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Just a few questions

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I know this is really a silly question but as the time draws closers to going to see the Dr. about the PAC placement it somehow makes things seem more real, does it hurt when they do the insertion?? I hate needles and of course have little tiny veins that roll around so I always get stuck several times and my veins blow so easy. Do they knock you out when they do it or just numb you up. All of the things I am facing and right now that is bothering me the most, I know it is nuts. I have an aptt. at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Institute on Thurs. to see the Dr. there, so that is reality again big time. I have done a lot of research and it really does seem like they have a great reputation.I really don't know what to expect from the radiation and chemo I tried looking at things online and every site I found was gloom and doom and I just got so upset and depressed I quit looking, maybe I just looked in the wrong places. I stumbled on to this group quite by accident and feel like I won the lottery. I expect to get sick and lose weight and feel lousy and lose my hair but I just don't know to what extent and with all my autiommune diseases I am sure it will complicate everything. I just wish I was done seeing Drs. and was ready to go, after the upcoming wedding of course. I am anxious yet try to stay so busy I can not think about things. I am having a hard time making myself eat, thank goodness I am on Lunesta for sleep already, it helps so much. I guess I am in semi-denial if there is such a thing. Thanks so much for letting me express my feelings, I find it hard to do with my family. I feel like I have to stay so positive and do my best to never cry. I am blessed with a wonderful life partner, we have been together over 16 years and he really has helped me raise a wonderful son. I have so many friends that are offering help in any way they can it amazes me. My family all live in MO. and we are way down here in Bush LA which is close to New Orleans. My mother is on stand by to come stay with me if and when things get really bad but she is 70, tho you would not know it to see her, she does yoga and walks everyday. I really don't want any of my loved ones or friends seeing me really sick, have always been that way. I hated it when people came to see me in the hospital all the time. I know this is a long long road and I feel like I have just barely taken my first step. I hope eveyone is doing well. Thanks for listening. Gentle Hugs Barbara

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Now, I am going to go "out on a limb" here on that PAC placement thing -- I don't really know what PAC stands for, but.....in reading/interpreting your post content, if it's what they can put in as a "permanent port" to access your veins so you don't have to be stuck all the time and risk collapsed veins and such.....I was just talking to a gal today at mom's chemo session about that (she had one of those -- hers was in her chest area)....she said it was done on an outpatient basis, no problem during the procedure itself, and that she definitely felt like she was "run over by a truck" for about 24 hours, but then all was well....she loves it (she has been doing chemo/radiation/labs thing off and on since 1999) -- no problems with it as far as bathing, clothing, sleeping, etc. Mom and I were avidly considering today whether mom should get one of those too since mom has tiny, hard to find veins, and just gets mutilated with all the needle sticks. If I am totally wrong on the PAC thing, just ignore me and hopefully someone else will help you there.

You did win the lottery finding this site....don't you believe the gloom and doom thing for one precious minute!!! You did good, doing your research to be informed, but just take it one day at a time.....each person seems to respond individually to chemo/radiation....don't expect to get any symptoms or side effects (there are those that seem to fly through it with not much of nothing from what I have noted), but you're informed so you can ask your docs. if you do note anything of concern to you.....excellent.

You express here as much as you need to. That's what this site helps with the most -- I come here alot just to say what I can't say to anyone else near me.....just know you will be heard and supported through your journey.



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Hi Barbara, Well I can't speak about the port, I couldn't face getting one. But now my veins are worse for the wear, so it is good idea. I think they put you slightly under.

As for getting chemo and radiation, I was nervous too at first. My husband told me to think of it as getting a daily x-ray, and that helped. And the rad-techs will pamper you. There is a slight sunburn after week 2 or so, but not that bad. And my chemo wasn't that bad either, just minor hair thinning. It was the first time in my life I could eat as much as I wanted and not worry about gaining weight. I even gained 5 pounds I didn't need. :)

Going in the infusion room for first time is creepy until you look at the other people. Yes, some are really sick, but many look pretty strong and healthy, most are really friendly. And be sure to bring some food along, because the drugs cause extreme munchies. Bring enough for others sitting near you, they will have the muchies too.

I know they say you are supposed to eat right, but I used to drink a milkshake everyday immediately after radiation. I told myself it helped cool down my throat...funny but I didn't get rad burn inside my throat. Iced green tea is good too.

This post is way too long Barbara. I just want to encourage you. Your mom is still going strong at age 70, you obviously come from strong stock. Stay positive. Hugs, Barb

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The port will make the chemo much easier. My husband started without a port and it was not pleasant. There's no pain or problem with having the port put in. It's a pretty quick procedure. Ask your doctor to prescribe the cream to put on the access site to numb it before they use it. Good luck.


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Hi Barbara, I have Port-a-cath and I am glad I got it. I have it in the left chest area just below the shoulder. I had it done as out-patient and did not feel a thing. Going into my second week of chemo & rads and so far everything is going OK. I also was very nervous and scared, but these great people here gave me a lot of good advise and encouragement. I know that there is a lot of stuff out there on the internet. Stay focused on the positive. Everyone is different and with the good support you mentioned, you'll do fine. Keep us posted. GOD Bless

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Hi Barb,

I just want to welcome you here and Iam sorry you had to find us. As you see there are many caring people on here who will give you support.

I cannot help you with the port but I know people who had it put in and it works so well. So much better then having to searh for veins all the time.

They seem to have a good plan for you dad. Keep us posted.


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Hi Barbara,

My husband had a port put in, and it was one of the best decisions we made. We wished we had done it sooner, as he endured over a year of poking and rolling flattening veins. He used to be so bruised up.

The procedure itself is not bad. They told us they need to keep him conscious, but that he would be given a "Twightlight" sedation. Basically it was an IV, it made him so drowsy and sedated that he could barely stay awake (in fact he slept), but if the doctors needed to, they could make him respond. Also the twilight sedation is also an amnesiotic. You should not remember anything after the procedure, and you will need to have someone drive you home.

The only pain with the procedure comes after all the medication wears off. To place the port, they need to create a pocket between the skin and muscle so the seperate the two just a little bit. It does cause bruising and muscle pain after. No lifting anything for a few days. They will give you pain meds, and Keith found that those little cold packs you can stick in the freezer really helped with the swelling and therefore minimized the pain.

The end result is well worth it. He has a slight raised bump on his chest under his collarbone that is about the size of a quarter (just slightly smaller) it has a rubber center that all the doctor has to do now is penetrate the skin anywhere in the vicinity of that button and they have vein access.

Ry also has great advice with the accessing of the port. My husband doesn't mind the poke, but if you want a completely pain free process in the future request the lidocaine cream prior to accessing the port and it will numb the skin. (heck, I even ask for that before I get IV's, so I don't think it would be too much to ask for it prior to getting the IV for your port procedure) Why not make it as painless as medically possible. :)

The treatments and radiation side effects really vary from person to person. The secret is to take your anti-nausea meds regularly as scheduled, and to not wait until you are already nauseous. They work great at keeping it down, but not as well as getting rid of it once it is already there. Also, chemo and radiation are very dehydrating so drink lots and lots of fluids. Some of the problems we hear a lot about are more caused by dehydration than the actual chemo. You also need to keep your strength up, so eat a little bit even if you don't feel hungry. You need to make sure you are eating, and this will also help with the nausea as well. Many people have found that a small meal or amount of food every couple of hours is much better than 3 normal sized meals through the day. It is better to keep the stomach from being empty.

Ok, Ok, I know this got really really long. I wish you the best with your procedure, and I will be raising your name to God in prayer.

God Bless you!

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