So where was I last? A couple of weeks ago one of the abscesses had got worse but it was deemed by the powers that be not bad enough to warrant taking more antibiotics. However a few days later one of the home nurses discovered that the two abscesses had joined up! Worse was to come when I suddenly started having even worse pain as a new inflammation had started up the top end of my butt crack. By this time they realised that I had one abscess that had become a tunnel behind my entire perineal surgical scar.
So (and these things always seem to happen on Fridays when my stoma nurse doesn't work, and/or it's a public holiday in France as it was that day, and other than 'Urgences' there is no-one to contact over the weekend) we called the nurse first thing last Monday to explain the new situation and she was able to see me that afternoon. She'd been in touch with my surgeon and this time they'd decided this did warrant another course of ABs, plus an urgent MRI scan to see better what was going on in there.
I had a hideous time with her as she's pretty brutal and always inflicts some pain, but this was like nothing I'd experienced before. Her view is that you've got to be cruel to be kind in order to clean it out as best you can, which aids the healing, but I could have done without her sticking tools up all the tiniest holes into the abscess. I even swore in English. Well I swear a lot better in English than in French. At the end I burst into tears, not just from the awful experience (heck, most medical people would give you a local anaesthetic for that level of pain), but mostly the absolute feeling of frustration and hopelessness, this having gone on for so long now. Mostly also because, whilst I can put up with the pain or discomfort from radiotherapy burns and from chemo because they serve a purpose, to kill off tumours and cancer cells, this serves absolutely nothing and just adds to my general misery.
I manage to get in for a scan a few days later and to my delight it was actually a CT scan which only lasted 5 mins, as they hadn't been able to fit me in for an MRI scan, which is a noisy horrible thing that goes on for about 45 mins. The doc or technician said she could see nothing out of the ordinary.
So, all was going well with my abscess seeming to dry out somewhat and the pain started reducing, when all of a sudden on Thursday evening I started having diarrhoea! This got worse, along with nausea and I even threw up which is the first time since all this started - I've not even thrown up from the chemo so far. I had 24 hours of worse nausea than I get from the chemo. A bit of research lead me to finding that it was caused by the ABs! Honestly, I know more about septic tank workings than the human body - I'm well aware that ABs can disrupt the good/bad bacteria balance in a septic tank but hadn't thought that the same thing can happen to gut flora!
My OH has scoured the supermarkets and bought some probiotic yoghurt drinks so I'll keep taking those in the hope that I can get my poor guts back to normal working order eventually. They are still gurgling like you wouldn't believe.
My biggest problem now is lack of appetite and weight loss. I lose weight with each chemo session and haven't had much appetite since it started. I am now as skinny as I was at my worst last year after I suffered sudden weight loss around May/June last year, which was the start of all my problems (including the thyroid problem). I have some high calorie, high protein drinks which will help, but I hate having no appetite as I love my food normally, but when you are feeling nauseous, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it; you just can't eat.
I'm seeing the stoma nurse tomorrow during my chemo session (damn public hols in France in May have meant my usual Thu/Fri sessions have been brought forward), so it will be interesting to see what she says about the abscess. If it doesn't clear, then it'll be back to hospital to have my scar cut open so they can clean the area out properly, then presumably stitch me up again. Then I'll have to go through the recuperation and healing of that all over again, but I'm willing to go through this if it rids me of the sodding abscess so I can start to move forward with my life!
Still, life is not all bad, I saw my first Swallowtail of the season yesterday! And I managed to scoff home grown asparagus for dinner, no problems with lack of appetite there. :-)
|Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) feeding on kale flowers.|