Diagnosed with throat cancer, life quickly turned into hospital visits, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and surgery. Radiation treatment on my throat cancer meant that I couldn’t eat, drink or swallow. It even cost me my teeth! As was the experience of other people in similar situations where they are unable to or have difficulty eating or drinking, I needed to have Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) surgery to pass a PEG tube into my stomach through my abdominal wall so that I could be fed.
Wow! This was painful and uncomfortable and messy. Every time I moved it would shift and snag causing the wound site to bleed or pull out altogether. When I tried to sleep at night my feeding tube would move around and end up somewhere else – usually with pain when it caught or snagged on something. The adhesive tape used to secure the PEG tube was painful– my skin was so sensitive from the treatment that it would be raw from having to constantly reapply the tape.
There had to be a better way and now there is! The Embracing Life™ harness was developed out of a need to help secure the PEG tube more effectively.
Fitting snugly around my chest and centred on my back, and featuring a shoulder strap for better placement on my body, the Embracing Life™ harness has a number of separate slots to secure the feeding tube so that my PEG tube would sit comfortably on my body, stay straight and not move around. The allergy free elastic material and plastic clips meant that I could keep the Embracing Life™ harness on when receiving my radiation treatment or if I needed to have an x-ray, or even have a shower! I could move around and sleep comfortably knowing that my PEG tube would not move or become snagged.
Changing the Embracing Life™ harness daily was easy to do with the use of the plastic clips, keeping it clean was simply a matter of putting it into the washing machine and allowing it to dry afterwards.
The difference the Embracing Life™ harness made to my feeding regime was immediate and significant. My PEG tube was secure and stable, with the PEG tube kept high so that there was no chance of any leaking, my feeding tube stayed put so I wasn’t in any discomfort, and the site of my wound didn’t weep. I didn’t need to use any adhesive tape which was a great relief given how raw it left my skin.
Whilst wearing the Embracing Life™ harness I never experienced any leakage, my wound site stayed clean and clear of any infection and at the end of the 6 months when my feeding tube was removed, my wound healed within a week. This was in stark contrast to friends I had made during my hospital stay who had experienced problems and infection and had to go back into surgery as second time or had to contend with the pain, discomfort and infection of a leaking wound site and the abrasiveness of the adhesive tape on their skin.