Thursday, 18 April 2013

First Oxaliplatin Infusion; Did it kill me?

No, it did not! After battling awful traffic all the way we finally managed to arrive at the oncology day care center in Meir Hospital on time. It is a fairly big ward, probably about 40 places in all, some in armchair recliners and some beds, depending on the state of the patient. It isn't really new or swish, but is adequate; it gets a little crowded when it is busy and companions have a hard time finding a comfortable place to sit. Oren ended up perched on a high stool crammed into a corner with patient files hemming him in on all sides! The nurses are nice, work hard and are professional and friendly. My nurse was an English speaking nurse from America called Maia.
We started off with a BIG problem getting an open vein. I maybe hadn't drunk enough or whatever, but my veins were not in the mood for giving blood, and after five attempts on my arms the third nurse to try used a vein on the back of my hand. Everyone, including me, thought it would be hopeless, and they immediately sent off blood work and ordered an appointment to put in a port, which is a kind of under the skin permanent catheter. I really don't want a port, it will bother me doing yoga, but it did seem as if there was no choice at that point. However, surprisingly, the back of hand vein was really good, dripped well and gave me no pain at all. I had been told that Oxaliplatin can hurt, especially in a small vein, but this was fine. I just have a kind of feeling of numbness and as though I have got a bit of a fibreglass burn on my arm just over the infusion area and a few centimeters up. So, I asked them to cancel the port and I will carry on this way. Next time is in three weeks and I will try the other hand, there seems to be a good vein there too. The whole procedure took a long time, we arrived at 9.00 and left at 15.30, but next time will be shorter since I won't need blood work, I will do it in the local clinic and I won't need the first time tutorial. I hope we will get a vein open more easily too.
Side effects; I have sensitivity to cold which makes my hands numb and I have pins and needles a lot of the time in them,probably because it is a bit cold today. It doesn't hurt, just annoying and a little difficult to type. No nausea, no feeling of weakness yet, but I haven't got out of bed yet, ha ha ha. I know the floor will feel as though it is frozen metal. No diarrhea as far as I can tell, but it is a bit hard to know with an ileostomy anyway, luckily! No running for the loo for me!  Anyway, this should all go away in the next few days.
 I need to get used to taking the Xeloda, with chemo-brain this is quite a feat. I definitely have some chemo-brain, my short term memory is shot to hell, although it doesn't affect things like playing chess as far as I can see. I can ask the same question and have it answered three times in a row, though, and some things just completely disappear into a black hole. 
So, all in all not too bad, much less than I had feared. I can do this!
And I'm going to yoga today.

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