Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Yesterday was week three of the third session of velcade. My creatinine number was 3.3 so maybe the additional dex recommend by Dr. Leung at Mayo is working. :-)

In general I still continue to feel well and was curious about how I would feel with the extra steroids (dex) that I take on Friday. I still had one day where I really ran out of gas but this time it was on Monday and I was still pretty wiped out for most of Tuesday until the steroids I take with the velcade kicked in. If my reactions continue in this way this is definitely something I can live with.

I think I mentioned in my earlier blog that I have some stenosis in the veins in my lower arms and other veins that roll. This has made putting in the IV difficult so yesterday after my chemo I had an ultra sound done on my neck, chest and upper arms in preparation for installing a port. Because I had a central line at Mayo the ultrasound was needed to see if my veins could handle a port.

A central line type of catheter is inserted into a vein at one location (neck in my case), and tunneled under the skin to a separate exit site, where it emerges from underneath the skin. It is held in place by a Dacron cuff, just underneath the skin at the exit site. The exit site is typically located in the chest, making the access ports less visible than if they were to directly protrude from the neck. Passing the catheter under the skin helps to prevent infection and provides stability. However because this device does exit the skin there is maintenance involved and it has to be cleaned regularly. It is also uncomfortable.

A port is a small medical appliance that is installed beneath the skin. A catheter connects the port to a vein. Under the skin, the port has a septum through which drugs can be injected and blood samples can be drawn many times, usually with less discomfort for the patient than a more typical "needle stick". This is much simpler that the central line which was partially under the skin.

So far it looks good. I consult with Dr. Wool (the surgeon) on Friday and the surgery should occur sometime on Monday. It was indicated to me the port could be used the next day for chemo. I'm not wild about having a device implanted under my skin but since we are hoping to complete 8 full sessions of velcade it makes more sense that digging around week after week for the next several months hoping to find a good IV vein.

As always I appreciate all your thought, prayers and good karma. Please keep my Aunt Barbara who is suffering with lung and bone cancer in your prayers as well. My mom and I went down to Indianapolis see her, my Uncle Karl (who just had a hip replacement) and my cousin Kaa last Wednesday. I am so glad we made the trip even though this is a sad and stressful time for them.

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