Hello Garden Bloggers,
I hope you’re enjoying the holidays. It’s getting quite chilly here in Austin, Texas. I’ve had to break out my winter coat. My goldfish appreciate the heater that keeps their water from freezing at night. I've included some photos of Seton NorthWest Hospital's Healing Garden throughout this entry as I explain what I've been up to these past two months.
[BTW: I will share some personal medical info below. If you'd prefer not to read such things you may want to move on to an alternative entry at this point. ~D]
As some of you may know I had a biopsy to rule out Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) on October 14th. Happily the lab results were fine and apparently I am cancer-free, for which I am very thankful.
That should have been the end of the story. Unfortunately, I had an allergic reaction to the adhesive in the biospy dressing and lost all of my skin surrounding the biopsy (rather like a third-degree burn). Since she was a dermatologist & an MD, I trusted the doctor who did the biopsy to treat me. I knew on the 10th day post-op when she said, “Your wound looks no better. I’ll see you in 2 weeks,” that I needed a second opinion.
Thankfully, my wonderful internist, Dr. Debra Dollar, took one look at my wound, saw it was necrotic and knew what to do: She sent me directly to the NW Seton Hospital’s Wound Clinic. I've been going there 3x's per week for wound therapy since 10/29/09 and will continue to do so until I’m completely healed.
As you might imagine, I’ve learned more about wounds than I ever desired. Oddly enough, a flower-bed metaphor works well in comparison. In gardening you must first remove any dead plants (necrotic tissue), before you can build good soil (granulation tissue). Gardeners use fertilizers and soil supplements; while wound therapists use calcium alginate (made from algae) on the wounds to help stimulate healing and silver to keep out harmful bacteria. And, like a good gardener prepares a bed before planting flowers, the same goes for growing the epidermis. A wound patient must go through all the proper, sometimes painful, therapy phases before total healing is realized. Right now I’m happy to be in the collagen phase of healing. Hopefully I’ll be completely healed by Christmas.
Sorry if this is all TMI. I've hesitated to share this story on my blog. Yet I do hope someone might learn from my experience. I wish I'd known two months ago what I do now: Not all doctors can treat certain kinds of wounds or even identify necrotic tissue. If I’d been sent to the Wound Clinic as soon as my wound had developed I would have healed in a fraction of the time and avoided all sorts of pain & unpleasantness. The moral is: if you're feeling uncomfortable definitely get a second opinion; it might save your life.
That said, I’d like to thank Dr. Debra Dollar and the wound therapists at NW Seton Hospital’s Wound Clinic. I’m very grateful for your help.
"Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light." Albert Schweitzer
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