MegTayMcc wrote:Janie, can you explain what you mean by irrigating the wound?
About 3 weeks post-surgery, I noticed that the drainage became a bit smelly. At my follow-up appointment with the surgeon, he determined that it wasn't infected yet, but that the wound needed irrigating to be kept clean. So every day, anurse would come to my home and clean the wound with a syringe of saline solution. The syringe would be inserted into the hole and the saline solution would 'irrigate' the internal tissue to kkep it clean. Then the nurse would pack the wound with a thin mesh using a qtip. The mesh would stay in until the next day.
This was thought to be helpful with healing the wound at the time. After many weeks of this and no improvement in the size or drainage of the wound, my surgeon recommended dropping the mesh and just basically keeping the irrignation part. This wasn't pratical as someone else had to do it for me, so I just used the shower to gently send a flow of water into the area where the drainage came from. This has kept the wound from becoming infected.
From my experience, chemo stops the wound from healing, or slows healing to a snail's pace. In my non-expert, non-medical opinion, delaying chemo isn't a viable option since you'd have to delay it quite a while to get the wound to heal completely. It sounds awful, but the pain lessens with time and you get used to dealing with the drainage. Even now, 3.5 years later, I still wear an abdominal compress (a 6-inch square pad of absorbent cotton) in my undies to catch the drainage, all because I'm on chemo for life. The only time I wasn't on chemo, the wound closed up within 4 months.
My stiches weren't the melting kind in the perineal area, they were taken out 4 weeks post surgery. The melting ones can take a long time to be absorbed by the body, so it's possible that they aren't helping with your pain but please ask your surgeon.
After many consultations with my surgeon and wound care nurse, we've come to the conclusion that the drainage will remain as long as i'm on chemo. As long as the area is kept clean, there isn't much I can do about it. I've had a few times when the drainage became extra smelly and that told me that I was close to an infection, so I would have the wound irrigated to get a better clean.
I know it's disappointing to hear stories of long delays in healing. I remember being upset post-surgery when I thought it could take 4-6 months to heal. I'm not sharing this to bum you out, but to let you know that there are ways of dealing with it that don't greatly affect your quality of life. Also, everyone is different so you could very well heal quickly once chemo is done.
Rectal cancer dx 04/13 @ 42, MSS, KRAS positive
T3N2M1 (1 lung met)
5 weeks xeloda+radiation finished 07/13
APR 9/13 (permanent colostomy), 27/31 nodes positive
12 rounds of FOLFOX 04/14
Lung met growth 11/14
26 cycles Regorafenib (Stivarga) from 11/15 to 01/17
New lung met and chest/neck lymph nodes 01/17
1 cycle Folfiri