Saturday, April 24, 2010

Something new everyday

Yesterday I had a port put in. (Was it really just yesterday?) Chemotherapy ruins your veins, and as it is I only have one good vein for blood to be drawn from. My choice was a pic line in my arm or the port in my chest. If I did the pic line, I would have to tape it off every time I want to take a shower. So that made it a no brainer, I want the port! It is under the skin and I can keep it in for years. There is some maintenance with it. I'll need to go to the doctor every month and have it flushed, but that seems minor.

I had to go to CMC University to have it inserted. We had to be there at 7:00 am. Since I live on the complete opposite side of Charlotte, we left the house at 6:00 am. One of the nurses in the OR with me, got caught in traffic. She was 45 minutes late and in a crappy mood. The technician aiding the doctor was hungover from the Bon Jovi concert the night before. I really wish she would have kept that to herself, she wasn't really inspiring confidence. I didn't even meet the doctor until I was in the OR and we were about to get started. The only thing he said to me was, "What is your bra size?" I answered 36D and he told the tech, they'll need to use the longer catheter and then I was put under.

I would like to say at this point I went to sleep wondering what that was all about. But, they gave me the local shots of Lidocaine and started cutting. They had put the medicine in my IV so I would be sedated and have amnesia of the procedure, but none of it worked. The lidocaine helped so that I felt less pain, but it was still sharp and burning. My head was turned to the left and it had a sheet over it in a tent fashion, they were using my face to set their tools down. I tried to remain calm and do deep breathing to control the pain. I could feel they had gotten the port in. It reminded of a c-section where the doctor is pulling and you feel like you are going to come off the table. Well when they got the catheter into my vein it was in my heart. I could hear the heart monitor beeping like crazy. So the doctor said we are going to have to take it out.

I am freaking out at this point. My brain was racing. I need to have the chemo and I have to have this port. "Please don't take it out!" The doctor realized I was awake. I was crying my eyes out partly from the pain, and partly because I was afraid they wouldn't be able to complete it. He told the nurse I was awake and she asked how I was doing. "It hurts. I can feel everything, but I need to have this put in." After that I don't see her again. She told the doctor she is out of medicine. The doctor and technician continue. He took the lidocaine and shot the area up again 4 more times. That helped some, but every time they put the catheter into my heart, my blood pressure shot up, so they took it out 2 more times to cut the catheter shorter. They finally got it into a position that my blood pressure stayed stable and they sewed me up. I found out later, he asked my bra size because he was concerned the weight of the breast tissue would dislodge the catheter.

So now I am traumatized. Besides being told I have cancer, inoperable cancer. My next fear is having a surgery and the sedation not working, being awake and feeling it all. Part of what upset me is that, they were so cold about it. Either they didn't believe me, or they just didn't care. I was scared half to death under that sheet and the nurse could have at least reached in and held my hand and told me it would be ok. Lie to me, just try to comfort me.

The technician went out and talked to Alex. She told him they gave me enough medicine to knock me out for 2 days. Maybe they did, but I somehow didn't receive it. I don't know if there was a problem with the IV or if I have built up a tolerance to that drug. I have to get a feeding tube inserted on Monday. The feeding tube is usually an outpatient procedure, but since I have developed a tolerance to the medication, they will have to admit me to the hospital and do it under anesthesia.

So I have an MRI tomorrow, feeding tube Monday, learning all about chemo on Tuesday and a dry run on the radiation, then Wednesday is when it all starts officially, chemo and radiation together.


  1. I think I be finding me a new doctor and sueing the hospital. What they did was wrong. I am so sorry for your pain. And I hope everything else goes well.

  2. Stacy, I am so sorry you are going through this, but I do think that writing about it will be helpful. You'll be in my thoughts...