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Chemo & veins Chemo & veins

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Unread 07-23-2004, 09:30 PM
Chemo & veins

I am 3 down/3 to go in treatments and have noticed the blood draws are getting harder. In the beginning they were non-events, now they're slightly unpleasant.

Yesterday, I went for my weekly blood draw and she had trouble getting a formerly good vein in the crook of my arm - maybe because it was hot and humid, or possibly because I hadn't been drinking as much water as usual.

Next week let's try to drink LOTS of water the day before and see if that helps.
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Unread 07-23-2004, 09:55 PM
Chemo & veins

I'm learning lots from this thread! I'd never heard of a port till I read it the other day on this forum!
I've also had 3 chemos, and 3 to go, and the first was the worst for 'vein pain'. My veins hurt for the whole month... But I had people praying for that specfically, because it was so tough, and I haven't had trouble since. The 2 & 3rd chemo and subsequent blood tests were fine. Next week it all starts again, so we'll see...
I used to be a big baby about needles. In fact in the not so distant past I had to have 2 nurses hold me to give me inoculations... Now, even though I don't like it, and I still look away when they put them in, I am handling the needles ok...
I guess I'll see how it goes without asking for a port...
Keep us posted with what you decide.
Unread 07-23-2004, 10:01 PM
Chemo & veins


Like Minmy, I will try drinking LOTs of water next week before the blood test too! I think I usually do.
And I will be praying for you K-9 and Minmy.
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Unread 07-24-2004, 06:33 AM
Chemo & veins

AND cut down on the caffiene the day before/day of!
and dont' forget the squeeze ball to pump those veins up (according to the nurse)


Next week let's try to drink LOTS of water the day before and see if that helps. [/b]
Unread 07-24-2004, 07:26 AM
Chemo & veins

Get you, with your clever illustrations!

I normally don't drink caffeine at all. Yesterday though I decided to start drinking lots and lots of green tea and sure enough I was wide awake at 2 a.m.!!! I'm going to have to go sleuthing for decaff, organic green tea.

Will track down a squeeze ball. Tx!! I'd love to see us beat this!
Unread 07-24-2004, 08:27 AM
I love my port

I just LOVE my port. It has made it so much easier. Of course I knew I was in trouble in the hospital when they had to call the IV team to get my IV put in. It's really not a problem at all. Just a small scar. But you do what you feel is best for you.

Best wishes to you. This is a doable thing!
Unread 07-24-2004, 11:52 AM
Chemo & veins

Thanks all for your input!
It is much appreciated!
Thank you for your prayers, and you are right..WE CAN BEAT THIS!
Unread 07-24-2004, 09:07 PM
Chemo & veins

I went through 6 chemo treatments and did not have a port. Like Rosalie's experience, it was never really mentioned. (Just an observation: It seemed to me that the breast cancer patients had a lot of ports.)

My veins held up fine. Just a little "fyi". At my first chemo which was done in the hospital, I had all the pre-meds and then, the nurse brought in the taxol. All the pre-meds were in these little plastic bags. The taxol came in a huge bottle. It seemed like it was as a big as a two litre bottle of soda (it really wasn't, it just seemed that big). Well, I asked the nurse why taxol was in a bottle? She explained that it burns through the plastic! Imagine what it does to your veins!!

One of the things that I'm sure is not unique to my oncologist's office is that it was cold, cold, cold! Sometimes, if the nurses had problems with the patient's veins, the would use heat packs to help the veins expand.

Good luck to you, K9.
Unread 07-25-2004, 09:11 AM

Dear K9,
I went through my first six full dose chemos without a port, and by the end, my veins were so badly burned up, that blood could barely even be drawn through them. I did everything to plump them up-drinking lots of water, a heat pack-but they were severely damaged and a lot of painful digging was required to get a vein. For my next 12 doses of chemo, the chemo nurse said that I really needed to get a port. The surgery for me was very simple, and I had the same worries about it getting bumped or feeling it, but I really don't feel it anymore. Having the port made getting the chemo started 100% easier and less painful for me. I even get my blood drawn through it. I am keeping my port, even though I am not currently receiving chemo, and may keep it for as long as I can. I get it flushed with Heparin once a month(a one minute procedure) and I love being able to have my labwork done through it instead of my veins. I hope that your chemo is going well!

Twisted Sister
Unread 07-25-2004, 11:06 AM
Chemo & veins

Hi, K9EquineWhine!

I was one of those people who also refused to have a port. I had very good veins, and they're probably a bit damaged now, but I made it through six major chemos AND roughly 33 low-dose chemo treatments without having to get a port.

There were a few times where my nurse would stick the needle and be unable to get blood. One time, I had to endure six needle sticks, but that was only one time.

Here's what I found worked. The night before chemo, drink a ton of water. If you get up to pee in the middle of the night, drink more water.

Also, have a big bowl or double-size mug bowl of strong miso soup. The high salt content will help hold the water in your body. You can buy miso paste (usually refrigerated, but some types are in packets on a shelf -- don't buy "instant" or things in a box, just get the paste) and add it to hot water, and that's all you need to do. It tastes good as well.

The morning of chemo, have some more water and more miso soup. The more water you can get in you and the more salt, the better you'll find that your veins hold up. When I started doing this (after that six-needle-sticks episode, which of course made me cry), I never had another problem.

Hope this helps!

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