Catching up after Chemo 4

Well I haven’t written for a while but to be totally honest, it’s taken me a while to want to write about my last chemo session which was number 4. Apart from it being a very very long day as we were in the hospital for 9 for mums eye appointment, we didn’t leave till near 7 and much as I love the nhs and all they have done for me, I don’t want to be there like that again.

To start with they had problems taking the blood samples as my veins seems to disappear and shrink at the sight of a needle now, so it’s a lot of digging and prodding and where as before I had no fear of needles or giving blood, now I get apprehensive which doesn’t help at all.

Eventually the lovely nurse got a vein and slowly my bloods were taken so I cold skip off or was it a run??? out of the bloods room. Then I had to wait a couple of hours to see the Dr. Now each time I have been to a chemo treatment I have seen a different Dr, most of the time I don’t mind this as they have been good and read my notes and see what’s been going on, this guy just rushed it through and I swear ticked ready for treatment before I’d finished explaining about the problems with my teeth etc. oh well at least I was going to stay on track with my chemo treatments.

So as I now had to wait about 3hrs before my chemo, mum and I decided to head to the Maggies Centre just down the road, we’d talked about going before but never made it. The good thing about the centre is you just need to tell reception you are going there and if they need to call you back they ring maggies and get a message to you so you don’t need to wait in the depressing and sometimes cold waiting rooms.

Maggies Centre was amazing, the building was architecturally beautiful and modern, so light and airey. They do this on purpose, as they know how depressing the Oncology waiting rooms can be, and it lifts the spirit. They have a main room with a big table in the middle so you can sit down and chat to other cancer patients, or friends and family. It’s open to anyone who has been affected by cancer and needs someone to talk to, or space to retreat to as they have little rooms you can shut yourself away in too. It’s a marvellous place and I will definitely go back.

After a few hours in there mum and I got hungry so headed back to the hospital to get some food. I had chips and beans and it took me back to being a kid and the birthday parties we used to have at primary school when we would go to the sports centre and do swimming, roller skating and trampolining then go upstairs for food which was normally, sausage chips and beans lol. Sorry I know that was a bit random 🙂

After that we went back and I think about 4ish I got called in, I was put in a little side room, each time I have been for chemo I have been in a different room, I think I preferred the smaller rooms as seeing lines of chemo patients at various stages of treatment is not the nicest. Especially as the majority of them are well over 60. It may sound strange but to see a younger patient like me makes me feel less alone in the room. Sometimes I get to talk to them, or just a nod or a smile is all it will take, it just acknowledges “I know what your going through” and that helps.

In this little room, there was another chair so I hoped I would get someone else in too, but to start with it was just me, which in hindsight was a good thing as it wasn’t the nicest of times for me.

The nurse usually starts with doing the paperwork and checks to make sure you are the right patient, then they get a big plastic bucket with hot water in and you have to put your hand and forearm in to warm up the veins and get them to show up easier and be more accessible. Then comes the cannula. Now each time I have been it has been harder and harder to find a decent vein as the majority of my veins on the back of my hand have either gone hard and sore. Or they won’t allow the flow of blood into my veins, something to do with valves etc. Or they just don’t want to play at all. So the nurse examined my hand and I told her that last time the nurse said a good vein for next time was just by my thumb as the vein she used was slow and not a good one. So I told the nurse but she said she preferred the vein on the back of my hand, so it’s the usual story of “sharp scratch” and in. It’s no longer a sharp scratch for me, it hurts especially the hard veins. It’s not a case of in and they hit the vein and hey presto I’m ready, it now involves digging and poking. This nurse had three goes and gave up, she found another “more senior” nurse, she took 3 goes and various veins including the hard ones will really hurt.

By this time I couldn’t hold it in any more and I started to cry, the two nurses were lovely and suggested they ring my consultant as they felt putting a PICC line in might be the answer. To see what a PICC line is, click here Macmillan info on PICC lines

When the nurse came back she said my consultant had recommended a central line that goes in via the chest wall, for more info click here Macmillan info on a Central Line

They said that this would need to be done via a surgical procedure and once again I got scared and got upset, by this time another lady had come in, she was a bit older than me and had a phobia of needles so seeing me upset and the hassle they were having getting the cannula in was upsetting her which made me feel bad.

They got the senior nurse in to have a look at me and she suggested I take a few minutes to calm down and compose myself, I jumped at the chance as I had been in there for nearly an hour so poor mum sat in the waiting room wouldn’t know I hadn’t even started the chemo. So I went out and saw mum and burst into tears as I told her what was going on. She said she knew I was having problems as a patient had come out saying there was a poor girl having problems getting the cannula in. She said she knew it was me.

I went back in and the senior nurse said, right let me try. I explained about the vein by my thumb, so she tried it and boom straight in and worked perfectly!!

So that was it then, after all that upset and drama it was all ready to go. So the drugs went in and took about an hour so around 6:30 I got out and boy did I want to run out of there.

So I got home (mums) just after 7, Di had text to say she couldn’t get down so I was glad I had decided to stay at mums for the night. As it turns out we had a big power cut so I had an early night and as usual couldn’t sleep and had a restless night.

Well that’s it for that episode I need to write another post about emotions as I want to keep that separate from this post. Xx

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