Help!! Open Wound That Won't Heal

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by jhmitch, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    Back in late February, I had my 4th ventral hernia repair which was done with traditional "open" surgery using mesh. The surgeon was excellent but I got pneumonia (due to having a paralyzed vocal cord) and was allergic to most of the antibiotics used to treat it, so I was hospitalized for 8 days - with two days in the ICU.

    Now the incisional opening in my abdomen is not healing, despite wearing a VAC machine (24/7) from the hospital wound center, to suction-out the serous fluid accumulating in this area. I also have constant hives which are being treated with Zyrtec and hydroxyzine.

    My surgeon feels the mesh will have to come out, but is researching whether or not there is another way to handle this problem since I have such a hard time with surgery.

    Though I am a 57 year-old diabetic, my blood sugar readings have been very good since I left the hospital (I'm very careful about what I eat). However, I also have FMS, COPD, high blood pressure, neuropathy, arthritis, minor heart failure, and multiple allergy problems.

    One thing that has been stressed to me by both doctors and nurses is that I have to get more protein into my diet. Do any of you know of supplements that increase protein and/or assist in wound healing?

    Any ideas would be most welcome! I'm getting very depressed over this series of events - especially since no one seems to know a safe way to remedy it.


    [This Message was Edited on 04/13/2006]
  2. findmind

    findmind New Member

    When I was very sick in 1990-91, I got protein powder at health food store...put in whatever you can, I liked milk at the time; can use soy vanilla milk, too..good!

    It helped me so much with weight and overall strengthing, maybe it could help you.

    Don't think there are any "sugars" in it, either.

    You've really been thru it, haven't you? I hope the drs find a good solution to your surgery problem and you get recovered really fast now..

    Hugs to you...
  3. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    Thank you for your good advice and support, FindMind!

    We have a health food store which is a couple of miles from where we live, so I'll check-out what they have in protein supplements, tomorrow morning.

    In appreciation,

  4. Jane_Canuck

    Jane_Canuck New Member

    not to add to your what you hhave already list but JUST A SUGGESTION>.....

    Try a dermatologist and have a wee bit of the wound biopsied for lupus. I have been told by my rheumy that if I ever get a wound that will not heal and it is going on over 4 or 5 weeks not matter what caused it get it to the dermatologist.

    Lupus and FMS have many of the same markers. I am 1 marker away from having either lupus or ruematoid arthritus or both!

    Just my 2 cents, and a dermatologist may have suggestions for healing it just as a wound center would and personally i trust the derma more. Had a crappy time with our wound clinic with hubby since he is diabetic.

    GL Brenda
  5. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    Sure do appreciate all of you who took the time to respond to my post!


    WakeMeUp - Thanks for suggesting the wound clinic. I do have a weekly appointment at our local wound clinic (plus they send Visiting Nurses every two days to change my dressing) and they gave me the portable VAC Freedom machine which is draining the problem area. Unfortunately, no matter what they try, the area over the implanted mesh doesn't seem to want to heal. Every week, the doctor has to remove more tissue and we try all over again.

    Hangininthere - Good idea about the garlic pills! I've never had a problem with garlic, so I'll pick some up on my trip to the health food store, tomorrow. I appreciate the suggestion.

    Jane_Canuck (GL Brenda) - You and I seem to have somewhat similar immune system problems since you wrote:

    "Lupus and FMS have many of the same markers. I am 1 marker away from having either lupus or ruematoid arthritus or both!"

    At one point, my family doctor thought I had lupus, one rheumatologist felt I had mixed connective tissue disorder, but another specialist finally decided I didn't (based on more lab results). That was 4 years ago, so maybe a new round of blood tests are in order. Unfortunately, my immune system is one big mess which sure isn't helping things.

    Dermatologists in our area are booked solid (even for emergencies) but I am going to see my allergist next week and the rheumatologist in two weeks: maybe they can order some blood tests.


    Hugs to you all,

  6. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    my first thought was oh i hope they don't have diabetes...well you do...

    i do not know what to say except there are protein powders at any vitamn store...and of course you know what to look out for no sugar......

    hugs and quick healings to you..

  7. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    We went to the local health food store first thing this morning, and I've already consumed a protein shake plus taken one garlic capsule. Hopefully, this combo will jump-start some wound healing - it can't hurt. Thanks for the supplement suggestions!

    Jodie - Yep, I'm an insulin-dependent diabetic. Strangely enough, despite this, there have never been any problems with my incisions healing after other operations, so I guess it must be either the type of mesh that was used in this hernia repair or else my haywire immune system is attacking the abdominal tissue that is trying to heal.

    Your kind words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

    Many hugs to all,

  8. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member


    So sorry for all of the health problems. You must have much strength. We are about the same age and for much needed protein I believe, although IMHO, a nice filet mignon, calves liver and some chicen/pork. I am a big believer in lean red beef though. That is how I tackle the protein issue.

    I hope your medical problems are resolved soon.

  9. ritatheresa

    ritatheresa New Member

    I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles

    I'm a homecare RN and I dealt with someone who had the same wound, it was the largest wound I have ever seen, very resistant to treatment.

    She did wind up having the mesh removed, and her wound ultimately closed up.

    She had daily visits from an RN to perform her wound care. Have you ever discussed this with your Dr? Anything that even suggested any problems we were on the Dr immediately. Yes, it annoyed him but it took the burden off the patient and her family.

    I would say you should try and get some protein powder and add it to your food or drink. Do you know your albumin level?

    I'm going to check this post again, take care, Ritatheresa
  10. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Please do NOT drink Ensure or other so called nutrient drinks. If you read the labels, they are full of chemicals and artificial ingredients. You are better off with fresh, natural foods!!

    Honey and sugar have been shown to be good topical wound healers, but please talk to your medical team about using them, ok? You have several complicating health factors, so consult your team!

    I hope this all works out for you. You've been through a lot.