Posts tagged chemotherapy

My H-line for Healing

After more than a month of being on remission, I went back to the cancer institute for my scheduled consolidation or intensification chemotherapy. The goal of this phase is to destroy any remaining leukemia cells. It was also the start of the preparation for my stem cell transplant tentatively scheduled on July 2008.

First, my Hickman line was reinstalled. It is a silicon tube placed into one of my major blood vessels leading to my heart. It is used for giving treatment directly into a vein for my chemotherapy, administration of intravenous fluids, for my blood transfusion and for taking blood samples. The benefit of this thing is that it will save me the discomfort of having needles repeatedly inserted into my veins. I hate needles really. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The procedure actually started with a lot of x-rays in my neck and chest. When the vein has been identified, the line was then fitted. The procedure lasted for less than 30 minutes. Of course, it was done with a local anaesthetic and some intravenous sedatives. The line actually enters a vein in my neck (my collar bone) and exits from my upper chest. It was inserted through a tunnel in my skin. There were tingling sensations and pinches of pain during the procedure. It was very uncomfortable and I got four stitches after the incision. Keeping my “dangling line” in place is a stitch placed around the catheter. I was told that the stitch will remain there until the normal tissues has grown enough to hold the line naturally. Also, I was informed that there’s a small cuff in the tunnel which supports the tube.

I had four chemo sessions already using the reinstalled line. And as expected I was wasted, nauseous and exhausted. The day after my second chemo I’ve spiked a fever and was given a liquid paracetamol. When I woke up the next day, my temp went down from 101.2 to 98.5. Thank God.

Just a while ago, I was told that my “precious” Hickman line is due for flushing and cleaning with saline and heparin anytime this week so as to prevent it from being blocked by blood clots and also to avoid contamination. The nurse also told me that they will teach me how to clean it so that I can do the cleaning when I go home. Yahoo!

My oncologist told me that this “thing hanging on my chest” will now become my constant companion and best friend and I better give it a name so that our “bonding” will become more personal. Okay then, so from now on, my hickman line will be called “Hickie”. Ha ha ha.

I’m still up for more chemo sessions the coming days and I’m praying and keeping my faith that God will continuously show His face upon me and that He will help me get pass through it. Bless God!

Advertisements

Comments (19) »

the waiting continues

i was supposed to get the result of my spinal tap yesterday but a few hours before my scheduled appointment, my oncologist  called and he told me that the pathologist still hasn’t reach a conclusive and definitive findings as to whether the blast cells found in the sample are normal immature white cells or abnormal or leukemic cells. my doctor said the pathologist requested that she be given  some of the slides from my original bone marrow biopsy for comparison and analysis. looks like i have to wait for two more days.  😦

i was told that if the test would remain inconclusive i have no other choice but to repeat the spinal tap. or if the pathologist will eventually conclude that the cells are indeed leukemic cells then there’s an immediate need for me to undergo a more extensive chemo, 3 days per week for 3 months and then depending on the progress, i’ll undergo stem cell transplant which will be my last resort. but the thing is: my oncologist is worried that my frail body would not be able to withstand another round of extensive chemo since i had 3 chemo sessions already. he’s afraid that my organs would not be able to take the repercussions and eventually they would fail and kill me. on the other hand, if i don’t undergo another round of chemo (assuming i still have leukemic cells), i won’t last longer than a year. this is so depressing.

on the lighter side, if the pathologist concludes that the blast cells were normal immature white cells it means i don’t have leukemic cells anymore and i will be in remission. i will then undergo a month of consolidation therapy to prepare me for the stem cell transplant.

i don’t know what to feel right now. my head is full of “what if’s”. i know He holds my life in His hand and i just have to accept His will and trust His plans for me, but then, this is easier said than done. nevertheless, I will keep on trusting Him and will continue to wait on Him. i know He will carry me through, He will not leave me nor forsake me.

thank you for your unconditional love Lord. Your love keeps me sane.

You are forever in my life
You see me through the seasons
Cover me with Your hand
And lead me in Your righteousness

And I look to You
And I wait on You

I will sing to You, Lord
A hymn of love
For Your faithfulness to me
I’m carried in everlasting arms
You’ll never let me go
Through it all

Hallelujah, hallelujah

through it all/hillsong

Comments (11) »

just a quick update

Yesterday:

  • i had another round of chemo.
  • high dose ara-c was pumped into my body for two hours and the clear liquid felt like hell 😦 
  • ara-c is actually an anti-metabolites which is similar to normal body molecules. they stop the cells from making cancer cells and repairs DNA
  • as expected, i was exhausted, thirsty, was throwing up and irritated after the session
  • i got hives (sore, red spots on my neck, feet and arms)
  • i have 2 big mouth sores and it is so hard to drink water even with a straw. ang sakit! damn!

the-head.jpg

Today:

  • i was throwing up the whole morning.
  • early afternoon: my blood count dropped and was given platelets.
  • middle of the transfusion: i had an allergic reaction so they gave me 100 mg of benadryl
  • at this moment: i feel so tired and grouchy
  • praying that the Lord restores the spirit of submission, patience and hope within me
  • saw the assessment of my medical bill and felt sad about it (we need to pay at least half of it within the week)
  • i want to sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep and sleep

platelets.jpg

Tomorrow:

  • another round of chemo—- a date with ara-c
  • anticipating a good result from my cardiologist, re: 2D echo

Please keep those prayers coming.

Comments (23) »