I had my fourth chemotherapy cycle (one infusion of Rituximab, followed by 4 infusions of high-dose Cytarabine 12 hours apart) as an in-patient at the end of last week. This time I was in a bay with four other patients rather than in a side room, so it felt rather less isolating than cycle 2.
I was fortunate to end up with a window view. It might not look much (I suppose it isn’t, really), but the birds landing in front of it (mainly pigeons) kept me entertained.
The first four infusions of this cycle were straightforward. It’s sometimes been a struggle for nurses to get a cannula into me (my veins are deceptive) but this time it was a painless, first time experience. Just before I thought I was about to have my final infusion (Friday lunchtime) I took this photograph and announced to the world that I was nearly finished. I really shouldn’t have boasted – as a few minutes later I found out that my cannula had become slightly dislodged overnight, so a new one was going to be required.
Despite the valiant efforts of no less than four members of staff, putting another cannula into me proved unsuccessful. At this point, the decision was made to give a picc line instead. I was always going to need one for the stem cell transplant later on in the year, so this incident just brought it forward a few weeks. Having the picc line delayed treatment by a few hours, as it involves putting a fine flexible tube into a vein in the arm under local anaesthetic followed by a chest x-ray to make sure that it was in the right place. Mine needed a bit of adjustment, so a second x-ray was required to double-check.
My picc line is 42 cm long and terminates somewhere below my neck, above my chest. The whole process was painless and the good news is that I will need no more cannulas during treatment. It also makes taking blood samples much simpler, as it can be used for those too. No more needles! Hurrah! The downside is that I need it flushed and the dressing changed on it every week. A district nurse will be visitng to do this for me.
I’m feeling much better at this point in time than the equivalent after either cycle 2 or 3, but I am extremely tired. I’m hoping that a few days of good sleep will help. But feeling tired is much better than not feeling like eating or drinking as I did after cycle 3. I’m hopeful that I may be able to enjoy some of the better weather that’s been forecast here for the next couple of weeks as a consequence. I have a little yellow friend sitting in the garage who’s desparate for another run out soon …