Friday, June 24, 2011
What? What kind of title is that? Has she gone crazy?
Wow, and she was handling it so well.
No silly, that is my new treatment protocol.
Hey, cancer patients need something to get cute about - why not give our chemo little nicknames? Navelbine is sometimes called Navy Bean, and Herceptin is known as Vitamin H. Now we just need a name for poor little Zometa, always left out.
Navelbine is the actual chemotherapy. Zometa is a bone strengthener used for osteoporosis, which also helps prevent cancer from moving into your bones. Herceptin is because I'm HER2 and that's been explained before.
I'll get the Navy Beans weekly, the Herceptin every three weeks, and the Zometa monthly. Got all that?
I'm back to weekly doctor's appointments. That, my friends, does not make me happy.
Navelbine has another nickname: NavelBIND. So, my diet has consisted of all high-fiber foods and gallons of water. TMI alert: so far, so good. It pays to be disciplined about these things.
The treatment itself went as they all do. I was welcomed back to the infusion center with open arms and a few concerned faces. I hadn't been outta that chemo room very long and those nurses know what that means. They hadn't even had time to forget my name.
As before, I was - by far - the youngest person in that room. Don't people under 80 get cancer anymore?
I'd already been stuck in the arm for my MUGA that morning, so I asked for the one chemo nurse who has always had easy access to my veins. And, this time, because it had already been stuck once that day, he couldn't get it. He had to get one down on my hand, and that took a few tries. Unfortunately, Navy Beans is not as sweet as it sounds - it's a vesicant which means it can scar and burn veins and destroy tissue if it leaks out.
You know, like acid.
That means I need a port.
I have very much wanted to avoid having a port. For those not in the know, a port is a device implanted into your chest (for you ER fans, otherwise known as a Central Line) that allows chemo to enter your bloodstream directly and bypass all those small veins in your arms. A port is unsightly, and looks something like a nose growing out of your chest. I'e heard it can be uncomfortable for the very thin, and also gets in the way of bra straps and seatbelts and the like. Being that I have a phobia about anything touching my neck, I tend to wear lower cut clothes, so a port would be hard to hide.
Frankly, my chest has been assaulted enough, and I wanted to spare it that indignity.
The truth is I only have two useable veins in my arm left. And, three days post chemo, I can feel a burning along the veins that were used for the injection. It still hurts in the crook of my elbow where they injected me for the MUGA. So, I am going to have to give in and get a port. I can tell my veins won't hold up.
I was fussing about that idea to my nurse when getting stuck - getting the port feels like giving up and being a cancer patient to me. The elderly lady next to me overheard and extolled the virtues of hers, and said I could get it removed as soon as I was done.
I looked at my chemo nurse and smiled, "When I'm done? When will that be, do you think, Joe - when I'm cured?"
He smiled, sadly.
"Yes, when you are cured, Ann."
We both know that won't happen.
Posted by Ann aka ButDoctorIHatePink at 4:39 PM