PICC Out – PORT In

I had the pre-treatment meet and greet with the people on Ward 10 at the Queen Elizabeth (Q.E.) Hospital in Gateshead today. They were honestly nice people. It was a typical meet and greet, I had a lot of the very typical and expected *nudge nudge* “You don’t have to be mad to work here…” and “This is Joyce, be nice to her or she’ll give you the shite biscuits” but all in all. They do seem to be a nice bunch. Which is nice when you think about it, as they’ll be seeing me a couple days, every 2 weeks. In one day, about 45 minutes. Get hooked up and then sent home. I am back 47 hours later to be disconnected again and then home for a couple of weeks.

They showed me through the ‘Treatment rooms’ and waiting rooms etc. Tea, coffee etc making facilities, toilets etc.
They’re okay I guess. Very… Clinical I guess? I am not doing a good job at explaining this.

No wait, I got this…

Think, a hospital trying it’s hardest to not look like a hospital. Yeah, that’s it. Picture that in your mind and there, you’ve got a NHS Chemotherapy treatment room.
Oh and I’m not trying to be a dick about it. They tried. It all seems really nice and as I say, the people too.

So, I meet the nurses, sisters and a matron today. They were running me through how the treatment works. I was asked at one point, “Didn’t your oncologist explain the process to you?” She rolled her eyes when I explained to her that he had not. No great surprise from her reaction then. We covered diets and exercise, the food advice, I get it. Really sound advice, very similar to the advice given to expecting mum’s but sadly, we got some very 1970’s style advice on exercise. The advise given was to take it very carefully, don’t do anything that is moderate to vigorous. You may want to consider Yoga or Pilates.

Now, all the research Kerry and I have been doing is basically telling us that there is beaucoup evidence to support that people going through cancer treatment and that exercise have a dramatically better response to chemotherapy than those that don’t.
Kerry keeps going back to this Australian article that she found:-
“If we could turn the benefits of exercise into a pill it would be demanded by patients, prescribed by every cancer specialist and subsidised by government.”
and
“We’re at a point where the level of evidence is really indisputable and withholding exercise from patients is probably harmful.”

Well, I will take it easier than when I was in the gym 3-4 weeks ago. I am not going to be getting PB’s for a couple of weeks. I am also not going to let all of my muscles go to waste either. I need to find a happy medium here. I want to stay fit and healthy. I want to exercise. I have no idea whether I am going to be able to do any of this until I know how hard the chemo is going to hit me. I may be one of the lucky ones. I could be back to work in a month and taking half days for chemotherapy who knows?

Time, I guess.

Oh, we’ve also covered the dreaded PICC.

and, no… No I wasn’t having it installed today. If anything it would have been tomorrow. They had not intended to give me the PICC line, when I inquired they said that they do it with a sort of mini line similar to a cannula/Picc. I’m getting used to it now. Oncologist or Consultant says one thing, then when it comes to it happening, well that’s the other.

I then had to explain that I am super needle-phobic and I was then offered an alternative. I wished I’d met this lady weeks ago. Although I would have to be placed on a list but I shouldn’t take more than a week or two. Which works out nicely as it would be for my second course of the treatment when it would be needed. I can handle one cannula.

So this alternative, instead of the PICC I have linked to you before.
It would be a different procedure called a Implantable Port. Exactly the same principle as the PICC line except way more permanent. You can have this thing in way longer than a PICC line. You also do not need to have this thing flushed out every week-10 days like the PICC line. Have a read, do a google. Yes, it’s going to leave a scar, but this cancer is going to scar me a lot and if you’re all coming on the journey with me then shit, you may pick up one or two along the way too.

09:30 tomorrow morning I am back at the hospital. That’s when treatment starts… I don’t suppose there’ll be a lot of sleep this evening. I’ll download a film or stream something on Netflix if needs be. Kerry’s still working right now, the wolf is snoring on my feet right now.

Pain Today: 6/10
Mood Today: Worried about tomorrow.
Appetite Today: I managed a breakfast and a dinner today (Geordies read: Tea)
Weight: 200 lbs / 90 KG

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