Monday, October 15, 2012

Waiting for chemo to start

A couple of hours ago they put the PICC line in. PICC stands for "Peripherally Inserted Central Cateheter". It is a catheter that is inserted into a large vein in my right arm above my elbow. For my doctor friends, I have the "PowerPICC SOLO" catheter. The catheter looks like a small purple coffee stir. It has 2 "ports" so I can get chemo at the same time I get (or give blood).  They put it in while I was in my room but it was a sterile procedure so Chad had to leave the room. The woman doing it dressed like she was doing surgery and my arm was draped. It is a little uncomfortable but much better than getting blood drawn from veins daily on top of IVs.

Then they did a chest Xray to make sure it was in the right position. They came to the room for the Xray which was convenient but a bit of a comedy of errors getting it all set and positioned. Then I laughed when they asked if I could be pregnant. I realize this is a standard question but when you are doing a procedure to prep someone for chemo you would have hoped it would have been asked earlier in the day (which it was).

My other favorite quotes of the day are...
- "wow, your blood is moving fast are you on blood thinners" by the Lab Tech drawing my blood, unfortunately no blood thinners just no platelets left in my blood.
- "have a great day" by the valet ... very nice of him to say but on the day you start chemo all I could think was hopefully it will be better than I think (which it has been).
- "your room has a great view to see downtown fireworks" ... by someone on the PICC team who wandered in looking for the lady working on me. what is funny about this is that the fireworks downtown in Cincinnati are Labor Day, when the Reds score or win, and at Christmas off the top of Macy's. The first 2 are in the past and I sincerely hope I am not here until Christmas.

I have had a stream of people in and out today. I have learned that I am causing a bit of excitement because "hairy cell luekemia" is so rare many people are interested in it. I have also learned this wing I am in is brand new and just opened about a month ago so many people in the hospital have not been up to it before.

The plan is to start me on a battery of preventive meds (e.g., antibiotics, anti-nausea drugs, etc.). They took more blood today and my numbers are worse than last Friday but better than last Wednesday but is looking like I will get another blood transfusion and platelets tonight.

They have said they are going to hook the chemo meds up to my PICC line about 9 tonight. I am not sure what we are waiting on right now. Given we arrived at 9am has been a long day of waiting. Thank you, Molly and Carol, for the magazines and the rest of the hospital care package :). 

Chad and the girls just stopped by since I am feeling good and not hooked up to everything and it was great to see them. The girls thought the bed which you could adjust up and down was cool, and the flat screen TV in my bedroom and zero entry shower were also crowd pleasers. They dropped off some snacks as well. While I the medical care here at University Hospital is suppose to be excellent the food that cames to your room is not. You can order what you want which is a plus but I could the worst grilled cheese sandwich of my life tonight.

Overall today has been fine....hopefully tomorrow will be the same. Keep your fingers crossed for no fever for me when I start the chemo drugs!


  1. Beth,it's nice to see you still have your sense of humor. Sounds like you are being a very patient patient! We are happy to have your regular updates. Know that we are all praying for you and seding positve thoughts. Stay strong and keep the faith :)


  2. two have always been hilarious...but, somehow...I never thought I would be bent over in stitches over your leukemia blog!! Can't wait to see you tomorrow!!

  3. Beth - Happy to see your regular updates. All of my positive energy, thoughts, and prayers are being sent to you!


  4. Just found this blog tonight. We're all sending you all the strength we can tonight! We'll watch this blog closely.

  5. Beth,
    Keep up the good spirits and humor! Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that you have a "speedy" recovery and that your treatments go well.

    Sending positive thoughts your way!
    Valerie Guthrie

  6. Hi Beth… following your updates here fron San Jose... I just wanted you to know that I wish you the best and my prays are with you and your family.

    Good luck and keep that strength you have!

  7. Hi Beth,
    We haven't met yet, but we are all rooting for you from Newcastle.
    Any idea where they get the name 'hairy cell'??
    You won't know the program, but there was a kids TV show years ago called 'Michael Bentine's Potty Time' which was about these strange hairy puppets & this is what I am visualising (a bit left field,I know!!) - you can look it up on you tube & probably begin to understand why people from the UK in the 40's are not quite normal!
    Anyway, looking forward to your updates as you fight the 'hairy monsters'.
    Sending loads of positive vibes
    Jen Horton.

  8. Hi Beth - Thinking of you and sending prayers and positive thoughts your way. Stay strong and fight hard!!!!