Round 3 started just like the 1st 2 rounds; the nurses gushing over the newly filled treat basket, kidnapping threats and compliments on Ted & Jamie, greetings to familiar faces and then the process of accessing my port began…and when the normal routine flew out the window!
My mom and I got a wild hair and decided to ‘dress up’ my port for Halloween heeheehee After we arrived at the cancer center we wiped off the residual lidocaine off my port and my mom went to work drawing an eye and adding false eyelashes for the final touch. Once the make-up was dry (we used liquid liner) and the glue was set on the lashes, I carefully covered up my port and reported back for my vitals to be checked before heading to the chemo room. Kasey (1 of 3 nurses) came over to begin the process of accessing my port but when I pulled my shirt aside, the process came to a giggling halt! With an innocent look on my face, I cheerfully explained that my port was dressed up for Halloween! Kasey said that Jolynn (head nurse for the chemo suite) ‘just has to see this!’ So we all put on straight faces while Kasey called her over; ‘Jolynn, can please cover and take a look at this?’. She must have had a bad start to her day because she called over from her desk and asked what it was that needed looking at. Kasey calmly told her that she couldn’t explain and Jolynn really needed to see it for herself. With a clenched jaw, Jolynn walked over to see what the issue was… Once again I pulled my shirt aside to reveal my port and both nurses proceeded to burst out laughing! Seems no one has ever done something like that to their port before and both Kasey & Jolynn decided that the day had officially restarted! 🙂
While Jolynn walked back to her desk, shaking her head and laughing, Kasey went to work sterilizing my port site. Deep breath and in goes the needled – this does not hurt when lidocaine lotion is applied liberally, 30 minutes prior to the needle going in. But here’s where the morning took another unexpected turn; prior to receiving meds, the port is ‘flushed’…saline gets pushed in with a syringe and then blood is pulled back out and then pushed back in again – port accessed (and no, I can’t feel that either). Only this time, the saline went in and came out again, no blood return. After trying again a few more times, Kasey injected heparin (blood thinner) and tells me to start walking the hall with stomping steps. So off I go; walking, stomping and throwing a few jumps for good measure lol 30 minutes later; Kasey tries again but still gets no blood return. So we try different positions; leaning forward on my arms, laying all the way back, arm crossed over me, arm raised above my head, nothing is working. So back to walking the halls I go when I run into my oncologist who sees me walking around partially accessed and asks what’s happening. Situation explained and my doc walks me back into the chemo suite and tells them to try TPA (stronger blood thinner) and to continual my walking, bouncing, jiggling, stomping and jumping for 30 minutes. I cannot even imagine how strange I must’ve appeared to those not in the chemo room lol 30 minutes later Kasey tries again to get a return and is rewarded with the slightest of a pink tinge, then nothing. So Jolynn comes over and gives it a try herself; no success. So back in come my doc who says to send me over to port scanning to see what is going on and to confirm where my chemo is going. You see, if one if my chemo drugs escapes the vein, it will destroy the healthy tissue it comes in contact with.
Kasey decides to give it one last go; suddenly she bursts out ‘there’s a clot! I saw it fly in (to the syringe) but it went back into the port!’. She hands Jolynn the syringe and after a couple attempts, the clot is captured! My mom and I can actually see the clot floating around, talk about wild! Jolynn ran off to show my doc and get to go ahead to resume treatment; which we got 🙂 They just needed to monitor my pre-fluids to make sure no swelling occurred…none did!
After arriving in the chemo room at approximately 9:30am, fluids finally began to flow at 11:30 am. Needless to say, we shut the place down as I was the last patient to leave at 5:30pm. Talk about a long day!
Pictures will be posted tomorrow after my mom emails them to me; she got some great shots of the nurses laughing, the facility and more.
3 down, 13 to go!