The New Year brought hope
Curtis’ Story continued…
On January 11th 2010, Curtis underwent a bilateral inguinal lymphadenectomy. The main thing that were stressed by the doctors was that it was a major surgery and that there may be swelling of the limbs afterwards due to the absence of lymph nodes. During pre admission we were given some info on what to expect as well as we searched for what info we could find on the internet.
Many things we learned after the fact; It sure would have been nice to know ahead of time.
The operation lasted approximately 2 1/2 hours. Except for a bit of trouble with Curtis’ blood pressure during surgery, everything went well. After 1 1/2 hours in recovery, he was back in his room.
Anti-embolism socks were put on in recovery (something when we had asked pre admission about; but they knew nothing of). The TEDS had to remain on 24-7 except to remove them twice a day for 20 minutes in which they had to be taken off to give the legs a rest. While wearing the socks, if at anytime they left a mark on the leg, the socks had to be cut.
A catheter was in (another thing we had asked at pre admission about and they said no there wouldn’t be) which was a bit confusing and caused Curtis some stress. But once he was told he was on a 48 hour bed rest, he understood the reason for the catheter being in.
Not being able to move his legs much during this time, heprin was given so to prevent blood clots.
Wiggling his toes and rolling his ankles and knees was the only
limited mobility allowed.
He had 12 staples on each side of his groin (total of 24) that had a span of approximately 5-6 inches in length. A few inches below each of the incision sites was a drain tube which had a plastic bulb which collected the drainage for each side. Each drain was emptied and measured twice a day.
When we asked how many nodes were removed, we were told “too many to count”. A solid mass of nodes is removed in a “fat pad” and is sent for pathology which takes 3-6 weeks.
After the 48 hour bed rest the catheter was taken out.
Once ambulating and drainage was a minimum, it was on the 7th day the drainage tubes were pulled and Curtis was sent home.
Penicillin was given for 7 days with instructions to change his dressing twice a day, keeping the area clean. Once the area showed no drainage on the adherent dressings he could leave it open to the air. If any fever, green drainage or angry redness appeared he was to go to Emerge. Infection is a high risk and needs to be watched.
It is beneficial once the incisions are healed that the embolism stockings be as far up as can be to keep the lymph from settling into the legs. It is of utmost importance to make sure the stockings are proper size so that they are not too tight.
It is also beneficial to wear supportive underwear as well. The chances of lymph settling into the scrotum is high since the lymph nodes are gone. Folding a sock under the scrotum, or a towel when laying down is beneficial.
It helps alleviate any heaviness and being uncomfortable due to lymph settling in.
No heavy lifting for 3-6 weeks. Driving is dependent on your progress in healing after surgery, ask your doctor.
It was 2 1/2 weeks before Curtis had his staples removed. Everyone heals differently so times may vary.
Continued on page 3