BEP Cycle 3 Day 17

Thursday 1 August 2019

I was feeling good when I got up. I took it fairly easy during the morning, spending time writing the blog and speaking to my mum on the phone. We headed out just after 1 pm. We dropped by a local shop to buy some chicken feed, but unfortunately that was closed when we got there, so we continued on to Bristol.

It was a nice day out. We arrived at the hospital a little early, so we first visited the pharmacy to collect my prescription from the day before: sixty injections of Clexane that would keep me going for a month. I was hoping that my consultant would let me stop the injections early, but I didn’t know yet if that would be the case. I’d ask at my next appointment in a week’s time.

We walked up to the TYA day chemo unit and just had to wait a few minutes for the nurse to be ready for me. When she was ready, I sat down and she explained what she was going to do.

My PICC line undressed. The line is running through the orange clip and the clip is embedded in my arm with two metal hooks.

She removed the dressing from my line. Then she took the cap off of the orange clip.

The line removed, clip remaining

With the clip free of its cap, the line could then be smoothly pulled out of the vein. This caused quite a funny sensation in my arm, not uncomfortable, but amusing. It was interesting to see just how long a piece of plastic had been occupying my vein.

Cutting the clip into two pieces

After that, the clip was cut in half lengthways. Each half of the clip had one hook embedded in my arm. The idea then was to twist each half of the clip in such a way that its hook would manoeuvre itself comfortably out of my arm. However, that was easier said than done. The nurse tried several approaches, but the hooks were not coming. She said that the hooks can sometimes become tangled (with each other) and she was a little concerned about trying to force them out in case she did me any damage. In the end, she called on one of the PICC team to help, the same person who had put my line in almost two months earlier. After a good look, she pressed down with some gauze pads on the site of the hooks and then yanked them out one after the other. They came quite easily using that method and only caused a small moment of pain, a bit like ripping off a plaster.

The metal hooks which had held the clip in place

The amount of bleeding from the wound was very small, but I was to keep a dressing on it for a couple of days. I was also told not to use my arm in any vigorous way for a few days, not to swing it around or lift anything heavy while the wound was healing.

Treatment over and line out, it felt good to be finishing my chemo schedule

It was a great feeling to have the line out, even better than when I’d finished my last chemo session the day before. I felt so liberated, which was elating! I knew I would still have the chemo drugs in my system for a while and that I had a lot of recovery to get through, but having the PICC line out made the treatment feel somewhat complete.

We drove home and I set about preparing some dinner while Pia planted some seedlings in the garden. I made another jackfruit dish, this time with a more spicy sauce. We ate it with spiralised courgette from the garden. It turned out very nice, so I’ll have to make it again.

Pia went out to a yoga class in the evening. I wrote bit more of the blog and then walked to meet her after the class. When we got home I was very tired. I tidied up the kitchen a bit and then went to bed, falling asleep straight away. It had been an exciting day and a wonderful experience to be at the end of my treatment.

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