Sunday, September 14, 2008

Third round of chemo is over

Today was the last day of the 3rd round of chemotherapy. Definitely happy it's over. Each day the nurses found it harder and harder to find a vein, which is typical with chemotherapy since it can destroy your veins and dry them out. So yesterday and today it took 3 attempts to find a suitable vein and my arms look like a mess.

Most people getting regular chemotherapy have minor surgery to put in what's called a port-a-cath, a device inserted under the skin near your heart with tubing that goes directly into a main artery. Kind of reminds me of Iron Man. The nurses can then just plug into that thing and don't have to worry about pricking for veins each day. But since my chemo was only for 5 days we figured it wasn't necessary. I'll be getting a port anyway when I'm in the hospital for the transplant and for the 30+ days after that, but I'd rather avoid having this thing hanging out of my chest until I really need it. It can kind of gross people out.

The other annoyance was that each day it took about 4 hours to fully administer the chemo, from the waiting room, to the initial hooking up to the IV, to administering the pre-med drugs, to getting the actual chemo drugs, then flushing the lines and finally dressing the wound afterward. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it means your whole day is pretty much shot. *And* you have the added benefit of feeling crappy and tired afterward. For example today all we did was have brunch with a friend, then headed to chemo at 11:45, then finished up at 4pm. Ugh! But I'm allowed to complain to you guys since this is my blog :)

Feeling kind of crappy right now. The effects are kicking in and mainly involve being tired and experiencing "chemo brain", which makes it hard to concentrate on things and hard to have conversations with people. You also feel like your arms and legs aren't attached to your body very well. It's not fatigue, it's just a strange sense of disconnectedness and you have to think about how to move your arms and legs about so that you don't fall over. Very strange. The thing I look forward to the most during these times is quiet time with lots of rest and not very many distractions.

Ciao for now. The side effects will probably continue through the next few days, then should subside after that. Wish me luck!


Cindy said...

You are definitely allowed to complain as much as you want, no one minds.

Yippee, I'm glad today was the last day of this chemo round.

Nic said...

Luck indeed!

Also, complain away, I'm sure my fellow readers would agree that there is an astonishing lack of complaining on your blog, a true testament to your (and Johanna's) emotional fortitude (that exist right?) :-D

Beth said...

You go ahead and bitch and moan all you want. Heck, if we weren't really interested in you as a person we wouldn't be reading this anyway! I'll toss in a Hurrah for getting our electric power back on. We were in the dark (no snide comments about us always being in the dark etc) for 80 hours before we got turned back on.
P.S. Bethy says hi and hang in there.


Steve Rider said...

Hooray for your power :) A coworker of mine works from Houston and has been sitting in front of a closed Starbucks 15 miles from his house for the last couple days to get online. My first thought was - your closest Starbucks is 15 miles away??

Btw it's a newsboy hat! Or a pageboy hat. I dunno, it looks cool anyway.

Trevor said...

Steve, how can you feel so lousy and still blog so well??? I mean, there wasn't even a typo or misspelling anywhere in there! Are you some sort of blogging machine?
And FYI, those ports don't really "hang out." It's more like a big lump under your skin. For a manly guy like you, probably the toughest part will be having them shave off some of your chest hair ...

Joanne said...

Cheering for ya, Steve! I agree you are a blogging machine!

George said...


You are making my 10+ hours a day of work much more bearble. I'm sure you'd rather be at work than the hospital.

--George R

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

Get the port-a-cath, my mom had one and it is VERY helpful. It will just be a bump under the skin, nothing scary.