Sunday, 7 April 2013

Thoughts on my bout of Cellulitis

In my hospital bed last year with my first – and hopefully only – bout of Cellulitis I would feel that it was my own fault and that it was silly venturing on a trip like that altogether. In hindsight things often look differently, don't they. I was ashamed. I thought that I should have seen it coming. The friction between the toecap and my skin causing blisters, and blisters being a very real risk of infection. I guess I thought I was immune to infection as I had not had it before and my health is generally quite good.
Anyway, a text message from my little brother made me see things differently. He wrote:

There is nothing to be ashamed of - on the contrary - hats off for trying to push the limit and taking a chance :-)

It had not uccured to me to look at it that way. Then I wrote something I no long remember and he replied:

What is important is that you know that the world will go on even though you end up in a boring hospital for a couple of weeks.

After that I stopped beating myself up about my uncautiousness. Also, my Lymphedema therapist and my fitter both knew that I was going and neither of them advised me to not go. In fact my fitter recommended me some tape to protect my skin. I guess that growing older has made me more insecure and prone to blaming myself even when it is not my fault, at least not completely.
Having said that, I should have been more careful but I no longer see it as completely irresponsible to go. I should have brought bathing slippers for showering in the various hostels. I should have respected the blisters I got and I should have brought some antibiotics, but I know that now. Before the trip I had never had Cellulitis before and didn't know how much or how little it takes but I do now and in the future I will be more careful.
We must be careful but we must also live our lives. I am dreaming of new adventures and I do worry about the dangers that lurks in regards to having Lymphedema. There will be some challenges but life is too short to miss out on adventures because of being scared of Cellulitis.

I am curious of to what antibiotics you guys bring with you on travels or keep at home to fight Cellulitis. I'd appreciate if you would place a comment with the names of the products. All readers can benefit from this and this way we can help each other. Thank you.

Check out Lauras comment from February 7 in this post, it has some good tips on staying clear of Cellulitis and it is an eyeopener to how little it takes to get it. I can't link to the comment itself but scroll down and you will find it. Check out the other comments too.

7 comments:

  1. Argh, the computer ate my previous comment!

    Agree with you that we don't want lymphedema to limit our lives and adventures, but it's a hard balance. Since I had cellulitis very soon after having the lymphedema diagnosed, it's been very hard for me not to over-react and I'm only now starting to get back to normal life things (except that OTHER health problems keep intervening, grrrr)

    My antibiotics: clindamycin and...I think erythromycin, but I have to check; it's another common, "broad spectrum" antibiotic. The brand name is different here in Japan and likely to be different in your country. The pills are 250 mg each and the official prescription was two of each after each meal, so three times a day. That was when I was taking them right after having cellulitis. I have occasionally taken half doses when I thought I might be coming down with something. You'd also want a pro-biotic or something to keep your digestive system from getting funny.

    Like Laura, I check my leg each morning, usually just before I put on my stocking. My leg is always pink when I get out of bed, so I have to wait a while. (This made me very worried at first). I usually just do a rough going over for any marks or things. I get a lot of skin allergies so there's a fair number of itchy bumps for which I have different varieties of cream. If I think something might need extra protection from being rubbed by the stocking during the day, I put a bandaid on that spot.

    I had a very stubborn case of athlete's foot last summer. Not sure where I picked it up but probably wearing pantyhose for a funeral in the 37 degree heat was enough in humid Japan! It took close to two months to totally go away and involved lamisil creme and soaking my foot in an antiseptic provided by my clinic. (Japan can be a bit over the top with medical things). I now use the lamisil preventively if I ever feel itchy and will be using a lot of anti-fungal foot powder this summer (which I have to import from the US because it doesn't exist here.)

    As for general skin care, I use a soft, liquid soap in the shower - not real soap, which I've heard is bad for really dry skin and can strip away the protective layer - and ALWAYS lotion up afterwards. I use BodyShop coconut butter lotion - makes me think of the tropics!

    My lymphedema therapist says that one warning sign is getting a lot of red bumps on my leg, and that if I see them I should try taking it easy preventively, that they're a signal that I'm overtired. I think otherwise you just keep your health and immunity levels high as you would anyway - vitamins, eat well, rest.

    A veteran of primary lymphedema who I know says that she gets a flu shot every year to boost her immunity and she also gets a pneumonia vaccine once every ten years. She's only had cellulitis once despite having really bad lymphedema - both legs, one arm, and trunk, she wears an 80-90 garment. She's not sure if the vaccines help but she hasn't gotten it at all since getting the pneumonia vaccine.

    Anyway, hope this helps! Just a few things I do/have heard.

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    1. Hi Elaine, thank you heaps for all this! I guess it is hard not to overreact a little after a bout of Cellulitis, afterall it is a real nasty experience.
      About lotion, I am finding it hard as I usually shower in the morning and obviously can't put the stocking on a leg smothered in greasy lotion and no time to let a lighter one dry, and I wear the nightgarment when sleeping, so when to put it on? I guess I could put a light lotion on a little while before I put on the nightgarment and when I do a full wrap I sometimes put a greasy lotion on before. I find that taking a tablespoon on Udo's Choice (coldpressed oil with Omega acids) in my juice keeps my skin relatively moistured most of the time. Didn't really do it much this winter until a couple of months ago but will use up this bottle and start a new when the cold sets in again.
      About vaccines, I am terrified of triggering another outbreak of Lymphedema somewhere - it seems anything can do it - but otherwise it sounds like a good idea.
      Thanks again for your valuable input.

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  2. i fell down the stairs many years ago and my lower extremity lymphedema worsened. my oncologist had put me on cipro but i was constantly on it since by then i developed chronic lymph infection. i went to a top vascular surgeon who said that the only course of remedy was two weeks in hospital with i.v. i couldnt accept that since i would be constantly in hospital so i researched and found that there were other lymphedema sufferers that were on injectable bicillian LA 1.2 million units every other week. i have been on this for many years and it keeps my infection in check. i am lucky though because my sister is an RN and can inject me (not in my lower extremities though). it made a huge difference in my life.

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    1. Hi there, thanks for your input :-) I never knew about cronic lymph infection. It was pretty nasty with the IV for me, I am glad that you researched and found this other option and that it works and makes a positive difference for you. Sometimes we have be our own doctors.
      Warm regards
      Liz

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  3. Very belatedly, but I just got my antibiotic prescription renewed at the international hospitial and learned the English names for what I keep. They're clindamycin and amoxicillin. Hope this helps.

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    1. Hi my name is bluedolffin and I have lymphedema in my lower arm. Iam so relieved to be on this blog as I don't feel lonely anymore. Thanks to u lymphedema girl for sharing this blog. I hear so many hopes lately that it really makes me think that one day before I die they will

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    2. Hi Bluedolffin, thank you so much for your kind words, they are much appreciated! Thanks for reading my blog and for being part of it.
      Warm regards
      Liz

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