Cellulitis blog

Four Months

Its now almost 4 months on.

I have experienced pain on a scale that I never knew existed.

I lost all of my independence and I felt so ill that I did not realize just how ill I had been.

Now I am beginning to feel that I am getting my life back. I have been very lucky to have had such understanding bosses and colleagues and have been able to work from home which has kept my sanity.

I have recently swapped my manual car for an automatic and whilst I am limited on how far I can go, I can at least go out.

I have a lot of things that need to be done now, simple things like dentists and opticians.

The next few months will be another challenge. I have the ability to get around more now but I also need to keep it real. I keep thinking I am back to normal as I have adapted to my disability by instinctively raising my foot when it starts to swell and sitting down when it starts to burn. It is when I do more than usual that I start to pay – mainly in the early evening.

Six Months

Its now the end of June and nearly six months since contracting cellulitis. I am still working from home because the 45 minute drive to work is still a long time in terms of comfort. Especially the drive back! Thankfully my boss is understanding and would rather me get better than rush back early at the risk of making things worse.

The trouble with working from home is that you are in your own comfort zone, you don’t need to wear shoes, you can walk around in shorts if it gets too hot and can switch on the heater if its too cold. This flexibility also extends to the weekend, when you don’t have the demands you can cope. In most cases you don’t need to go somewhere or if you do you can do it in your own time or your own way.

In the last two weeks I have gone from feeling frustrated that I can’t mow our tiny lawn without having to sit down half way through to feeling on top of the world, thinking that I am now better.

The stark reality is yes, I am better, much better than I was 1..2..3 months ago but as I found out last night when I went to buy some shoes, this is a long term recovery and things you used to take for granted have become a challenge. As long as I keep looking back to remind myself how much better I am, I will over come it.

I am hoping to start back at work within the next month, probably once a week.

End of July

I have been working once a week for the last 3 weeks and although I have been fine to work at home, the extra pressure of the 2 x hour drive takes its toll. By the time I get home my foot is red and sore and I am tired, it usually takes a day to return back to ‘normal’.  Sometimes I feel sad that I cannot do what I used to do but I have to keep remembering that 6 months ago they were threatening to remove my leg so although I cant play football with the kids, I do have a leg and things ARE improving.

August 2011

Two weeks leave :-).  I took the decision to stop taking the felodopine at the start of my holiday, the weather was warm and we were out and about for the next two weeks so I assumed that my circulation would be better. It was, I managed to go on my first proper ‘walk’ in the countryside. The kids were into geocaching and there were a few located nearby so we went for a wander. My leg behaved and although it was uncomfortable at times in general I managed to get about well.  Over the fortnight we had several days out and as long as I did not over do thing I got on fine. Near the end of the last week we went out to the coast, stopping off part way there was perfect, it was just the journey home that caused me problems because it took over an hour and a half. After that I suffered from what I call ‘nails and needles’  for a few days. All in all a good couple of weeks.

Back to work :-( only been back at the desk for a few hours and already my fingertips are cold and my feet are like ice.  Something must have affected my circulation. Off to the consultant on Wednesday so will ask what can be done (if anything).

August 18th 2011

The consultant visit was basically a case of being told:

We don’t know what caused it, we don’t know why it was so bad but it may be an immune deficiency and could occur again.  The swelling in the leg and foot is probably caused by damage to the lymph nodes and the Raynauds (cold fingers/toes) is probably down to spasms in the blood vessels which could be caused by the immune deficiency.  Getting support stockings may help with the swelling in the leg and foot but basically there is nothing else that can be done.

To be honest, I was hoping to get some answers and was hoping that there would be something that I could take to help the recovery but I didn’t get anything useful from the appointment.

September-December 2011

Unfortunately I had to move my pages to another host for a while so have lost a few posts so apologies if you have posted and have returned to find it has gone. Here is a summary of how things went.

Support Stockings – for me were a complete nightmare to wear, it just made the burning sensation in my leg worse.

Raynauds – Luckily we had a very mild autumn so I have managed to deal with the raynauds by wearing finger-less gloves when the temperature drops. I find it worse at work because the air conditioning is constantly blowing hot and cold so I find the need to wear the gloves a lot. (much to the amusement of my colleagues).

Physically I am still finding it difficult to travel long distances and am sure that stress doesn’t help the situation.

January 2012

Happy New Year to all.  Best wishes to those of you who have been affected by a similar ailment, be it you personally or a loved one lets hope 2012 is a good one!

One year on…

So here I am one year on, I have reached the stage where things are not improving much. I still find it difficult to drive long distances or sit/stand in the same place for more than 20 mins. My leg is still slightly swollen and is very uncomfortable at times.  Stress makes it worse as does over doing it as I found out after trying to fix the felt back on the shed this weekend.

Seeing 2011 out was phsycologically “difficult” it had been a year that I wont forget in a hurry and a poignant reminder of the events that started a year ago.

The weather has turned cold and I am really feeling the effects. It seems that I need to keep my toes warm but mustn’t get my foot and leg too warm. I made the mistake of wearing thermal socks, I was convinced that the sudden worsening of the burning sensation in my foot was phsycological but by the end of the day I found it difficult to stand for long. It wasn’t until I removed the socks that I could see that my bad foot was bright red and warm.  For the next half hour or so I was on tenterhooks but luckily the redness went down and was almost gone within the hour.

Update 25/1/2012

Not sure what is happening – as I blogged last weekend, I went for a short walk, when I cam back my foot was very red, the next day it was uncomfortable to walk on and by Thursday it was burning and uncomfortable to stand for more than a few minutes.

The side of my foot was particularly sore and over night I started to get a smarting pain near my little toe.  A couple of patches of red were evident on my toe and foot – like a squashed spider.

I went back to the doctor on Friday and whilst there is no obvious sign of a break in the skin, the doctor has erred on the side of caution and given me antibiotics.  By friday night my leg felt full and tender in the calf and thigh. Saturday I just felt lethargic and when I walked it felt that there was no padding under my foot.  Sunday was slightly better but the burning pain is still there all the time the leg is down.

Today its easier to walk, doesn’t feel like bone on bone but its like someone has put my foot in the freezer, its a cold burning sensation.

Tomorrow I see the doctor. I need to know what is happening really – if it is an infection then I would know the signs – if its not then why has it suddenly got worse?

I have also contacted a homeopath and am also due to have MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage) when things have cleared up.

Update 5/2/2012

The antibiotics seem to have worked, the foot has calmed down but its not back to its pre-blip self.  The has put be back on felodopine as she is thinks the burning/freezing sensation is down to the circulation.

I have also seen a homeopath and have been given some remedies to try.

So far its early days, only been taking the remedies for 2 days. There has been no change so far.

Update 25/2/2012

The initial MLD session was a bit of an eye opener, interesting theory. From what I understand, the lymph system is a one way circuit, it is a bit like a hoover, where the heart is the motor and the lymphs are the pipes. The theory behind MLD is that everything end up at the heart and so they stimulate the lymphs starting at the neck and working down, the idea is that this makes space for the ‘rubbish’ in the affected part (in my case the foot).

The first session concentrated on the top half of the system, the next session will work on the foot.

As far as the homeopathic side is concerned, I am due to go back next week but after a month I am not sure what effect it has had.

Update 1st May 2012

Its been a while since I have updated my blog, my recovery from Cellulitis is a long and slow process – the doctors just say its vascular and will take time so over the past 3 months I have been trying the alternative methods alongside the prescribed felodopine.

For details see my new Alternative Approach pages.

Update May 2013

Since last posting my leg is still healing, the rate of recovery is now much slower than it was before. I have to look back several months in order to compare how much things have moved on.  I still have problems with my lower leg and foot being painful and red especially at night and especially when I have been driving and sitting at a desk all day.

I am still under the homeopath because I feel that the sessions are good for the mind, I cant say that the remedies are not effective as the whole principal is based on gradual improvement rather than instant cure.

I am also taking 300mg of (lyrica) Pregabalin a day which has reduced the burning sensation in the side of the foot, it has also had a positive effect in other areas.

7 Responses to Cellulitis blog

  1. Mike Riley says:

    I was hospitalized twice for a cellulitis event almost as severe as yours about 10 years ago. Every once in a while my shin still flares up and it is a painful and worrying time for me. Last week I got a full-blown attack and am on 2 types of antibiotics, 1 which is a daily injection specific to skin infections, the other: augmentin 875. It is going down but I worry I could end up hospitalized for it yet again. I worry about blood clots but so far, so good in that regard.

    Stay tough. My thoughts go out to you

    Mike in Denver

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for your post, really hope you don’t have to go back in. Sounds like the antibiotics are working so am keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  3. Dan Laidlaw says:

    Hi there – I had Cellulitis four years ago after being bitten by a White Tail spider on the back of my leg – several weeks after I bashed the outside of my right foot on a wooden pallet at work. A bruise came up alsoms immediately and it ached for a bit but then overnight the bruising went completely. Two days later the bruising came back with avengance and in the space of a few hours was unable to walk.
    My doctor diagnosed Gout but I’d had that before (through eating too much cheese) so I knew it was not that as never had discolouration of the skin.
    I ended up on IV drops being visited by the APAC nurses from the Royal North Shore Hospital where they came to my work to give me the IV antibiotics. After a week or so it was gone.

    Last Thursday I built a shelf at home and before going to bed noticed my right foot starting to ache – I thought I’d just stood a but funny and tweeked something n my foot. Waking up on the Friday it was swollen and red but not too painful so went to work and in the course of the day got more swollen, discoloured and painful.
    Friday night I had a few beers and had my foot up watching TV then went to do some video editing on the computer – I went to stand to get a drink only to feel what I can only describe as someone stabbing my foot with rusty old babrbed wire and pulling it through my foot and lower leg and I almost fell over as could not put any weight on my right foot at all. My foot was not about twice the size as normal and that night I got no sleep at all so very early in the morning hobbled down to the bus stop and got myself down to A&E where I was seen within a few minutes.

    I was given some Codeine, x-rays and blood tests then put on IV antibiotics.
    The swelling and pain got worse so they organised for APAC (Acute/Post Acute Care) nurses to come to my home and prescribed Panadine Forte (500mg Panaine/30mg of Codeine) which I have to take 2 tablets four times a day and to be honest they do not seem to be stopping the pain, they probably are to an extent but I’d hate to feel what it’s like without them!
    The doctor ordered me off work as said if it’s not kept up and rested and totally off my foot rather than a week off work could turn into a lot longer in hospital and a chance that I may need amputation, not to mention the fact of blood clots and the risk of it getting into my lymph nodes and blood resulting in Sepsis.

    It’s been six days with this now and still off work who are not happy about me not being in as only just got back from the Christmas break and others are on holiday still.
    Just doing the most basic thing as putting shorts on is terrifyingly painful and I’m still not sleeping well with the pain, even trying to get to the toilet or to the kitchen to get some water is a drama and the pain rocks me to my core.
    I have a GP appointment tomorrow (Friday) and APAC have organised transport for me to get there and home again.

    People who do not understand the severity of Cellulitis need to be given a heads up – I had a comment from someone I showed on Skype – they said does not look too bad – bit red and swollen but it’s what’s going on inside they can not see – they can not feel the pain, the frustration, the boredom of being able to do nothing.
    I said to them ok – to describe how this feels get someone to smash you in the foot several times with a sledge hammer and then put your foot in a vice and every time you try to put any weight on it they tighten up the vice on your damaged foot and when you try to lower your leg imagine a massive throbbing painful sensation as all the blood starts running back to your foot increasing the swelling again.

    For anyoneone who has had this I think you’ll say my description is about as acurate as I can get to explain to someone who has not experienced it.
    In this modern day and age where we’ve sent people to the moon, explore the deepest depths of the ocean, have smartphones and technology at our fingertips, there’s no cure for this and other bacterial infections such as the common cold.

    I’ll try and leep you updated on my progress – I’d upload a pic if there was a means of doing it. Sorry f there’s some typos – had some painkillers a short time ago which whack me out a bit.

    Thanks – off to put my foot up again now.

    • admin says:

      Hi Dan,
      Thanks for a very detailed account. I especially like the

      ‘People who do not understand the severity of Cellulitis need to be given a heads up – I had a comment from someone I showed on Skype – they said does not look too bad – bit red and swollen but it’s what’s going on inside they can not see – they can not feel the pain, the frustration, the boredom of being able to do nothing.
      I said to them ok – to describe how this feels get someone to smash you in the foot several times with a sledge hammer and then put your foot in a vice and every time you try to put any weight on it they tighten up the vice on your damaged foot and when you try to lower your leg imagine a massive throbbing painful sensation as all the blood starts running back to your foot increasing the swelling again.’

      It brings it all back and is very true. No one knows how painful it is unless they have suffered!

      Good luck tomorrow, please keep us updated.

  4. Bonnie says:

    It’s interesting to read these blogs about cellulitis and at the same time scary….I thought if I had the right antibiotics it would go away. Memorial Day weekend, I went to my physical therapists to try to do some leg wraps to get my edema in check, I have struggled with edema for years now and has lately been getting worse.
    On that particular visit I ask the therapist if the skin was supposed to feel that hard and that it felt like I had a bad sunburn. She suspected Cellulitis and called my primary who was on hospital duty. She told me to go to ER or the walk in. Not realizing how bad this crap is, I went to the walk in thinking it would be cheaper than the ER. All that doctor kept saying was “Oh geez I’m sorry, you do have cellulitis, geez I’m sorry” He explained a bit to me about the lymphatic system, and said another possible cause could be a blood clot so he sent me to the ER….After 3 hours in the waiting room, they put me in a room and then an hour later started an IV antibiotic, and sent me home with cefalexin or something. After taking a pill every six hours for ten days, it did seem to feel a little better, but a few days after I stopped the pills, it flared up again. It was finals week at the school I work at so I had to be there, no place to prop my leg, I finally couldn’t take the stinging anymore and my calf was swollen like a tree trunk so I went to ER. They set me up with an IV that would stay in for three days. I returned each evening for a treatment. They took it out on the third day citing higher chance of infection there so when I went back the fourth night, they tried to poke me four more times to set up an IV but it didn’t work, small veins, So instead I got two injections jabbed into my butt. and another stronger antibiotic pill to try at home, Oxycycline. It seems to be working but now my stomach is in knots from the medicine……I just want it to be over with. The Lymphedema was hard enough to live with but this is much much worse.

  5. Chad says:

    Had surgery Oct 9th, outcome great and uneventful. 5 days later severe pain between knee and ankle on back of leg. Primary Dr and emergency room did blood work and nothing shows up. Only two guesses are tick bite or cellulitis. Treating with Dioxycycline . Original spot seems to be helped after first two doses but now every joint in my body and every muscle in my body aches tremendously. Both inside thighs and my midsection are almost unbearable. Has anyone experienced this and how to get relief? Please advise if possible

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