Friday, February 20, 2009

Achy-breaky veins...

So, apparently the time has come for yet another reminder of the fact that I'm sick. Apparently, my veins do not like chemo. Both of my arms are quite painful and inflamed, so I had to go in for an ultrasound this afternoon to make sure there weren't any blood clots. No clots, but there is a bit of inflammation that my onc's PA Tara thinks could possibly be cellulitis (an infection that can rapidly spread to the blood, causing sepsis) or phlebitis (when a clot causes swelling), or possibly even a chemical burn (which is more than likely). One way to check for infection is to look at white cell count, but because I get the Neulasta, my white cells could be artificially high. She is also doing a blood bacterial culture, the results of which we won't have until Monday. Either way, she strongly suggested that I have a port placed (pictured above), because clearly my veins are unhappy. I really don't want one, but I do realize that most chemo patients do end up getting one to avoid what I'm going through right now. They are going to try to squeeze me in before my next chemo on Tuesday. It's a day surgery, and they can use the port to administer chemo right afterwards. The bad part for me is that it means another scar (probably minuscule) right where I don't want one. Plus, the port has to stay in for a while after I'm done with chemo, just in case the chemo doesn't do the trick and the cancer comes back. I guess I should explain, for those of you who don't know, a port is basically a 'permanent IV line' that is placed into your subclavian vein (a vein underneath your collarbone). This vein is much larger, and is able to handle the chemo better than the smaller veins in your arms. The opening to the port lies underneath your skin on your chest, and access is quite simple: the area is swabbed with disinfectant and sprayed with a numbing spray, then a needle apparatus is inserted into the port. Blood can be drawn out of it, and chemo drugs can be pushed into it. It actually make the whole process of chemotherapy quite easy, as you don't have to be stuck with tons of needles every time you go in. I'm just not thrilled about another surgery (this will be my fifth surgery since I was 15 and my third within a year). Well, whatever, anything to get rid of my unwelcome houseguest. Port away!

Anyhoo, I think I'm going to get going. Ted will be coming home tomorrow (he has a long drive ahead of him). He is now a plumber for the Army! He passed all his tests and now he has yet another skill he can use. We will be going to see a good friend of mine tomorrow evening and participating in a meat raffle, and then on to my friend Lennie's 30th birthday party! It should be a good time. I will try to take some pictures.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by, and for the guestbook entries. They really do mean a lot to me!

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