Friday, November 20, 2009

My skin and I - a love hate relationship

I have super-sensitive skin, can only use allergy tested fragrance free skin products, fragrance free laundry detergents etc.

When I had had so much success with the Medihoney treating my stoma infection this summer, I decided to also start using the Medihoney barrier cream for the skin around my stoma to protect it from friction through the button and stomach acid. Unfortunately I had some type of reaction to the cream. I don't think it was the cream itself, it was more the fact that it somehow plugged my sweat glands and when I sweat underneath my dressing the hair follicles on my skin became infected. I have been silently watching this rash for six weeks, trying different things, not using certain things, hoping for it to get better. It always looks better in the morning, but as soon as I started to sweat only a bit, it would start to look really red and angry again.

My tube and consequently my stoma is my lifeline. And knowing I had some kind of rash going on that didn't really go away on its own put me under a lot of stress.

Wednesday I finally capitulated and made an appointment at a dermatologists. I found a private dermatologist that takes patients at short notice and I had my appointment this morning.

I am so glad I went and didn't sit around and watch the rash any longer. Turns out I have atopic excema, and several factors like the barrier cream, the sweating underneath the dressing, my many allergies contributed to me developing this excema.

The dermatologist took a skin culture and I have to start using a steroid cream. I also have to disinfect the affected area. I hate doing that because I was told to not use disinfectants with my stoma and I don't have the rash on my stoma. I will try my best to not get any disinfectant near it :-) and keep it clear from the steroid cream.

The dermatologist promised me that we will be able to heal it, but I am just so impatient. I want it to be better NOW, so that I don't have to worry about it any longer. I am dependent on this feeding tube and everything that comes with it to work.

I have a question though for fellow tube-feeders. Do you use dressings underneath your button/g-tube? I just read in an old mic-key button manual that I found while cleaning up that you are not supposed to use dressings long-term. I am not sure if the dressing contributed to the excema, but on the other hand, my stoma gets really wet without a dressing and the last time I stopped using dressings for a few weeks I developed my stoma infection.

Sometimes I just hate all of this. I hate that I have to deal with and worry about stuff like this.


Stephanie said...

I don't believe that using a dressing is bad. The real consern is that you tend to use a dressing to absorb moisture, and if it gets wet and you don't change it often enough it will cause an infection.
If your stoma tend s to get wet without one then that will cause an infection.
Use them if you really need to, just change it often and keep the stoma as clean and dry as possible. That's the trick :)

Tube Girl said...

I have come to the same conclusion - I rather use a dressing than having a wet stoma and getting an infection again. I change them twice a day now and am still experimenting with a barrier spray to protect my skin from stomach juices. Do you use any barrier cream around V's stoma?