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 Post Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:34 am 
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Things unexpectedly began moving at a rapid pace. This past week was originally booked with an assortment of doctor appointments including having the port put in this past Friday. But we got a phone call early last Monday morning saying that the port was rescheduled for Wednesday, April 25th followed by the first round of chemotherapy.

This new development required me to get on the phone to cancel previously arranged appointments as well as rescheduling at least one of them. The other two have been left in limbo until who knows when.

We were required to be at the hospital at 7am for the 9am procedure. Arriving on time to fill out the obligatory paperwork that always takes longer than it should, we were finally escorted to a semi private room. I was instructed to remove all clothing from the waist up and to don one of their gowns with the opening in back.

With two pleasant nurses at my side, I was hooked up with an IV in my left arm.

I'm not sure why, but the anxiety of having the port surgically placed in my chest/neck was far greater an issue for me than the thought of starting the chemo. But when the surgeon came into our room to explain the procedure to us (and when I actually saw the device he was about to implant in my body I got even more nervous) I realized he was the same surgeon that performed my liver biopsy. Since he did an excellent job with that I felt relatively confident that all would go well with the port placement.

There were three attending nurses during the procedure. Two of them (men) came to my room to introduce themselves and explained their role during the procedure. I’m not sure who the third attending nurse was because I never *saw* her. She might have been one of the two that were in my room when I first got there but I honestly don’t know. They were all equally awesome and helped to put me at ease.

Around 9am I was rolled to the OR while Rob waited back in the room.

To my surprise, the OR was not your typical OR. I believe it was actually the X-ray room. I guess sometimes hospitals have to improvise.

I was asked to move myself off from my bed and onto a very long and narrow table. It was padded with something akin to Swedish mattress foam.

After I had myself situated on the table, one of the nurses attached a gutter to both sides of the table to allow my arms a place to rest.

It was difficult to see what was going on around me. Unless they were literally standing over me it was hard to discern who was talking. At some point, one of the nurses explained that they were about to sedate me. I would be fully awake but I'd feel no pain. I vaguely recall this happening despite my ability to taste and smell the things that go through the IV. I do, however, recall becoming completely calm and relaxed.

As the nurses continued to prep me prior to the surgeon arriving, they gently moved my hair away from the right side of my face and neck then gathered it into a hair net. Then they swabbed down the entire area around my neck and upper chest. I could feel the cold disinfectant liquid rolling down behind my neck and shoulder but I didn’t care in the least. I was already in la-la-land. XD

The nurses positioned my head so that I was facing toward the left to fully expose the right side of my neck for the surgeon. I remember feeling a bit concerned about that because when I'm in any one position for more than a few minutes at a time, my joints, especially my neck, gets stiff and stuck and I literally need to use my hands to move my head back the other way. But I quickly let that concern float far, far away.

Then the nurses placed a drape in front of me and over my face and head so that I could not see anything during the procedure. The sedative made it hard for me to keep my eyes open but I suppose it's a good precaution.

I was only aware that the surgeon arrived when I heard the nurses greeting him. I don't recall hearing his voice nor did I see him. I didn’t feel anything regarding the procedure. Soon it was over and I was lifting myself back onto my bed and being wheeled back to my room where Rob was waiting.

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     Post Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:16 am 
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    I am really glad you can still make jokes (See title of the thread). I am also glad that a treatment plan which seems viable has been found. I wish you the very best and please keep updating us (as long as that does not become a burden to you that is).

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     Post Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:31 am 
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    This user has been published! Armored Dwagon Monthly Winner Pin-up Calendar and New Art Team Supporter IRC Quote of the Moment This user got funny with a rodent Here for the 10th Anniversary Has collected at least one unit Erfworld Bicycle® Playing Cards supporter This user is a Tool! Mined 4 Erf Won Mine4erf for the Gobwins Was an active Tool on Free Cards Day Erfmover Supporter Won Mine4erf for the Marbits Spades Suit Pip Arkenhammer Supporter
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    Would you say you're officially a cyborg or not just yet? Hope you're recovering swiftly.

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     Post Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:59 am 
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    I am so glad you had some continuity of care with the same doctor as did your biopsy. That's got to be a comfort. The whole thing sounds both like a trip to fairyland, do try not to partake of too many of their foods, and like a moment in a sci fi novel.

    Like sdub I wonder if you are a cyborg now or more of an elven princess.

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     Post Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:32 am 
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    I don't know how I would react in a similar situation, but I am sure I would be very grateful for the good drugs. :) It's certainly reassuring that they seem to be taking very good care of you, but I was surprised that you've started chemo already. You are in my thoughts daily. :)

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     Post Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 7:03 am 
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    Linda,

    I really appreciate this update. I’ve had several friends who needed a port. My brother may need one in the coming weeks. Your description is so vivid. Please keep it up.

    I have a fantasy that you’ll both come through this and compile your journal into your own book about your “adventures”. I’d love to read it. Perhaps planning that book (graphic novel?) will be a welcome distraction for you in the moments to come.

    Be well.

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     Post Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:40 am 
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    Wow, this brought back memories that I'd pretty much forgotten, about when I got my port in (also a chest port, on the left side). Although at first I didn't like it (it felt so weird), over time I came to really appreciate it because it made chemo and phlebotomy SO much easier. In fact, when it finally came time to remove it, I actually wished they didn't have to (they insisted, though)!

    One odd tip (you may know this already, apologies if it's redundant) -- whenever anyone accesses the port, they'll run a little bit of saline solution through it first to make sure it's working. And I don't know why this is, but...you can kind of taste an odd tang in your mouth when they do that. I started carrying Jolly Ranchers candy around with me and would pop one in my mouth just before they used the port, and that helped mask it. Green apple worked particularly well for whatever reason. Though I'm pretty much off them for life now because of it... :roll:

    I'm glad to hear that they're moving quickly to treat you. Hang in there, we're all rooting for you!

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     Post Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:45 am 
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    Linda,

    Thank you for posting these updates. You are in my thoughts daily and I am pulling for you.

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     Post Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 8:01 pm 
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    Been said a lot but no less true nor worth saying again, you're in my thoughts daily, put one in win column against cancer.

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     Post subject: Lessons from my Chemo
     Post Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 6:32 am 
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    I'm a hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor (diagnosis was done on March 2006, was treated with chemotherapy and radio-therapy). During treatments I, all too slowly, came to certain understanding what's the best way to handle the treatments. I'm going to dump them here hoping that you will find them useful.

    First of all, you are probably given some treatment for the nausea. I was given Zofran. Take it judiciously. My first round of chemo was the easiest one. Once the body starts vomiting, the memory is linked. At some point, I would start having nausea during the drive to the hospital.

    I've heard good things about Marijuana, but have not tried it myself.

    Avoid strong smells during treatments. Someone offered me ginger candy to combat nausea, and I indeed started being nauseated by the taste of ginger. To this day (more than a decade later) I still feel bad whenever the hand-soap I use has the same smell as at the hospital at the time.

    Find something you can eat even during the chemo, and stock up. For me it was vanilla ice-cream. Take a little whenever you feel bad. Don't worry about your diet. You need calories to replenish your immune system in time for the next treatment.

    In general, try to eat something on the day of the treatment. Going to treatment on an empty stomach makes the nausea worse. Also, try to keep your stomach not empty after the treatment. I know it seems absurd, but it actually works.

    My timetable was:
    • 6am arrive at hospital
    • 8am start treatment
    • 2pm finish treatment
    • 6pm surface from nausea and vomiting for long enough to eat 5 grains of under-seasoned rice.
    • 6:15pm feel well enough to finish the spoon of rice I was given

    At that point, as far as I was concerned, I was past the worst of it. I'd still feel bad, but not totally incapacitated.

    One thing I have not had a chance to try, but should work: I think part of the nausea is because the stomach gets so empty (and I was filling it back with water) that it loses acidity. So you're looking for something to drink that is highly acidic, while also containing calories.

    Image

    Yes, I'm actually suggesting you drink Coke here.

    Feel well and get well soon,
    Shachar

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     Post Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 7:26 am 
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    Just making an educated guess, the x-ray room for the port implantation was probably not improvisation. A handful of procedures need the assistance of a fluoroscope (streaming live X-ray channel lol) to assist the surgeon in guiding the port, pic line, angioplasty catheter, inter-joint contrast agent, etc.
    When I tore up my shoulder I had dye injected into the middle of the socket and the Dr did it in the fluoroscope room to see the what/where/how of it.

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     Post Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 10:01 am 
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    Shachar wrote:

    I've heard good things about Marijuana, but have not tried it myself.


    I know two people who have used Mari medically.

    One, who was treating pain from a stroke, became increasingly paranoid and bipolar, and it currently being treated for bipolar disorder and ... I forget what else, but he's on a cocktail of brain meds that is most impressive.

    Two, also pain, from a car accident, switched to that and lesser pain meds to get away from Vicodin.
    He's in rehab for Heroin now.

    So those two experiences I cannot recommend.

    Also I take several prescriptions for mental health myself. My first friend uses what's kind of but not really a vape type device for his Mj. It lets out very very little fumes. It screws up my coordination and gives me a headache every single time. The second friend used a more normal form of consumption, just being around him hurt. So interactions can be a bitch.

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