Warning: This post may contain graphic images (not really just needles) that some readers may find disturbing (lol that sounds like something out of a movie or newspaper – had to throw it in).
This week I had a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line put in through which I will receive my chemotherpy from now on..
So what is a PICC line? One second let me ask google.. No I’m joking! Before doctors get more accusations for referring to google.. All those years in medical school.. all that studying.. (and by the way you’re never taught about PICC lines – you learn on the job! From my experience anyway).
Enough rambling.. I’ve mentioned before in my previous posts a PICC line is a thin long plastic tube which is put into one of the larger veins in the upper arm, it goes all the way up to the heart. The reason I had a PICC line put in is because chemotherapy was irritating the smaller veins in my arm causing a lot of pain.
The image below showing a PICC line is from Macmillan.org.uk (incase its copyrighted or something)
I’ve never put a PICC line into a patient and I admit its not a skill I have – and that applies to most doctors. I have seen many patients with PICC lines so I am familiar with them, and in addition my dad had one when he was in hospital following his accident as he needed antibiotics long term.
Unfortunately the day my PICC line was put in clashed with my younger sisters graduation (so proud of my little law geek *wipes a tear* I wish I was well enough to share the moment with her). I’m lucky to have amazing friends and one of my best friends took me to hospital and was by me every minute.
So the PICC line was put in under local anaesthetic, the line was fed into my vein using ultrasound guidance. The procedure was done by one of the specialist nurses and took about 45 minutes – this is longer than usual as it took several attempts to get the tube in successfully.
Here are some pictures taken by my friend..
The PICC line will stay in my arm until I am fully cured.. so thats a minimum of 4 months if all goes well and I respond to treatment. The risks of having it include infection, developing blood clots in the arm and a small risk the tube moves.
I was given an antibiotic through the line because of my white cell count being so low.
So now the line is in I feel relieved that hopefully my next chemo session will not hurt my arm.
What is the downside? At the moment my arm feels sore (no surprise). It feels very uncomfortable having a tube in my arm all the time, im still trying to find comfortable positions to sleep in – i can’t sleep on my right side as I usually would. Wearing long sleeved clothing is not so easy. I have to go in to hospital every week to have the line flushed and for the dressing to be changed. I have to cover the line when showering as it can’t get wet.. swimming is not allowed (thank the lord I am no fan of swimming – to my parents dismay I failed to learn how to swim despite all the lessons #nottalented).
Despite all of the above I am glad to have the line as nothing compares to the pain that chemo causes.
Finally can I just say how beautiful my friend is.. Not only did she get up early to take me to hospital, she also went to the effort of getting me a waterproof sleeve to cover my line when i shower and some yummy cakes.. Love you Jumanah
In other news.. I have a busy and exciting week.. Tomorrow my bloods get checked to see if my white cell count is improving.. Tuesday is the day I have my PET scan!!
This is the G-CSF Injection I am taking to help bring up my immunity.. (Injected into the belly)
Sending everyone lots of love and ending on positive thoughts xxxxx