Tag Archives: port-a-cath

Winter’s Come to Brisbane

It was 19 degrees Celcius here this morning, which is about 48 Fahrenheit; that’s cold for Brisbane. I even woke up feeling it, and I’m originally from a cold climate. It’s kind of refreshing, though a bit strange since I’m still not used to the flip in seasons. It seems odd to be getting colder for what I think is summer, but is winter here. Good old equatorial flip.

I ended up having to call my oncologist today to see when they wanted to try to clear my port line, only to find the on call doc yesterday didn’t leave him word there was a problem with my line… this was the same guy who wanted me admitted on a Sunday evening to have the procedure done. When I explained what happened to the receptionist, she told me the oncologist would call me back, but then she called back & said it’s nothing to worry about and the doctor isn’t concerned. If I had hair I’d scratch my head. I’m beyond caring at this point I guess. I just want my treatment to be over so I can start living again. I feel like a cancer prisoner, or maybe a chemo-prisoner. 

I love winter time, so it’s going to be great to be able to walk again in time for winter. I’m going to walk myself silly exploring this neighborhood. I moved here back in 2006, and I’ve barely left my yard because of this stupid tumor, but come August… look out neighborhood :)

More Trouble

My heavens, I’m so close to finishing up my cancer treatment, and things just keep going haywire. Today, I had to go in to have the second unit of blood they forgot I needed on Wednesday, and once again my port-a-cath started acting up (for those who don’t know the port-a-cath is a little device that has a button at one end for a needle to go into and a line of tubing that’s threaded through my chest, up over my collar bone and down into one of the main veins leading into my heart, it’s all completely concealed inside my chest, and it allows the nurses easy access for chemo-therapy drugs, without having to do a needle stick into a vein everytime).

They were going to run the blood through a pump to make sure it dripped a bit faster today than it did Wednesday. They started out with a bag of saline on the pump, and when it started I felt an intense pressure along the sides of my throat and in my head. Not like my throat was swelling, more like the feeling you get if you do a headstand, or flip your head upside down really quickly and all the blood rushes to your head. I started to get really dizzy, and put my head back for awhile, but called the nurse over.  The feeling passed after a bit and everyone kind of dismissed the whole thing. Then they set up the blood and started it. It took about 5 minutes and the same thing happened, and I was getting really dizzy again. They did a couple of checks of my vitals, unhooked everything and decided I needed a port-a-cath-o-gram (who came up with that name, I think we’ll never know, but they must be an intense lover of the hyphen).

The port-a-cath imaging showed everything was hooked up in the right place (apparently the apparatus can become dislodged and that can be very bad news). So next they decided to run dye through it to see what happens when fluid goes in. Well, the body truly is an amazing miracle; apparently mine has decided the port-a-cath is evil and has wrapped the tip of the line in some sort of fibrous tissue and created a little sheath around it in an effort to protect me from the little foreign invader. Unfortunately, this means fluid going in is trapped in the sheath until enough pressure builds to force it out, but apparently the backup is causing me to feel the pressure in the veins in my neck and in my head. (Funny I’ve mentioned this pressure to the nurses and my doctor before and no one thought it was related in any way to the cancer, they all said to take it up with my GP, really crap advice there.)

In any case, I am now going to have to go back into the hospital for a 12 hour drip of urokinase, or something of that ilk. It’s apparently some type of acid that will break down the fibrin sheath and clear up my port again. I can’t believe I have only one treatment left, and I’m going to end up having to spend a night in the hospital before I can have it. It really stinks; I just feel so very close to the end and these little road bumps seem to be putting distance between me and where I want to be. Plus I just don’t enjoy being cared for. If I’ve learned nothing else through this whole experience, I have learned that I like to do things myself; when I want to do them and how I want to do them. I hate having to be a big baby, and in the hospital they make you feel like a big baby who can’t do anything for themselves.

After my biopsy they wouldn’t even let me out of bed to go to the toilet for almost six hours. I had to pee in the hospital pee tray, and me with an immense cut straight down the inner right side of my butt cleavage. Talk about awkard, and if not for the morphine, painful. I could feel the pain through the morphine, but I didn’t have any pain when I could finally walk to the toilet and sit down on it. Oh well, the road hasn’t been that horrible though; just one more thing… still looking at an August celebration; I can’t wait!