Keeping Perspective and Staying Thankful

It took four nurses a total of seven pokes to access a vein for chemo this afternoon. The nurses were all kind and skilled. (They say my veins like to hide, and that sometimes happens in people who have been treated for cancer for a long time.) I asked for information about ports and PICC lines, which are alternative options to getting poked so many times. One of the nurses put in a note for my oncologist requesting him to have a conversation with me about this. Another nurse brought me pamphlets with more information about both of these options. I’ll read them carefully in preparation for talking with my oncologist.

It’s not usually this hard to get a vein. Typically it takes about three pokes, but occasionally, like three weeks ago, the nurse connects on the first try. (Merry Christmas!)

Getting poked frequently is part of the rhythm of chemo life. Blood work (poke) on Wednesday, chemo (unknown number of pokes) on Thursday … every three weeks. The nurses are skilled and kind, and apologetic when they can’t get a vein. I thank them for doing their job well and remind them (and myself) that chemo and their care is saving my life, so getting poked is definitely worth it.

Today I asked what the record number of pokes was in their unit: 12. So, keeping things in perspective, it went pretty well. They found a vein, so I didn’t have to be sent home without chemo. It only took 7 pokes. It only took 4 nurses. The chemo all went in the way it should, and is working to help keep me alive. I’m now home, feeling well, and very thankful for nurses and the kind and skilled care they give.

5 thoughts on “Keeping Perspective and Staying Thankful

  1. You have such a great attitude, Jill. I’m sure those nurses appreciated your patience. Terry has had a port for years and wouldn’t go back to the vein poking! Keep it clean, well flushed and it should serve you well if you and your oncologist decide to go with it. Does require a small day patient procedure though. At least that’s how it went for Terry. Sending love and hugs!

  2. Happy new year Jill. I have a port-a—cath and it is the best thing about cancer treatment. During actual chemo, my arms and hands are free to hold a book, phone, etc. it saves time and frustration for all because no searching for veins that don’t hide, or roll. If I’d been unwell, I was often not well hydrated, which affects the veins. Don’t need to be with my port-a-cath. It was in fact my chemo nurses that insisted I ask for a referral to have one installed. They said they weren’t prepared to have to have 4 and 5 nurses every time making several attempts each. It was taking so much time for us all, not to mention the emotional toll on the nurses. They are professionals and it’s another emotional toll. They had a doc @Irving Greenberg that backed them up, (and Dr. Brule too,)to have one installed within a month or they would refuse to keep trying. 30 days later the Civic had an out-patient spot for me to have the surgery. I was given fenatyol I remember,( it’s real use) and a sleeping pill or something and I was out. Woke up returning to the room where I was prepped, given a snack, and went home. I’ve had no problems with it! Now that I’m not on chemo, or needing it routinely, I have it flushed every 3 months. Used to be monthly. My home care nurse does it. I’m having it flushed next Thursday. Takes about 3 minutes! Same as after every chemo infusion. Just flushed with saline. It feels like a button under the skin. My neice’s was installed kinda under her armpit, not on her chest like mine. It made chemo and immunotherapy so much easier, not to mention when I’ve been hospitalized. Again having my arms free. Can shower and bathe as usual. The Pic line (sp,) will always be a showering issue. I feel like a sales lady. It’s just that it was a game-changing kind of thing for me, after all the trauma of getting a vein. See you on zoom Monday? XxJan

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  3. I have a pic line also , installed in my forearm above the elbow , it does take some care & precaution for
    Showers .

  4. Pingback: Advocacy matters! | Through the Valley

  5. Hi Jill, Oh my, needle pokes are not my favourite thing either, but I’m glad to hear you are so positive about the whole experience. I have very small veins that like to collapse even during regular blood work so IV pokes are much more troublesome for me. Typically the nurses try to heat up the area first before they attempt to go in for the vein…..sometimes it works the first time, but lately not so much. You can imagine how excited I was when 3 months ago I went for my CT IV poke and the nurse said they had received a “vein finder”. I’d only heard about them being in US cancer centres. I was ecstatic….imagining the vein jumping out, saying “pick me”!! Which actually it did. But what I and obviously the nurse didn’t realize was the vein was practically buried halfway through my arm…..on my it was painful and actually 3 months later you can still the the shadow of the original bruise. So maybe we should go back to the regular “seek and find” pokes. LOL! Stay heathy and safe Jill. I think of you often when I’m feeling a bit pensive about this whole LC thing….and I say….just look at Jill, if she can do this, so can I!! Loverne

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