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Topic: Help - cellulitis - worried and afraid -- any advice out there?

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Nov 16, 2018 05:05PM

rrs wrote:

I've had LE for about 15 years and had avoided an infection until this week. I'm trying to figure out what happened. I had a small split in my thumb and had been applying Neosporin and bandaid. I was at work - clothing consignment shop, so there is no telling what I may have come in contact with. The pain started on my bicep and at first I thought I had pulled something until I noticed a few welts. Then, the pain continued to increase and spread. I ended up in emergency room with extreme pain and redness and a high temp. I was admitted to hospital and put on IV antibiotic overnight. After labs, it was determined that the infection was a type of strep so they changed the antibiotic to Clindamycin. After another night in hospital, the redness had decreased so I was sent home with oral Rx. Reading the information about the Rx was scary as well :-0.

I'm curious about how this all started. Seems that, if it was the little cut on my thumb, the infection would have started there and gone up my arm rather than starting above the elbow. I still have no swelling in my hand or wrist. I'm wondering if it was a bug bite? My arm is looking a lot better but still warm and swollen in areas - I hope the antibiotic continues to knock this out.

Any advice as to how to go from here? Dr. wants me to go for LE therapy but I'm worried that the infection will spread. I'm worried in general :-/. It has been a scary few days. I have a follow up with Dr. on Tuesday.

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Nov 17, 2018 03:49PM Denise-G wrote:

Oh so sorry - I have LE and am not an expert on cellulitis other than I am afraid of it. It certainly sounds like the infection came from your thumb, but as I said, I'm no expert. You will probably never know for sure.

So glad things are improving and getting better. Thank goodness you went to ER right away! Wishing you all the best!

www.denise4health.wordpress.com my BC Blog with over 200 informative posts about all aspects of BC - stop by! Myself, my mom, and sister were all diagnosed with BC within 3 years. What a ride! Dx 10/10/2011, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 11/23/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 12/27/2011 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/28/2012 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 10/11/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 17, 2018 06:15PM - edited Nov 17, 2018 06:28PM by JO-5

rrs,

From someone with LE, and have had cellulitis 7x. Yes it can be in your upper arm from the thumb cut.

I've had it several times in the upper arm from 1. a sewing needle stick under the finger nail, 2. A burn on the back of my hand. 3. Nail products with formaldehyde in it.

Some of the times I never knew what caused it.

This last time after no cellulitis for several years was from a deer fly bite.

I have never had LE or cellulitis in my wrist and hand.

You should see a qualified LE therapist (easier said than done finding a good one).......but not until the infection is done.

Take a look at this site. There is a lot of good info here

http://www.stepup-speakout.org

Joanne

Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.
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Nov 19, 2018 08:49PM tsoebbin wrote:

I'm sorry you're suffering. Are you still in pain? Sending healing thoughts your way.

I am 54 and Love Travel, My Family and Friends, and Life in General! Dx 4/4/2016, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 5/10/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 5/11/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/27/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Nov 19, 2018 09:27PM reflect wrote:

Sorry you have LE and cellulitis, it stinks. I’ve had 3 bouts with cellulitis in my breast, last one I had 3 days in hospital on vancomycin. I missed the signs and it had spread a lot before I saw it. I do remember I was not to wear compression or do any MLD until it was clear. My doc will write an rx for me to fill when I first notice symptoms, so that’s my plan. Pay attention and act quickly when I notice. Good luck

Hormonal Therapy 9/20/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 10/1/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 2/3/2016, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 7/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/25/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/13/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary
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Dec 3, 2018 11:28AM ck55 wrote:

So sorry this happened to you! I have had mild/moderate lymphedema since 2007 and just had a nasty bout of cellulitis in September. I woke up that morning with a sore upper arm that I assumed I had slept on wrong. Continued to worsen until I had a red swollen arm a a fever of 102. Ended up in the hospital on IV antibiotics for 3 days. I too had strep and it had gotten into my blood! Very scary. The thing is I have no clue as to what caused it. No cuts, burns, etc. to my hand or arm? I was told by my onc that this is not an infrequent occurrence. Now I am seeing a PT to get the swelling in my arm down and hoping I never have to deal with this again.

Best of luck to you!

Cynd

DX 11/9/06 9cm ILC Stage 3A Mastectomy ER+ PR+ HR- 2/16 Nodes DD AC/Taxol Radiation
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Dec 3, 2018 05:41PM rrs wrote:

Thank you everyone. I'm better now and arm swelling is under control. But it took a while to get over the fatigue from the infection and probably the antibiotic.

CK55 - sounds so similar to my experience. Glad you got medical help and got it under control. Let's hope we have no more of this but now we know what to look for. I won't wait if I ever have symptoms again.

I think I'll ask my doctor of an Rx for antibiotic just in case.

So thankful for this site and the support.


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Dec 3, 2018 09:51PM tsoebbin wrote:

What type of prescription do you carry for your just in case scenario?Smile

I am 54 and Love Travel, My Family and Friends, and Life in General! Dx 4/4/2016, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 5/10/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 5/11/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/27/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Dec 4, 2018 07:38AM rrs wrote:

Yes, I would like to know as well what prescription to keep on hand. I know it depends upon the type of infection but something general to take until getting to the doctor would be helpful.


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Dec 6, 2018 07:27AM JO-5 wrote:

I carry Cipro but that is because I am allergic to everything else.

JO-5

Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.

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