Going Against Conventional Medical Treatment

On March 7th, I saw a new doctor at a different wound center for my wound. I was switched to another antibiotic – Cubicin. The previous doctor put me on Rocephin after I had an allergic reaction to Vancomycin. The bug I have, Enterococcus, is resistant to Rocephin and my wound went downhill very rapidly. The doctor at Ohio Valley General Hospital Wound Care Center did not consult with an infectious disease doctor. I learned a very important wound care lesson – if you have an infection, make sure you have an infectious disease doctor involved. I now have an infectious disease doctor and am on the right antibiotic.

The bad news was that the wound is now down to the bone and I was told that without surgery, it would not heal. I am again faced with having surgery that I do not want to have. Regardless of whether I choose to have surgery or pass on surgery, it is not going to be an easy path.

I don’t expect anyone to understand my decision – in fact, most people who I have talked to really don’t understand, but I am not going to do surgery. Some people seem to think that because I am not going to do surgery that I am choosing death. That is far from the case. I am choosing life and I intend to put up one h*ll of a fight to keep mine!

No one else has walked in my shoes and have been thru the things that I have been thru to be able to understand my reasons. Although there are a bunch of things that have gone into that decision, the path I am going to choose to go down really boils down to two things: 1) I am going to pick the path that I believe that I have the best chance of surviving and 2) my quality of life both long-term and going down that road.

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Foot: Rollercoaster to Insane Nightmare

I looked at my blog this AM and just saw it has been a month since I last posted.  After my last post, I saw the doctor at Pittsburgh wound center.  I told him that I wanted to try antibiotics and not surgery. 

They made arrangements for me to get a PICC line in, which I did on Monday, February 11th.   Protocols have changed since I was last on IV antibiotics and you now have to have your first infusion done at a hospital and not at home.  I had my first bag of Vancomycin done at the hospital that day.  It was a very long day and I was exhausted when I got home.  The next morning, the home nurse came in to get me started on doing it myself at home.

Friday morning, she had to come back to do blood work.  With Vancomycin, they need to test your levels to make sure you are getting enough of it in your blood.  I didn’t have enough so they upped my dose for Saturday morning.

The following Tuesday, I woke up really sick in my stomach, had a headache and the start of a rash on my face.  I very rarely get headaches so that was not normal for me.  I had a rash from Vancomycin before but it wasn’t on my face.  Nausea, headaches and rashes are all side effects of Vancomycin. 

The nurse was coming again for more blood work.  Later that afternoon, the pharmacist at the infusion company called to tell me that my levels were still low and they needed to up my dose again.  I told her about being sick and was concerned that it was from the increased Vancomycin levels.  She told me that they would only send a small amount of the Vancomycin and would check on me on Wednesday.

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Foot Rollercoaster: Osteomyelitis, Idiots and Hard Decisions

As some of you know, I have been dealing with what started as a minor foot ulcer last April. I started having problems with an infection last fall and it seems like it has been downhill ever since. When I was on antibiotics, I felt better and my foot felt better. I would finish the antibiotics, get sick again and my foot was really sore. I heard from several doctors that I did not have an infection – they made that decision on how my foot looked, not on any blood tests to check for infection. One doctor did order a bone scan in November and that came back that I had a soft tissue infection. He still insisted I did not have an infection and I was not placed on antibiotics.

I was in the hospital before Christmas and that was a nightmare! After I came home, I went to a walk-in clinic and the nurse practitioner there did blood work and placed me on an antibiotic. She also wanted to follow me until my appointment at the wound center.

I had an appointment scheduled for Friday, December 28th at the wound center. About 3:00 PM the afternoon before, they called me to reschedule that appointment. I ended up having to wait 3 weeks to get in. When I tried to tell her that I was sick, the nurse blew off my having an infection because the culture came back negative when I was in the hospital. When I tried to tell her that they kept putting me back on the same antibiotic and it didn’t seem to be killing whatever it was I had, she told me which antibiotic I was on didn’t matter. Anyone that has ever seen a culture knows that statement is just not true!

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MRI of My Foot

Friday afternoon, I had an MRI of my foot to make sure that I don’t have osteomyelitis again. Because my doctor’s appointment is fairly close to when I had the MRI done, they gave me the CD with the images on. Surely they didn’t think I wouldn’t take a peek!

I drew a red line around the area that they are concerned about – they think because it is kind of on the pointy side, it is causing problems. That is where the AlloMatrix that was put in my foot slipped. Everyone is worried that it is causing problems. I am not too keen on having surgery and would rather live with what I know than risk surgery and the unknown.

MRI of foot with AlloMatrix slippage