Midlife necessities

Midlife necessities
Midlife necessities

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Broviac or Bust

I'm already behind because things just happen too fast.

Thursday night was the first time I really cried. I really did not want to have this tube placed into my body, and I fell asleep with my hand on my chest. Friday, September 26th, I had my Broviac tunneled central venous catheter placed into the right side of my chest. My radiology tech's name was Poblete, so we instantly bonded and he helped lighten the mood.

The nurse explained the procedure. I would have a local anesthesia and the radiologist would insert the Broviac under the skin into the jugular vein. The jugular vein? Yikes! I didn't wear any mascara because I felt I was going to have some tears, and I was right. As I was laying on the table I had tears going down the sides of my face. The tech asked me if I was crying and I said, "No! I have allergies." I then told him that this was the first time I cried, and he told me not to worry, they would help me beat my disease. I told him that wasn't why I was crying! It was because I didn't want the Broviac! It's creepy imaging something in your chest and hanging off of it! He laughed. 

We were waiting for the doctor, so I took advantage of my new relationship with my tech and asked if he wanted to pray with me or if I should pray by myself. He came over to me and said he would pray, he held my hand and put his other hand on my shoulder and said the most beautiful prayer that instantly calmed me down. I was then ready when the doctor started the procedure. 

It's weird when you are awake for something like this. You listen to your medical team's conversation and it has nothing to do with your very delicate and important procedure! My head was turned to the side and the doc kept pushing his arm down on my nose so it was hard to breathe. I prayed the whole time and still remained calm. Then he was finished! At least my new fashion accessory is a pretty purple color. The nurse dressed my catheter area, I got dressed and was released at 3:30. My neck was a bit sore and stiff. I had an appointment at 5:30 to go over Broviac care, so I would be able to make my "hair system" appointment at 4:15.

I was so fortunate that my neighbor and good friend Sherri was able to drive me around and hang out with me all afternoon. I impulsively made the wig appointment about an hour before my Broviac appointment, hoping I'd not only be finished with my procedure on time but that I'd feel good! Several of my friends from church referred me to this salon, so I made the appointment thinking what the heck. I tried on a few different styles that the stylist, Sherri and I thought might be good. I was only supposed to focus on style first and not color, but I had trouble doing that. The wigs I had tried on at the first store I went to were pretty much similar to my own hair, so this time we went with a different look and guess what? We found Gabby, a sassy light brown, highlighted wig that's shorter than my own hair but super cute. The two of them said that it looked like I just went to the salon and got a new cut and color! I liked it, and "what the heck" turned into "I'll take it!" Much thanks to my parents who bought Gabby for me. 

Sherri drove me back to Kaiser and sat with me while a sweet nurse, Rafi, changed my dressing since it had some blood on it. Ew. Then she showed us how to "flush" my line. What? I will have to do this every morning and evening. Just for a few days while it heals, right? No, until it is removed. WHAT? Ok, creepy just turned into creepier. Using prefilled syringes, I have to flush my line first with saline and then with heparin, to prevent blood clots in my blood vessels. Gross AND creepy!! Rafi showed me how to do it and then I tried it. Ok, it wasn't that bad. I thought I could probably do it myself. Rafi then sent us down to the pharmacy to pick up my supplies. We waited quite awhile until my TWO GROCERY-SIZED BAGS were ready! I got boxes of syringes, purple gloves and alcohol wipes. I also got a package with all of my dressing materials. If my dressing ever gets wet, I will need to go to urgent care and be redressed. Haha.

When Sherri and I were talking to Rafi, she said something that made sense. I've been looking at my situation as having restrictions rather than taking precautions. It's all in my best interest. I have guidelines which have been found to be helpful in treating cancer patients, and I was diagnosed with cancer. Sherri said it's amazing that one word can change your whole outlook on everything. And my outlook has changed. 

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