Fungal Infection Trust
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Invasive Aspergilius Fumigata and breast expander .. and microwaveable heat pack

In February 2012 I was unfortunate enough to get Breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy .. I had a brilliant surgeon who inserted an expander to expand my skin to accommodate a silicon implant at a later date ... everything was going well and my implant was scheduled for late Sept 2012 .. in early September I awoke feeling generallly unwell , temperature and pain and redness over expander , luckily I was able to see my consultant who admitted me straight away to ward for bloods and IV antibiotics ...I felt dire, in so much pain I needed oromorph .. and my CRP was 300+ and WBC was 28+ .. and Temperature over 39degrees .. blood cultures revealed nothing .. after 3 days the surgeon having seen no improvement took me to theatre and removed expander .. the cavity was full of puss like substance which they took swabs of , washed out and inserted a drain .. and I continued in various combinations of antibiotics with no real effect on how I felt or my blood picture .. 2 days later I was informed of swab results .. Aspergillium Fumigata .. I am a midwife and nurse of 30 years and had never heard of it .. I was treated with IV Voriconazole and Tazocin 3 times a day for a month .. (apparently very expensive stuff!) .. eventually I was allowed home on oral Viriconazole for a week ... I was totally unaware of how serious an infection this was until today when I visited a botanical garden and saw a display regarding Aspergillium ... I was obviously immunocompromised after chemo , it was a mystery as to where I picked up this infection as I rarely ventured out .. then it came to me , I used a wheat heat pack to alleviate the discomfort of the stretched skin of my breast due to expander.. thus was a microwaveable heat pack that was bought cheaply from a Christmas marked for my daughter.. it smelt awful but did the job so I ignored the smell as it gave me relief .... after my aspergillium experience I went on to successfully have my implant in Dec of 2012 and am currently well with no signs of return infections .... moral of story.. avoid cheap hot packs contains seeds

1 Reply

A salutary tale! Thanks for sharing that, I know people who use them regularly. So pleased that all is well now.


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