today. 

First pic-upper arm

Second pic-inner bend of elbow

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My knee hurts!

The very same day that I got my fistula removed...something just wasn't white right with my right knee. I don't know why, but the second I stepped off of the hospital bed that day after the procedure, my knee felt...off. 

So fast forward to today, a few weeks later, and my knee really took a turn for the worst!

I do have a history of osteoarthritis and avascular necrosis in my right knee, but it has been a long while since I've had a real issue with it. All of a sudden, this past Sunday morning/2 days ago, I woke up and it hurt a bit. As the day went on, it began to hurt...a LOT!

I was away from home on Saturday night and returned home Sunday afternoon and took the bus/subway. I'm so thankful that my knee held up long enough to safely get me home! As the evening went on, it was to the point where I was limping all over the place. I put some heat on it via a hot water bottle. I had to work the following day and was worried about being able to make it. I made it in, but I tell ya- the walk from my desk to the washroom which normally takes about 20 seconds or so took my like 5 minutes. I brought an ice pack with me to work. When it got warm, I took the on of two small ice packs that I keep in my lunch bag to keep my food cold and stuck it into my knee brace. I exchanged the ice pack with the other one when it got warm. 

The walk to the kitchen, while much shorter than the walk to the washroom, was also a chore. But in the end I made it through the day. I stayed in bed when I got home. 

The next day/today, I decided that I had better head to emergency. My knee feels warm and I'm very concerned about the swelling and fluid in there.  I've already done an x-ray and was given some pain medication. My nurse also took some blood from me for blood tests. Let's see what happens with those. 

In the meantime, here is a pic of both of my knees that I just took as I lie down here in my ER bed. As you can see, my right knee is much bigger than the left one. 



So now I'm basically waiting for a doctor to come in here with a monster sized needle declaring the need to tap my knee. And if that DOES happen...watch it be a shaky student doctor holding the huge needle...  

*le sigh*

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Former Fistula Fridays & Stomach Scar Sundays!

So it's time for stomach scar Sundays! Now what I've decided is that I'll (try and) post progress of my arm on Fridays and my stomach on Sundays. Since Friday had already passed, I'll post my fistula pic here in this post. Now I may not do it EVERY Friday/Sunday, but at the very least, any updates to be posted will be posted on those days. 

First, we'll start off with my fistula side by side comparison. I think the healing is coming along nicely. I haven't started wearing silicone strips on my arm yet, but I think it's sufficiently healed enough to begin doing so, so I'll be putting one on later. The arrow shows a spot just beside where I have a stitch sticking out. I'll have to get that looked at soon and see if it can be removed somehow. I've picked at it a little a couple of times just because it's there, but I'm also scared of yanking it or pulling it, lest I remove a "load baring" stitch and swimming pools worth of blood and gore start pouring out of my arm :|. Anyhow, aside from that, so far so good! Left pic is from about a week ago, and right side is today. 



Next is a side by side comparison of my stomach scar. The pic on the left is from a little more than a week ago, and the one on the right is from today. The arrows show the same spot/section of the scar so you can see the healing progress, as I cannot take the exact same pic every time. It's looking good! After this post, I'll put a fresh silicone strip for the week back on. I know the left pic especially from last week isn't the best quality-I'll try better next update. 


That's it for now. Time to silicone strip up!

Tags that wouldn't fit: silicone, silicone sheets, silicone strips, stomach scar, Healing, heal, progress

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

So I have a stitch sticking out of my arm.

It isn't big, but yup, it's there. I picked at it a bit at first, thinking it was perhaps a scab that wanted to stand straight up for some reason. But I realized quickly that it was a scab. The stitches used for my surgery were dissolvable ones. Will this stitch eventually dissolve on its own, or am I destined to have this stitch stick out of my arm for the rest of my life??? 
**insert horror movie scream here**



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Follow up with the plastic surgeon

I went to see the plastic surgeon on Saturday and he is pretty happy with the progress of my healing scar revision incision. What struck me most was the fact that he said "I'm happy for you". Yes. And I'm happy too. The scar, simply put, is a million times better than pre-revision. 

I forgot to take a picture of it before putting on my silicone strip. When I took off the strip last week, the bottom part of the scar didn't appear to be healing as well. In fact, there was some yellow discharge that was reminiscent of an infection. Scared out of my wits, I sent my cousin, who is a nurse, a panicked iMessage asking for advice. I was very literally in tears because I of course didn't want to deal with an infection or have any other concerns where the wound was concerned.

Seeing that I was a panicked mess and it was too late at night for me to traipse off the the drugstore to buy saline, my cousin hopped on her white horse and came to rescue me. She used saline to clean the wound, then squeezed it to see if any discharge would come out. Either none or very little did. After that, she applied wet gauze on the wound with dry gauze on top. She then taped it to my stomach. She let me know that the saline would draw the drainage out of the wound. It was pretty small in her opinion and she wasn't worried. I was!

The next day, I removed the gauze and there was a small amount of discharge on it. I let the wound air out for the day and did the same wet/dry gauze technique that my cousin did the night before just prior to going to bed. 

The next morning, there was the tiniest bit of discharge. I decided not to wet/dry gauze the wound again. 

Just two days later, what I thought was looking like a bad infection actually seems to gave resolved itself.

These pics may be a bit graphic, especially because I quadruple zoomed in with my camera haha. But this is what it looked like when I called my cousin.  As you can see, there appears to be a hole with yellow in it. Scary looking up close to be honest. 

After a couple of wet/dry gauze applications, then letting it heal without covering it, this is what it looked like. The top part of the wound has my silicone strip on it. I have left the bottom uncovered to allow it to heal a bit more before applying the silicone strip to it. 


I think applying the silicone strip too early may have contributed to the bottom getting all yucky. I don't think it was closed/healed enough, and therefore not ready for the strips as the instructions do state that the wound should be closed before putting the strips on.  I thought it was, but clearly I was wrong. So we're going to wait a bit this time. 

I'm scheduled to see the surgeon again towards the end of next month. Here's to hoping there is good progress. 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fistula scar: un-steri-stripped

I removed the last of my steri strips from my arm yesterday. It seems as though my arm is healing relatively well. It's scabby and dry from the scabs, but I don't want to put any lotions or anything on it as I don't want it to get irritated. 

These photos were taken immediately after the steri strips were removed yesterday. (below pics may be graphic for some)




Ok it actually looks kinda gross right now. But it's dry, nothing is oozing anything, and I think that it'll start looking much better as it heals further and the scabs fall off. 

What I DO see is a thing of beauty-a flat, soon to be smooth arm without a thrill. So yes, this is my arm after having my fistula removed. I'll do another update on this in a week or two. 

In terms of pain-minimal. The main source of pain is when I straighten my arm when it hasn't been straightened for an hour or so. It feels very stiff near my forearm near the inner bend of my elbow. I have continued to gently stretch it regularly throughout the day and this stiffness/soreness is slowly but surely resolving. 

At the walkathon the other day, one of the gentlemen there who spoke had received a kidney transplant and is celebrating 40 years with his transplanted organ this year. Wow. Here's to him, and hopefully me having similar results. 
 
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