A Challenging Treatment

 

Last Thursday the treatment room was filled with prayers as Wendi (my treatment angel that week) and I were watching the mayhem of getting enough blood out of me.
Now I know I have lots of blood running through my veins and my port is connected to a larger vein than my arm, so what’s the problem? The nurse, we’ll call her M, usually has trouble getting blood, it may come slowly or takes a while to get started, but always eventually a success. Not this time.

 

M could not get even a quarter vial.
She had me turn my head…sometimes the tubing is twisted.
She had me stand…then sit…then stand…trying to get blood each time.English: Santa Rita, Guam (June 16, 2005) - Bl...
She had me cough…and again…and again…no avail.

 

M decided to get another nurse to help and as she left Wendi and I prayed together…so glad I did. Upon M’s return with another nurse, M pushed against my port and ribs as the other nurse worked the syringe. Wow! That was uncomfortable, but again…praying through it helped. They were able to get enough to take to the lab.

 

Or so we thought. An hour later, which is really longer than ever before, M came back in with a different tray than normally she come in to begin chemo.
Well that was because the lab did not have enough blood to get a good platelet count. This time M was not trying the port, she’s going in to the arm.

 

But that’s why I got the port installed, to eliminate more needle sticks and continue use of the arm veins. But it had been almost 2 hours and we needed to start treatment, so into the arm she went. Plenty of blood that way!

 

After another 30 minutes we were finally able to start chemo.

 

Since we were getting such a late start, they chose to push the Taxol faster than normal. Usually Taxol takes around 90-100 minutes. They sped up the drip and finished in a record 60 minutes, the Herceptin follows Taxol, but they can’t push that any faster than 30 minutes anyway. Leaving the Cancer Care Center was harder than my normal weekly treatments…I was exhausted and a little weak. I believe it was pushed too fast, however side effects do accumulate, whatever the reason, I was not going to make the meeting I had at work that night.

 

I have been very fortunate that I have been able to work from home over the weekend and take my treatment days off. My side effects I believe are manageable because I am able to go home and rest. I thought “if all goes well at the treatment, I can at least do the opening prayer and introductions and be present at the parent meeting.” Not after that treatment day…Thank goodness my coordinator was totally fine covering the meeting…because Kevin lead me to the couch, where I remained from 6:00-9:00 pm. He keep trying to get me to go to sleep, but on treatment days, I force myself to stay awake until 9:00 since I don’t sleep well anyway, if I fell asleep at 7:00 I would be completely awake at midnight. I would much rather be awake with my husband and son and then wake up at 3:00. That’s better right?

 

What an exhausting day at Uof C!

 

On Friday I called UofC to inquire about getting my blood work done the day before. They said that would not be a problem, so I scheduled my next blood work for Wednesday afternoon. I had another parent meeting yesterday, that I really did not want to miss, since I missed a different meeting last week. Thinking getting the blood work done ahead of time would at the very least help with time, so they did not have to push the Taxol so quickly.

 

I went for Wednesday’s blood work and they asked “do you want us to draw from your arm or the port”. I was planning on no hassles and doing the arm, but since it was a different nurse, I was curious to see if she experienced the same struggles as M. So port it was!

 

As we were talking, I realized she was changing the vials already! I asked if she had any problems getting the blood and she said “no, not at all”…such a relief! Now I just am praying treatment goes smoothly on Thursday.  And it did! Kathy was my treatment angels and they did not have to push anything faster and although I was tired, I did make the meeting at work. Don’t worry, Kevin drove me…(can’t drive with the Benadryl in my system after treatment)…and was watching me the whole time to see if he needed to lovingly pull me to go home…I survived…well I slept on the way to and from…but was conscious at the meeting!

9 Taxol’s down…3 to go!

Yet, LORD my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 2 Chronicles 6:19

Grace embraced through the power of prayer, my wonderful praying friend Wendi, praying for me to get through the blood draw and chemo with God’s presence and the completion of another treatment with God’s grace.

 

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6 thoughts on “A Challenging Treatment

  1. So sorry you had port troubles. I had them too, during Chemo. I literally had to bend over so far my wig fell off. Thank God, everyone understood. It was acrobatics in the chair. Usually, mine would work if I laid back really far or leaned over as far as possible from the chair then move to right and left. One time I was delayed over an hour. Finally, it let loose. They were just ready to go in the arm. They get clogged. It is upsetting and annoying. I do not like when they push those drugs in too fast. I always told them to slow mine down. I definitely felt a difference when they were speeded up.
    I had heart trouble with Herceptin. I still think if the Herceptin would have been given over 90 minutes like it used to be, I may have not had so many problems. I am speculating, but the body just knows!!
    Be encouraged…it’s all so challenging and difficult. You are doing amazingly well!!

    • Thanks Denise for your sharing your experiences. What a roller coaster this can be. But just like life in general, the highs always win over the low points. This too shall pass, but can’t it pass more non-eventful?

      I’m also concerned about the Herceptin, they say any amount can be given ove 30 minutes but when I see my oncologist I’m expressing those concerns and praying it will at least be over 60 minutes. I don’t want heart problems from this fight.

      Stay strong!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing Janet; you are in heart and prayer and your words teach us how to live, trusting through all. Only hope I can do as well in my challenges. Love, Marie.

Your thoughts warm my heart and strengthen my path, thanks for commenting on my journey,

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