I'm sure we're all now well versed in the effects of chemo and steroids on our immune system. My little tale should help serve as a reminder...
I have just returned from 2 glorious weeks on the Algarve, which my consultants let me fit in between chemo cycles. I was a little worried about travelling with active Vasculitis but I really couldn't let my kids down and I really needed the holiday too. So 6 days in, I find there's a pea sized lump growing between my legs (stop sniggering at the back, PAN does involve the testicles you know). Day 7 and I noticed I was sweating more than normal. Day 8 and the lump was the size of a golf ball. I was running a temperature and feeling really sick. The nearest hospital was in Faro, 50 miles away and I really didn't want to have to explain PAN and my treatment to a foreign doctor. So my partner bought me some needles which I sterilised in a flame and used to lance the big lump. I pushed them an inch deep into the cyst, but nothing came out. I was by now in agony; the cyst was infected and the spreading round my groin. I had an area the size of a hanky now hot, red and inflamed. Walking was dreadful, sitting much worse.
That night I slept fitfully, and shivered through the night despite the heat. The following day my temperature was raging, so I resigned myself to a hospital trip and possible septicemia. Then the cyst bust. I won't go into anymore detail than to say it was utterly disgusting, and you will really know a staphylococcal infection if you ever get one . I cleaned the wound up as best I could, and the pain subsided as the cyst drained itself over the next 4 days. I was then able to enjoy the rest of my holiday worry free. Tomorrow I'm back for chemo provided my white cell count is OK; my CRP and ESR levels will be high as I can feel PAN gnawing away.
Moral of the story; check your holiday insurance. It was only when I ready the policy did I see that my bank had specifically excluded vasculitis. I was very lucky the infection in my bloodstream didn't take root in my organs. Self surgery is not to recommended, and always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional. And I have been told stubborness is not one of my bet qualities