17. MSSA – the final countdown

The countdown was on and the conveyor belt was speeding up.  There was one unexpected stop when the Pre Op assessment clinic phoned me and asked me to return as I’d proved positive for MSSA.  This meant phoning school in the morning and requesting cover and going straight up to Derriford to the Pre Op ward – which took 90 minutes as the traffic was back to back – bonkers for a 3 mile journey.

MSSA is a bacteria which can be treated by methicillin class antibiotics and I was colonized with it, this bacteria was present in my nose and on my skin but wasn’t doing any harm (as long as I didn’t have any big incisions – bit of a problem then with a mastectomy looming). The MSSA bacteria is carried by approximately 50% of the healthy adult population at any one time, can be treated by antibiotics and cause skin and soft tissue infections.

The same kind and caring Pre-op nurse explained the treatment which was to wash from the top of my head to under my toes with Hibiscrub and apply an antimicrobial nasal cream up my nose and massage in three times a day.  There was no need to wear a cloak, carry a bell and call “unclean” as I walked, nor did I have to paint a red cross on my house or office door.

Once out of the impossible car park and back in school I was told that my lessons were covered so I could grab a cup of tea and lunch.  My colleagues were so very kind – that recurring theme again.

The op was in three days.  Day one of scrubbing with Hibiscrub loomed and I treated it like a submariner’s shower…. Water on, body wet, water off.  Scrub on – Hibiscrub is pink and there isn’t much foam, scalp to toes, all nooks and crannies… water on, rinse off, clean towel, towel in washing basket, clean bedding, clean nightwear… but no cloak, no bell and no red cross ………….so it could have been worse!

At the same time as I had to wash with Hibiscrub my “only fiend” (not a typo) who lives in the Land Down Under sent me some lovely, lovely paraben free Aesop smellies.  A bit of a contrast.  Even though only fiend was thousands of miles away I knew she was rooting for me.  Mastectomy – minus 2.5 days and counting. Hibiscrub

Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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