Thursday, May 08, 2008

PICC-free and 7 of 17 done!

(5/8/08)

Note: This post was edited and pics added on May 14, 2008.

Hi all - I know my posts have become less frequent of late, but that's actually a good thing I think. I've been more active in the last couple weeks, and the treatments have been going a bit more smoothly than in the past. I think the side effects of radiation have finally worn off, and the respite after cycle 5 has seemed to do my body some good, even though it was frustrating to be delayed so much.

I finished my 7th cycle yesterday and am feeling in relatively good shape today. This was a VAC cycle, so only two days, but the A for adriomycin usually kicks my butt pretty hard. This time around it seems to have been okay, although the two days was more like three, due to delays in getting the drugs started. We checked in for admission around 1pm, but they didn't hang the chemo until about 9:30pm - something about the pharmacy doing interviews or some BS, then the drugs got sent to the wrong place (same thing happened last time), but finally things got started. Luckily I only have one more cycle of VAC with the A - after that it becomes VC and only an outpatient visit for one day (boy can't wait for that).

The next cycle is an IE, but I'm going to try and do it outpatient. That means getting up butt early every day for four days and sitting in the hospital for 10 hours, but there's an upside: they get things up and running a lot more quickly, since the infusion treatment area (ITA) closes at 5 or 6pm, and I get to go home and sleep in my own bed (and not to mention eat non-hospital food). Plus the ITA has nice big windows and is very well lit.

In other news, I'm PICC-free now! Since I've been more active of late, my doctor said it might be a good idea to get a medi-port installed instead. It requires a minor surgery, but it goes in the chest and is under the skin until they have to access it. That means, no more shower sleeve, no more weekly dressing changes, and I can go swimming and use my arms more freely than I have been able to. I've been planning on going to my friend Mike's wedding in Hawaii in June, so if all goes well, I'll actually be able to participate in some water activities (woohoo!). Not that just being in Hawaii and relaxing (under an umbrella) on the beach wouldn't be nice enough. . . Still, it's always good to have options.

My mom took some pictures when they took the PICC out last night - it was actually completely painless - they just cut the suture and pull it out. I'll post the pics when I get them...

Here are the pics... (BTW, apparently there are only a few people who can actually deal with removing PICCs, despite the fact that it doesn't seem to require much more than the ability to use a pair of scissors to snip the suture and use your fingers to pull the thing out. None of the nurses on the floor were able/certified to do this, so they had to call in the "crisis nurse", who apparently wanders around the hospital solving crises.)

Pulling off the dressing.

PICC with no dressing.

Pulling out the PICC.
The removed PICC!!!

No more PICC! (Yes, I'm smiling on the inside.)

9 comments:

Janet said...

vocabulary police: excessive use of "of late" in that post -- 3 times!

Thomas Sean said...

Yay! Hawaii! Guestroom is alllll ready!

molly said...

Hey Alex,

It is nice to hear from you again!

Hope all is going well!!!!
molly

andrew said...

Hey Alex,

We climbed together once at the climbing gym. A friend told me about your blog. I'm sending positive thoughts your way!

Btw, if you want to go climbing at some point and need a partner, email me at ambrad@[replace this with the name of our awesome university].edu.

Alan said...

testing testing

Alex Tung said...

lame post, alan.

Alan said...

the same could be said of your post... editing out "of late". i caught you !!

Alex Tung said...

BTW, note that the edited version only has two "of late"s

Shari said...

Hello, Alex!

Next year will be our tenth at Frosoco, so I was just thinking of you. I'm very happy to hear that the treatment is going well.

Perhaps this summer when your immune system is up to contact with our two kids (aka germ bags, as my doctor brother calls them)we can have you over to dinner.