Finally today i had a new PICC line put in!!!! Unfortunately its not all good news..
I should of had a PICC line put in yesterday by the vascular team (doctors who specialise in blood vessels).. I went into hospital at 12pm to first have some blood tests.. I then waited till 5pm.. Only to be told that they wont be able to do it as they are running late and there is a patient before me who is still in the operating theatre… Not fair? Not ideal? Oh well.. It really isn’t anyones fault.. These things happen and you’ve just got to take it on the chin.. I was told to come back in the morning at 9am to have the PICC line put in.. Not too bad..right?
Before i move on.. Can i just say i met some amazing ladies during the time i spent waiting for the PICC line.. Other patients who had come for different procedures.. I feel so blessed that somehow wherever i go on my journey i am getting the chance to meet some lovely lovely people who really leave a mark.. These ladies shared their stories with me of their health problems and also the stories of people they know with cancer.. They were so so lovely.. They showed me so much love, support and kindness.. Lots of encouragement and advice like “drink beetroot juice”.. One of the ladies is so special.. She has run multiple marathon for good causes and really is so giving.. I feel privileged to have met such inspiring strong women.. There really are truly beautiful humans in this world!
Back to my story.. So i was told to come back the next morning.. Which I thought isnt too bad.. And to be honest i am really thankful my PICC line could still go ahead as my blood tests yesterday showed my white blood cell count (neutrophils – which fight against infections) had dropped to 0.3 – not great – but i am on injections for my immunity and on antibiotics to try and prevent infections..
So this morning off i went back into hospital – i turned up at 9am as i was told.. Unfortunately there was no doctor to see me.. I was told the vascular doctors are busy doing a ward round and i should wait.. So i waited and waited and waited.. and then got bored (there were no friendly patients to chat to like yesterday).. So me and my mum decided to sit in the hospitals costa for a change in environment.. We then got bored and decided to head back to the ward to see of there is any news..
On the way back in the corridor i bumped into a nurse who specialises in training doctors and nurses how to put PICC lines in (she works for a external company and not my hospital – i met her when my first PICC line was put in).. So i told her how my first PICC line became infected and how i was waiting for the vascular team to put a line in for me but they are too busy.. So she kindly offered to put it in!! I was absolutely delighted because the vascular team had still not got back and to be honest i was fed up of waiting!
This nurse is excellent with so many years of experience – i wish she worked for my hospital! Before my PICC line was put in she looked at my right arm which had my original PICC line – she pointed out that the colour of my arm appeared different and the veins higher up in my arm were very prominent as were the veins in the top part of my chest – she immediately said “i am sure you have thrombosis in a vein supplying your arm” (a blood clot).. She immediately picked up the phone and called the vascular registrar.. He came and examined me and arranged for a “doppler scan” – basically an ultrasound which looks at the flow of blood in your blood vessels..
Unfortunately as you may have gathered already (from the title! Im not expecting anyone to interpret the image above..) the scan confirmed i have a blood clot partially blocking one of the veins which goes to my arm..
The clot is where the circle on this image is – in my subclavian vein (image taken from http://img.medscapestatic.com/pi/meds/ckb/00/39400tn.jpg)
So.. Why do i have a clot? Unfortunately cancer increases the chance of blood clots forming as your blood is more sticky.. Also having a PICC line puts you at higher risk.. I developed this clot where my old PICC line was…
Thankfully i am well.. I am alive.. Its just another hiccup but that’s life! It’s never boring!
I now have to inject myself daily in my belly with a medication which thins the blood.. no big deal..
If your wondering why I hadn’t picked up on this myself sooner (i am a doctor – surely I should have?).. The honest truth is with so much going on i don’t have the mind set.. It may not be a good enough excuse – but I really do not look up at my upper arms closely – i have stopped looking at my face in the mirror let alone noticing changes in my upper arm.. Listening to the body isn’t enough.. I guess ‘listen and look’…
I have a PICC line!! Hopefully my next chemo this Friday will be pain free..
Tomorrow i’m back in hospital for more blood tests and to see my consultant and Friday is my chemo..
That’s all the medical things..
Tonight is the night of ‘Ashura’ (whoishussain.org)
This is the first time i am unable to attend the mosque on this holy night.. It really breaks my heart.. Even when my dad was unwell following his accident i still managed to attend.. Anyway.. I ask all those attending the mosque tonight and tomorrow morning to remember me in their prayers.. I pray next year i am well enough to attend in person.. But i am still thankful and very blessed that i am able to watch the live coverage on TV..
Sending you all lots of positive energy and prayers this night
(I apologise for being slow at replying to messages – especially private ones)