Hooray my wireless is working again! So I promised I would give more details if I had the chance. Yesterday morning Joel had his port-a-cath put in. I tried to simply prep him for the surgery, according to Joel I didn’t do such a good job. I told him what I understood was going to happen. I basically told him because the doctors were going to need to give him lots of medicine and to check his blood regularly he was going to have a surgery so that they wouldn’t need to poke him with needles so much. I told him there was also going to be a bump under his skin.
The technical definition sounds more like this;
A portacath is an implanted venous access device for patients who need frequent or continuous administration of chemotherapy. Drugs used for chemotherapy are often toxic, and can damage skin, muscle tissue, and sometimes veins. They often need to be delivered into large central vein where the drugs are immediately diluted by blood stream and delivered efficiently to the entire body. Cancer patients also require frequent blood tests to monitor their treatments. For patient with difficult veins, it can be used for withdrawing blood for blood tests.
A portacath consists of a reservoir (the portal) and a tube (the catheter). The portal is implanted under the skin in the upper chest. It may appear as a bump under the skin in thin patients, less visible in patients with thicker subcutaneous fat. The catheter runs in a tunnel under the skin, going over the collar bone and then enters the large vein in the lower neck (the internal jugular vein).
When Joel came out of surgery they had set up the port with an IV, I thought it was just going to be an incision instead there is the massive thing on his chest. So Joel is sore, hungry and confused. Not to mention mad at me for not explaining things better. Poor guy, then he had to wait 5 hours for his next procedure. Boy did those hours drag. Finally off he went for a C T scan and to have his mask made and his markings put on him. Now he is all set to start radiation on Monday. Oh and he does not receive any chemo his first week but for the next 5 weeks of radiation he will receive a dose of Vincristine. (a chemo drug) Joel will then have a 4 week break before beginning the rest of his chemo, but I digress.
Amazingly enough Joel fell asleep in good time and slept well.
Today Joel did pretty good we went to the playroom again and he painted a few pictures and then he played with some toys. He is still in a fair amount of pain when he moves from his port-a-cath. Physio was harder today because he is uncomfortable and he started with a new therapist as well. Living here really is one step at a time, no two days are a like.
Joel and I have been talking about what kind of things lie ahead of him. I struggle with how much to say as Joel asks no questions. We have read a few books from oncology, we have talked a bit about hair loss. Today we were playing in the playroom when out of the blue Joel blurted, “There is nothing fun about loosing your hair.”
I wish I could see into his mind and see what he is thinking. I think I need to call it a night as my eyelids are getting increasingly heavier and there is no guarantee that I will continue to make some assemblance of sense.
Blessings to you all!!!
* Sydney (North) Interventional Radiology