Daily Archives: September 15, 2011

A Veiny Situation

I am just dropping in to say they got the PICC in!


That is not my arm. That is a very sterilized version of what a PICC looks like. The “line” goes up inside my vein and straight into my chest. Mine is currently all bandaged up, I’m actually just off to the hospital now to get the dressing changed. My arm is currently red from the surgical wipes and probably swollen and bloody. Funfun.

I wish I could say I went through the PICC insertion procedure with flying colours. But unfortunately, my predictions of it going horribly were correct. I think we can sometimes sense these things.

I’m “blessed” with small veins. Which means accessing them always turns into a stressful and painful experience. But as my mom pointed out, it’s because of my tiny veins that we were able to detect the cancer early (via restricted blood flow + blood clot), so I can’t get too angry at them now.

They brought me back into a large room very similar to an operating room. I had to lay on the exact kind of bed/table that they do surgeries on. I hate being on those things. Thankfully, the freezing actually worked on my skin, and they were able to get the line in through my vein all the way to my armpit – then it just stopped. My vein seized up, and seemed to get smaller so they couldn’t push it through any more.

At this point, they were injecting me with contrast dyes, taking tons of x-rays, and called the doctor in. Even though I couldn’t feel the line inside my vein, I could feel that things were being moved inside my body, if that makes sense. And they were squeezing and pushing into my arm at the insertion point which hurt like a bitch.

Anyways, it’s not the pain that upset me. It’s the fact that I’m sick with cancer and have to put up with this crap in the first place. Laying on the table with a face mask on, watching the x-rays flash on the screen and seeing the dark shadow in my chest, hearing the nurses and doctor talk about what to do with me. It’s an unwelcome reminder of something I can forget about when I’m at home – I’m a really sick person.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but you may have already gleamed it from the information I share. I am a big fat wuss when it comes to hospital procedures. I have always been disturbed at the idea of doing things to my body – including cutting, stabbing, and poking it. Surgery was (and still is) one of my worst fears. Having to modify my body in some way using items from the outside world (ahem – like the three screws in my arm), make me want to cry, throw up, and pass out all at the same time. So even if the PICC is a small thing to some people, having tubes hanging out of my arm 24/7 reallyreally weirds me out.

Anyone else out there like this? Currently my biggest fear is getting an infection while on chemo and needing a blood transfusion. Getting someone else’s blood in my body is something my brain just can’t compute. This whole cancer this is a nightmare for so many reasons.

So a few tears were shed yesterday and I was pretty weak after just from the stress of the experience. But as my oncologist said, “they got the PICC in, that’s what matters.” And it was quite handy to have during chemo #5 yesterday.

The GOOD part of yesterday is that I got news on my most recent chest x-ray. My oncologist said there was a “marked improvement” compared to the one taken four weeks ago. I should be getting a PET scan after my next treatment, which will be able to show more detail on the cancer situation. It was fantastic news to hear after my mini breakdown in the morning. A boost in confidence that all this crap is really worth it. I’ll do anything to be skipping along cancer-free once again, arm tubes included.