Surgery (Photo credit: Army Medicine)
I suggest that those of you who get a little queazy with medical details should maybe not read this post, as I will give details of surgery!
Firstly I am still in hospital and only allowed to the bathroom keeping my leg straight, otherwise sitting with leg up or on the bed. At the moment I am only allowed to bend leg to 30 degrees, let me tell you getting in and out of bed is a real trick!!! Cellulitis appears to have made its last stand by coming up around the knee incision, so some very strong IV antibiotics. I am tired but in no pain, as areas appear numb, but as of yesterday my sense of humor returned and I think my “positive mojo” is back! In the last couple of days I had truly thought myself a lunatic to go through with this!
I have said before that every surgery is different and every doctor has a different plan, due to the needs of the patient. This is the story of my surgery, my experience, as the techniques are so new world wide there is no set procedure, so this may not be the norm but a way towards it.
The last thing I remember before surgery started was the ” Sandman” setting up his lines and then nothing, no pretty pictures or sweet dreams. Waking 8 hours later I felt like shit! I was bloated all over, when you have lymphoedema this is a nightmare, I felt scared, lost and my mouth felt like a sewer! I had drains, catheter and IV fluids, I was still nil by mouth so no water just an ice cube! That night is a blur, until the doctor came the next morning to explain how the surgery had gone and what the next steps were to be. The first thing he did was to put a small machine on my knee over the transplant to check there was a good blood flow, the reason for nil by mouth, as if no blood flow it would be back to surgery. Imagine my joy when I could hear a strong whooshing or pulsing sound, the doctor was happy too! At last I could have a shower, food, drink, of course my own nighty and the catheter gone. Being able to go to the loo by yourself is one of life’s little treasures when you are in hospital!
The surgery had gone well, though I should now call it a Lymph Node Transfer, as Lymph nodes are transferred from one part of the body to another. The source of the nodes in my case was the neck, so far I have not seen the incision as it is well covered but it is near my collar bone. The doctor said he has got a “nice little bunch of nodes” but it had taken longer to harvest them with a vein and artery as my vein was different anatomically to the norm. An incision was then made down the inside of my left knee, about 10cm. Using micro surgery the bunch of nodes were attached to their new vein and artery, over time these should start to work as “filtration stations” and to form new lymph vessels. However this is a long process and improvement can be seen over years as lymph vessels grow slowly. After the surgery my knee looked like a football and the leg swollen, it is difficult to tell what is caused by the surgery and what is the existing Lymphoedema, I do think it may have gone down a tiny bit but that could be my imagination!
Due to the Cellulitus I have gone two steps forward and three back, so I am sitting waiting for the doctor to visit today and see what next. Thank goodness for the internet and my trusty iPad that keeps me in contact with the world. My time revolves around breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12.30pm and dinner at 5pm! You know you are in hospital when dinner arrives at 5pm!
Lymph Nodes of the head and neck, from Gray’s Anatomy (click image to enlarge) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)