Question – skin infection
June 15, 2019 at 6:06 pm #46905
Hi there. My husband has been watch and wait for MDS. He will be getting another bone marrow biopsy shortly as his numbers have been steadily going down and he has been sick on/off since February (3 bouts of food poisoning, skin infection on chin/mouth area, influenza A, strange virus in throat/tonsils). In the interim his Hemo took another round of blood tests. We got the results yesterday afternoon late so we haven’t spoken to his doctor yet. His counts are low, his WBC is at 3, Hgb 31, Hct 11, neutrophils 1000 and the other four WBC’s (eosos, basos, monos,etc), low too.
Our question, last night he felt a pain in his leg and saw that a boil/abscess was present. It is red and infected but still contained. The skin around it warm to touch. Is this something that we should just treat with topical antibiotic ointment? I went through the patient portal and left a message for him but it being the weekend I doubt he will see it until Monday morning. I don’t want to overreact, is he OK to just wait it out until Monday? I don’t want us to go up to the hospital if it is not necessary. And I don’t want to make him nervous. I just don’t know what I should do.
I hope everyone here is smiling and feeling good. If anyone could help me out with any thoughts on past experiences that you all may have had, it would be helpful. Many many thanks.
MalissaJune 16, 2019 at 6:46 am #46906MichaelParticipant
I have been on watch and wait for 3 yrs. My wbc is generally less than 2.0 and anc below 500 at each monthly blood test. Accordingly I have had a number of skin infections/ abscesses. I hot pack the abscesses get them to drain and keep them clean and covered until they heal and wash the area with antibacterial soap.
In March of this yr. I did seek medical care for a stubborn abscess when I developed a fever. The abscess was incised and drained and the infection was determined to be mrsa. I was prescribed antibiotics for a month before the infection cleared.
I have followed a cautious approach since diagnosis 3 yrs ago. Wash my hands frequently, carry Purcell, avoid sick people and cover ALL skin breaks until healed.
We are all different in how the disease affects our bodies. My local hematologist has more concern about my low wbc than my Ctr of Excellence physician.
Hope this helps.June 16, 2019 at 7:13 am #46907
Thank you Michael. This is very helpful. I kept thinking how many times over the years that we all may have had a sore like this here and there and treat it as you described, no real worries. In the 36 years of marriage, I have never seen my husband battle so many back to back illnesses as he has since February, including the Afib/Afib flutter issues I did not mention for which he was hospitalized.
Your post helped put the “pause” button on wanting to get him immediate care. Thank you! His local hematologist is getting a bit concerned now. It seems the wait and watch is showing some changes now. We are thinking it may be time now to head to Sydney Kimmel Center (HOPKINS) since he is suggesting another BMB.
It is reassuring to hear that although your counts seem very very low, you are doing well. I hope you continue doing well for many years to come.
When we were first told about this MDS he was watching for, I utilized my time and researched, joined this wonderful forum. In the whole scheme of things, he was doing pretty well except for being so very tired due to the anemia. I felt reassured that things would be OK. But I’m not gonna lie, since February seeing him battle all of this, my nerves are jumbled and I am truly scared for him; for all of you challenged with this disease. He is a pharmacist and does 12 hour shifts on his feet. We are trying to ride out the next 2 years so he can retire at 65.
We have a strong faith and lean heavily on the promises it teaches. Please be well Michael and thank you for responding.
MalissaJune 16, 2019 at 7:37 am #46908MichaelParticipant
Thanks for the well wishes and kind words. I am a retired accountant, and it was very difficult for me to accept my MDS expert saying “Don’t worry about the numbers” when I inquire about my wbc levels. Fortunately my rbc and hgb are only modestly low (4.3 and 12.2) so I am not yet plagued by the fatigue that many suffer. I am still able to mow the lawn, do my house chores and more importantly walk the golf course 4 times each week and engage with my 8 grandkids/Petri dishes, when they are not sick.
My best to you and your husband.June 17, 2019 at 9:28 am #46911
Hi Michael. The two ointments seemed to do the trick. Abscess not as red and skin around not as hot to touch; less painful. I took about eight hours this weekend here on the forum reading a number of stories and comments. It does help put things into perspective reminding us that everyone’s body is different and reacts uniquely under otherwise same scenario counts. Three people with equally low counts have different quality of life challenges, some none at all. I guess we will learn Leon’s soon enough. The WBC’s and ANC counts are a new phenomenon for him really. The anemia was the challenge in the beginning and that was a simple fix really, Leon working at his pace taking breaks when needed, taking naps etc. No real biggie in the whole scheme of things. It does worry me that his WBC/ANC have changed and he is visibly symptomatic. It does not help that he has a cranky heart suffering with persistent a fib and a fib flutter. The low hemoglobin just irritates it that much more.
We have a bright side too! We have 4 children and our oldest daughter is expecting our fist granddaughter in October! We are so very excited. Our kids have been moving in a very slow lane in this regard more emphasis on their careers. Our oldest daughter married two years ago and we cannot wait to meet our granddaughter.
Be healthy and happy!
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