Tag Archives: Ovarian Cancer

Skele-Gro

My chemo journey seems to bring me something new each week! One of my  biggest challenges with the Gemzar has been keeping my white count high enough to even get chemo, and also to avoid bacterial infection. It seems vaguely humorous that you need drugs to treat the side effects of the drugs needed to fight cancer.  It’s like the Inception (a dream within a dream) of cancer.  My latest challenge is the need to generate healthy bone marrow.  The best means of doing this appears to be Neulasta, a drug which stimulates bone marrow production.My cancer fighting chemotherapy is indiscriminate about which cells it kills, and it has been attacking my white blood cells.  Those infection fighting white blood cells are developed in the bone marrow.  We need to get the cell party started deep within my bone marrow.  To say that my last experience with Neupogen (another bone marrow booster) did not go well, would be a huge understatement.  The bone pain I felt from that was just excruciating.  But here’s a fun fact: Evidently Claritin fights bone pain.  Who knew? I always wonder who was the first person to figure out that taking something off label could help something else.  I started the Claritin today and will continue for a 3 days post chemo. The current plan is chemotherapy on Friday morning, and then the dreaded Neulasta on Saturday (24 hours after chemo). Then, let the fun begin. Image

Maybe it would just be easier to take Skele-gro!

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How’d de do dat?

“How do they put the chemo in?” Fair question.  If you are only having a few chemos, the doctor will sometimes just have the oncology nurses access a vein just like a normal blood draw.  If you are having multiple chemos, it is much easier and less painful on the veins to have a PowerPort installed in your chest.  When I had chemo directly infused into a vein in the hand (the very first time before I had my port), my hand burned and they had to keep warm compresses on it while the chemo drug worked its magic. My port  is located on my right side directly beneath my collar bone, so it doesn’t interfere with the seatbelt in a car.  Inserted surgically two years ago, it can remain in the body indefinitely.  It can be used for blood draws, injecting MRI contrast dyes, or administering chemo.  Dr. D says he usually takes them out two years post chemo.  The PowerPort gives the nurses direct access to the veins.  To access the port, they punch a special needle into the port.  There is a cold spray that can be used, but I think the spray hurts as much as the needle, so I always go with no spray.  After the chemo is complete, the port is flushed with heparin and the needle is removed.  A small bandage (just like a blood draw) is put on the access point.

1.  It doesn’t affect your ability to swim or take a shower.

2.  It doesn’t set off metal detectors as airports.

3.  They undersold the pain of insertion, but it doesn’t hurt now.

4. It can be used for regular blood draws, but the needle used is a special needle.

5.  Only specially trained folks can access it.

6. It can be used within a few days of being implanted, but it will hurt few weeks.

7. On some people, you don’t notice the port, but mine pokes through the skin like an alien head.  My daily life doesn’t include a lot of bikinis, so no problem there.

8.  For people with bad veins, this is a life saver!

9.  Only one “stick” takes care of blood draw and chemotherapy infusion.

10.  There are no problems exercising with a port, so get out there!

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