Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First Day of Chemo

Today started with having my PICC line placed. A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) is a fancy IV line. It is usually inserted by an interventional radiologist. I work closely with a Physician Assistant and a Nurse Practitioner who work for the interventional radiology team. One of these fine gentlemen placed my PICC line this morning. It was a interesting procedure and didn't hurt accept for the "pinch and a burn" of the numbing medicine. My line is in my right arm. It doesn't hurt. I'll have to monitor if for signs of infections and keep it clean. I can't shower with it, so we will have to cover it with Saran wrap to shower. Jon and I will also have to flush it regularly to help prevent blood clots.

After having my PICC placed, we went to the infusion center in the outpatient building. It will become my home away from home. The nurses are very nice. There isn't much privacy. Picture a room measuring approx 12x50 feet filled with comfy recliners for patients, IV poles to hang medications, and typical office chairs for family members organized around a circular perimeter. Since it was my first day, I had to do a little paperwork and met with the PharmD who specializes in chemotherapeutic medications and the PhD counselor. I know both of these doctors from working with them to care for inpatients. They were both nice and explained their roles and gave me recommendations. It's just odd being in the patient seat when I'm used to being in the care giver seat. The PharmD also explained the medications ordered that I would receive prior to transfusions to help minimize side effects.

So, here is my chemotherapy regimen: 5 days in a row I will receive VP 16 and cisplatin via IV infusion in the infusion center. Since I'm getting a late start this week, I'll receive infusions on Weds, Thurs, Fri, Mon, Tues. I believe the next cycle will start on a Monday so I can get all the infusions completed in 1 week. I will also receive an IM injection of bleomycin (my 3rd chemo medicine). I have to have pulmonary function tests completed prior to starting this medication because of the risks of pulmonary disease with this medication. I'm scheduled for those tests on Sunday and will have my firsts bleomycin injection next week ( hopefully on Weds).

Today's infusion went very well in my opinion. Prior to the infusion of my chemotherapy I received half a liter of IV fluids to keep me hydrated, IV pepcid to protect my stomach, IV antinausea medicine, IV ativan for relaxation, and an IV infusion of benadryl and decadron (a steroid medication to help reduce risk of infusion reactions). The combination of pre-treatment medications made me very sleepy. I basically fell asleep through the infusion of both chemo medicines and my post treatment half liter of IV fluids for hydration. I still felt tired at home afterwards and took a nice nap. The good news is that I don't feel any side effects except fatigue. I don't have nausea and I've been able to eat ok. I still don't have a huge appetite, but I'm eating well. I'm assuming my side effects may get worse with more treatments because I assume they compound. I'll keep you posted on how I'm doing.

Meanwhile, it's time to get ready for tomorrow.

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