Saturday, December 23, 2006

Infection? Tissue Scarring?

After the big scare Tuesday, my oncologist put me on an IV drip of antibiotics the following morning. She said it was an infection -- it was red and swollen. The chest pains had stopped, but the swelling and redness got worse. She sent me home with a 7-day course of oral antibiotics but the swelling kept getting worse. Now the right side is bigger than the left and it’s bright red and quite painful.

The oncologist wants me to go back for another infusion of antibiotics this morning.

I also talked to my reconstruction surgeon yesterday and he said it could be an infection (cellulitis) of the soft tissue above the implant, which would be fixed with antibiotics. Or it could be an infection of the chest wall or tissue under the implant, which could require surgery to remove the implant. I don’t really get this -- why wouldn’t antibiotics get the infection no matter where it was? Or the third option is it could be damaged tissue from too much movement and heavy lifting over the past week. We’ve just moved into our newly renovated house, so I’ve been lugging heavy boxes, packing and unpacking for the past week. If it’s damaged tissue, the surgeon says I would just have to let the chest and arm rest and it would heal itself gradually.

The big relief is that neither my oncologist nor my surgeon has mentioned the possibility of it being a return of cancer. I did a Google search for “chest pain radiation breast cancer” and got a lot of information about the pain being a sign of cancer cells in the lining of the lung, chest wall, or rib area. That was the big scare. So compared to that scenario, a chest infection or tissue scarring seem like very welcome options.

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