Posted in About today, Living with cancer

Nobody mention the PICC line….

Since last I wrote I have mostly been busy trying to keep my mind off two sore arms and one minor setback. Settle in and I’ll explain….

The first thing you need to know is that I’ve got really tiny veins. And I’m not just saying that to show off. Every time I meet someone who is tasked with getting a blood sample from me*, I have to open with “Oh hai! I’m WeeGee and I’ve got really, really (really) tiny veins” and then they don’t believe me until they actually SEE the veins at which point there’s usually a small sigh before the hunt for a teeny tiny needle begins…..

Here’s the thing though. If you start pumping really powerful, corrosive chemotherapy chemicals through really really (really) tiny veins at three weekly intervals, it turns out they get damaged and start to grumble about it. The veins in my left arm started complaining after chemo round one, then the right arm joined in after round two and by round three they were both screaming and shouting about it like bloody loonies. I’m making light of it a bit, but between you and I it’s not actually funny at all. As things stand, both of my arms hurt like buggery and the left one doesn’t exactly work. I’m assured this is a known side effect of the chemo I’m on, if not exactly one of the more common ones. But hey – at least it can’t be said that there’s anything common about WeeGee……

Anyway – to solve all of this, the oncologist decided we’d give up on the really, really (really) tiny veins and insert a PICC line so we can go straight for the heavy duty veins. The hope is that if we go for the big guns, they might not complain about the toxic chemicals quite so much but unfortunately, to get the PICC line in, we’ve had to delay the next round of chemotherapy by FOUR WHOLE DAYS. And that’s the story of how I came to be sitting here chatting with you today, instead of getting my fourth round of chemotherapy done as planned…..

I’m not over the moon that my treatment has been delayed. For me, the fourth round of chemotherapy marks the half way point and that had come to matter an awful lot to me in recent weeks. I kept thinking that by the time I got the fourth one out of the way, I’d have have climbed all the way up to the top of the mountain and would soon be on my way back down the other side. Halfway is a milestone – it’s progress of sorts – it’s something I can tick off the list. I know it’s only four days, and I know it could be a whole lot worse but the HALFWAY point mattered and I’m annoyed that we’re not doing it today. I was all set to smash my way through it.

On reflection, chemotherapy so far has felt  like a series of right decisions I wish I hadn’t had to make – the PICC line is just another of those. Of course I don’t want a permanent, visible reminder of what’s going on with my health attached to my body. Of course I don’t want to be faffing about with a district nurses in and out of the house all the time because, I mean, DO THEY THINK I AM ILL OR SOMETHING? And of course I don’t want something as simple as jumping in the shower becoming a military-fucking-operation. But – and this is an important factor to consider – I’d also quite like to have a pair of working arms when I get better. That’s what I got to choose from – the PICC line, or lifelong mobility issues. In the end, I brooded about it for a day or two, did a bit of swearing in my head and then I got over myself, sucked it up and moved on because what else are you supposed to do anyway? Just don’t mention the PICC line and we’ll be absolutely fine…..

Meanwhile in other news, the sun came out over Market Harborough this weekend. I know that climate wise it isn’t exactly great news that we’re all walking about in t-shirts in February but I do like the sunshine, and I do like the spring. I made a point of getting myself out and about in it because who knows how long it will last, or how many more weekends like that we’ll see this year? I was lucky that the sunshine fell on my third weekend and I was determined to make the most of it with a fairly decent walk in the Northamptonshire countryside. The fresh air and exercise did me the world of good and if I was tucked up in bed by 9pm as a result then it was absolutely worth it….

IMG_3491
Weekend sunshine

That’s all from me for today so I’ll leave you with a bit of a song for you to sing along to and bid you farewell.

Love you lots like jelly tots, WeeGee xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

*There are LOADS of them, recently

**They were every bit as bad as all that.

 

5 thoughts on “Nobody mention the PICC line….

  1. I too have the teeny tiny veins that don’t typically cooperate. I’ve gotten to the point where I try to get my various doctors to coordinate when they need blood and get it all done at once.

    I am glad you and Mr. Awesome got to enjoy some time together in the sunshine. Sunshine always helps. ❤

    1. The sunshine has been amazing and is still shining! I’m a big fan of spring sun – I wish I could direct a bit of it your way to melt some of that white stuff you’re dealing with xx

  2. So sorry to read of your delay! I get it…Halfway is a big deal!

    You have given me the reminder to be grateful. My petite veins have been spared by having a port (surgically implanted under the skin in my chest). All blood draws and IV infusions can take place via this device for my whole treatment without peripheral sticks.

    I have no doubt your choice to go with the Pic Line will pay off in the end when your veins say thank you! 🙂

    1. Thanks Kate – I’ve heard lots of good things about the PICC line, so I’m sure you’re right and my veins will thank me in the end. I’ve read a few people mention a port – I’m not too sure if that’s different from a PICC line or just a bit of transatlantic language difference?!

      1. A port is surgically inserted under the skin (below the clavicle). The skin heals over it and it can be left in place for long periods of time. Mine will be in for a year. It has a rubber-like stopper feel to it (about the size of a rubber top on a med. vial) that can be punctured with a needle to draw blood or to give meds/fluids. Pretty slick. After the treatment, tubings are disconnected and a bandaid is applied until the next time. 🙂

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