Bald 'n Sassy

Life is for the living. Live simply. Expect less.

Archive for the tag “CEA”

Missing in action – NOT!

I have just taken out my ruler and slapped myself on the wrist!  Ouch! I deserve that.  I just looked at my blog dashboard and it has been almost 3 months since I posted with what has happened. Of course there are excuses but I am sure you don’t want to hear about them.   

Well, I am still here.  It’s time to share on health progress.  Overall, physically I am feeling very good.  Since I have switched my diet to a gluten-free and dairy menu, my body is good shape.  I am still going back to my oncologist every 6 weeks for check up.  I have had 3 blood test since the start of the 2012.  My CEA and CA.A 19.9 markers are on the upward trend.  From double digits, it is growing to 3 digits.  Here is a snapshot:

Feb 2012: CEA – 63;  CA.A 19.9 – 61.2

March 2012: CEA – 121.2; CA.A 19.9 – 135.6

April 2012: CEA – 192.9; CA.A 19.9 – 384.8

No cancer patient wants to see such numbers.  I always remember that my oncologist telling me in the past that it is the trend of the markers versus the absolute numbers.  It is an indication on the “active” cancer cells in my body.  Despite the exponential growth, I am feeling well.  There was a slight scare for me when I started losing weight in between check up.  I lost 2 kg.  Ordinarily I would be happy to lose that weight but given my situation, losing weight is another element taken into consideration in my progress.  I haven’t not made any further changes to my diet and I exercised less.  I was perplexed.  I asked my oncologist  and she wasn’t too concerned about it.  Her feedback is because I exercised less and losing my muscles.  Good consolation.  I am still monitoring my weight and now I have resumed my swimming, it will interesting to see if my weight continues to fluctuate.

So what does it mean with all the numbers going up?  Theoretically, I should be resuming chemo.  My oncologist did hint if I want to do chemo.  I jokingly replied “who would be anxious to do chemo?”.  She didn’t force on me that I should do it.  The wait and see approach still stands.  With all my other vitals looking good and no major symptoms, I choose to defer treatment. The oral chemo option is still on table.  I am still looking into alternative treatments which I will share in another post.

The fight continues!

Round number 4 – checked

Is it me or is timing flying past much faster.  It is exactly one week ago that I successfully completed my 4th chemo treatment.  Phew!  Overall the treatment well but there is a possibility a change in plans.

So here is the story.  As you may have learnt from my earlier posts, there is a blood test that is carried out prior to start of each session to decide how I am responding to the treatment plus the results will raise any concerns in my blood.  For me the key indicators are the cancer markers and white blood cells that I am most worried about.  I like to see a downward trend for the cancer markers and for the white blood cells level increased to a higher level.  As soon as my oncologist sat down with me to review the results for round 4, I was taken aback to see cancer markers increased by 10% from 49.9 to 56.3.  She was just as surprised as I am.  There are two possibilities that could see the markers spike up.

  • Fighting a viral infection.
  • The cancer cells has learnt to adapt to resist drug and mutate to generate new cancer cells.

I have been physically fine and not fallen ill in between treatments. As for the second point, cancer cells are incredibly intelligent to regenerate new cells in a matter of days.  In round 3, I postponed the treatment by 5 days simply because my white blood cells were too low and anemic.  In that short space of time, it is an opportunistic time for the cancer cells to adapt and learn to be resistant. I haven’t researched into this myself nor can I prove it.   Moreover the chemo drugs has  “expiry” date in terms of effectiveness.  In my case, the drug, Campto last for about 17 days or so. Delaying any further could pose further risk and lower the effectiveness.

So what does the above mean for me.  My doctor explained the options available.  First option is to change the chemo drug to the Carboplatin/Taxotere combo used in my first volume of chemo last year.  This means back to one round every 3 weeks and I would need to completed at most 4 rounds.  My white blood cells levels with this drug didn’t drop below the normal range.  Second choice is to use a complete new drug that is prescribed on a weekly dosage.  I am not too keen on this option because my veins would not be able to cope with the weekly poking.  As it is now my veins are under so much stress each time I have chemo plus I only have less than 2 weeks to rest before it all happens again.  In the event I choose to have his intense program, she strongly recommended for me to insert a catheter near my collarbone for much smoother and painless administration.  Oh boy!  Decisions decisions.

If I had to compare the choices, I would opt for number 1. And from past treatments, my white blood cells did not take a huge beating from the drugs.  There is a fine balancing act right now of making sure the drugs are working and still be somewhat strong enough to fight off a cold.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am just wondering with the modern medicine today, how come pharmaceutical companies haven’t thought of a wonder pill for white blood cells.

TGIF.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Round 1 is done and dusted

Ok, I am guilty for not sharing my post any earlier on this.  My energy level was so low that I had to muster myself out of bed, take a shower and eat when I am hungry. So here is the low down on what happened on the day.  Having a pretty good idea from the first batch of chemo, I knew the drill as soon as I stepped into the clinic.

First task is to get a blood test done.  Blood drawn and sent to the lab to test for cancer markers so fast that I didn’t have time to leave my butt imprint on the seat.  Normally I would have to wait at least 2 hours for results to come back but it wasn’t necessary this time.  I went in to see my oncologist so she can do her normal checks before I start my chemo.  She shared the expected side effects once again and answered my questions I had.  The drug will take 2 hours to administer.  I was ready to start but not before I had a quick bite of breakfast.

For those who remember from my earlier posts, I have very small veins and I knew it might take the nurse to hunt for one again. Tap! Tap! Tap!   I love the way the nurses keep telling me that I have such nice skin but pity that my veins is not the same. Ha! Even with the tourniquet in place, it took a good few minutes to find a possibility. Note to self –  I must resume my “squeezing the ball” exercise to bring out my veins.  She found one vein and a quietly confident to poke me with the needle. I felt the first prick and that was ok.  She pushed in a little further and it hurt a little but tolerable.  As she pushed a little further into the vein she stopped concerned that there was no blood coming through.  A little further nudge of the needle and a sign of blood trickled through.  Phew! With tape to secure the needle and place, the drug started to drip into my system.  For comfort, lights were dimmed in the room and I kept myself occupied by watching some TV series, “The Mentalist” on my iPad.

Over the side effects, I was ready to deal with the side effects.  Fatigue and waking with a headache the following morning was the first signs to crop up.  Then the nauseous feeling started to creep later in the day. Imagine waking with a hangover feeling that last for days.  Took a couple of Panadol hoping to relieve the symptoms.  I guess the drug in my body is not reacting as well to such medications.  I endured it. There was a glimmer of hope 2 days after chemo when headache subsided a little and some energy picked up in the evening. But it didn’t last for very long. By the 3rd and 4th day, my energy level was all time low and the headache returned.  I slept for most of the day. The best Rx for I could give myself is pure rest.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

6 days on and my energy is back to normal.  Looking forward to step outside of the house to get some fresh air and some natural vitamin D.

The results are in

Yes, the results are in. The CEA markers increase two folds from 24 in April to 54 in May. It wasn’t the kind of result I wanted to see at all. Shock was the immediate reaction but remained calm. Since she prepared me a month ago about the possibility of resuming chemo, I was somewhat armed with information. At the same time, I kept firing questions to my oncologist on how many cycles do I need to complete, what are the options available, alternative treatments, etc.

Here is what she shared with me:

  • The absolute numbers indicated in the results should not be the main focus. The objective of the test is to see if the protein (CEA) population is active and the population increase.
  • Suggested course of treatment is to administer a different drug.
  • Chemo treatment will last 6 months and the frequency of treatment will be once every fortnight. Total of 12 cycle.
  • I can choose to start the chemo as soon as possible OR wait till a later time till I develop further symptoms. I call this the chicken and egg game.
Now it is really up to me when to start the treatment. Before I could set a time, there are critical factors to consider. First and foremost my job hunt will have to be put on hold. My oncologist made a point that

What’s up doc?

Is it that time already? It was only 4 weeks ago that I came back from my trip in Israel. Returned just in time for my monthly blood test to see how my treatment is coming along. I am little anxious once again when I will be poked to draw blood. Last month results indicated that my CEA markers were at the same number range prior to the start my chemo last year. I felt a little numb and shocked for a good few minutes. However, my oncologist mentioned that the levels escalates when I am not well. I did feel a little under the weather during the last few hours of my flight home. Though I couldn’t pin point if it was the airline food or a virus circulating in the plane that caused me to have the bad case of the tummy bug. A round of antibiotics was prescribed to reduce the symptoms somehow it persisted for at least another 10 days. Feeling a little unsettled, a call to the oncologist to ask why it hasn’t gone away. She explained that sometimes these bugs will just take a little longer to expel from the body.

So what happens next? This depends on my blood test results tomorrow. The oncologist did prepare me if the markers are still high, I may have to resume another round of chemo. She walked me through my options of trying fortnightly frequency with another drug and the side effects that comes with it. I am keeping positive that my markers will come down to a single digit. I don’t wish to go through chemo all over again.

Tomorrow is a full medical day. First appointment is my bi-annual follow-up with the surgeon. Followed by the oncologist to do the blood test. While my blood is being processed, I will have my back adjusted by the chiropractor – all by 12pm. Break for lunch and return to the oncologist to get the results. It will be a nerve wrecking Thursday for me. I shall be crossing my fingers and toes.

Time to get some shut-eye! Stay tune for the results.

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #1

Oh my! I have been neglecting my blog lately. It is not a deliberate act but I have been spending some time researching and planning for my next vacation. But I am back. The chronicles of chemotherapy ended at last week when I completed my sixth treatment. But the chronicles is not complete without sharing cycle number one. So here we go.

After three rounds of consultation with the oncologists, the date for the first chemotherapy treatment is set for 7 October, 2010 at 10am. I have been mentally preparing myself for this day. I attempted to sleep by midnight but I kept looking the clock. It was past 1 am when I last looked. Perhaps feeling anxious and a tad nervous about chemo. I was awake by 7am and started to get ready at a steady pace. I was ready by 8.30am. I sat down on the lounge catching a bit of the news whilst waiting for my sister to return from dropping her kids off at school. I decided to skip breakfast this morning. I just didn’t know what happens prior to start of the session.

We left the house a little by 9.15am just in case we encounter traffic jam on the highway. True enough it was a bumper to bumper traffic along the way but at least it was moving albeit at a snail’s pace. Arrived at the Mount Elizabeth medical centre 10 mins to spare before my scheduled appointment. Checked in at the receptionist and the two nurses greeted me with a smile. First task of the morning was to record my weight. Followed by signing some paperwork for insurance claims. Meantime, a phone call was placed for a nurse to come up to the clinic to draw some blood. A blood test is performed prior before the chemo drugs are administered.

The nurse arrived five minutes later and she showed to what I call the “lounge”. Just like when you imagine business lounge at airports, you sofas, music to rest before boarding. Well this “lounge” has three sofa seats and one single bed. This may not sound very sexy like the business lounge but the sofas are very comfortable and soothing music to relax patients. The nurse took out her toolbox of needles and tubes. I am not a huge fan of needles. I looked away when they poke. The nurse was nice enough to let me know when she is about to insert the needle and to take a deep breath as this happens. Ouch! I still felt the sting when the needle when in. I am just glad that this blood test process took less than 10 minutes to complete. My blood test was sent to the lab and the results are expected to return within 1.5 hour. The nurse cum receptionist suggested that I go for a walk and come back to see the doctor when the results are ready. Since I haven’t had breakfast, we walked across to the shopping mall to grab something to eat.

The results were back and my oncologist sat down to explain the objective of the test. Firstly, the blood test shows the tumor markers present in my blood. The CEA results for a normal person should be in the range of 0 to 4.7 ug/L. In my case, the CEA level recorded 28.4; almost six times higher. Basically, we need to stop this number from going further north. The oncologist shared that the CEA as a tool to see how the chemo progressing but in no way will it show that the tumor has reduced in size. The major goal of the chemo is to kill active cancer cells spreading any further. Ok, it was time to start the chemo.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The nurses prepared the drips while I get comfortable in one of the sofas. I wasn’t looking forward to be poked again for the second time in the matter of hours but I have no choice at all. For a large body frame, I have small veins and this always poses a challenge for medical teams to find a suitable vein. She taps my left hand first to “wake up” the veins. This tapping continues for a good five minutes. One vein is located and attempt number one is progress. I looked around the room to find something as my focal point to distract me. One of the tricks I use to help me during this prickly moment is to think something funny or happy. She pokes me and I cringed with pain. Unfortunately when she tries to poke further into the vein, it wasn’t good enough and I let out a small cry. Damn! She had to try my right hand now hoping it would be better. The second attempt on the other hand worked. Mind you I still felt the pain… sigh!

A separate syringe filled with some saline solution was injected into the needle to do a test run to make sure I don’t feel any pain when the drugs are flowing through the veins. Test run was successful. Now they can begin the drip. This first session is expected to last at least three hours. I was prepared to keep myself occupied by reading. I was reading “The Time Traveller’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger. My sister walked into the “lounge” to see me how I was and she helped to take photos of me all hooked up.

I started feeling a little drowsy an hour into the session. Not sure if it is the drugs or waking early this morning that made feel tired. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I surrendered to a nap. I fell into a deep sleep that I had to be woken up by the nurses to tell me it was over. Still dazed I checked my watch and it was almost 3pm. It took almost 3 hours to complete. I took a good 5 minutes to compose myself before walking out to collect my post chemo medication. When I reached home, I was still feeling the after effects and climbed into bed to nap again.

I was hoping that I would feel a little more rested after sleeping during and post chemo sessions. It was quite the opposite. I was physically drained. My body is trying to adjust itself. For the next seven days, I was house bound resting and having to deal with the side effects.

One cycle completed. Five more to go!

So my chronicles of chemotherapy is complete. Thank you for stopping by to read this. My life adventures continues and I shall share with what I am up. Keep a look out.

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #6 (The Final One!)

I woke up with feeling nauseous and suffering a hangover. And the hangover lingers on for at least 4 to 5 days at least. It’s an expensive way to have a hangover.

Anyhow… I made it! Yep, I have crossed the finishing line. I had my sixth and final chemotherapy session on Wednesday, 9th Feb. On the day itself, I woke up at 6 am, a good 1.5 hours earlier than the scheduled alarm clock. I put it down to anxiety together with the movements of my niece and nephews getting ready for school made it more challenging for me to catch extra 40 winks. I decided to wake up and slowly get myself ready for the 10am appointment.

Arrived at the clinic on time and I saw my favourite nurse from the external lab waiting at the receptionist. I couldn’t be more happier to have her draw my blood for the last time – it was fated. I happily made my way to the treatment room and sat in one of the sofa chairs ready for the test. A few minutes later, a different nurse was assigned instead. I tried to keep my disappointed look as subtle as possible. I wanted to ask, “Where did the other nurse go to?? I demand that she comes back and to take my blood!”. I had to accept that it wasn’t to be. I forged on and let the other nurse do her job.

I looked away as usual while the needle is being inserted and adopt my “happy thoughts” at the same time. I felt the poke and it hurt a tiny bit. Glad that this part of the treatment is over in less than ten minutes. Now, I just have to wait for 1.5 hours for the lab to turn around the results. Meanwhile I step outside to feed my tummy some breakfast. I was craving for an egg sandwich. Walked across towards the food basement of Takashimaya shopping centre and grabbed my egg sandwich in a Pomodoro bread roll from the Peck bakery. It really hit the spot. Walked around the atrium investigating the post Chinese New Year sale with my sister. The 1.5 hours flew by and time to head back to the oncologist’s office.

I didn’t have to wait for long before the lab faxed in results. Found out that only half of the report is ready but my doctor proceeded to ask me the usual question if I had any side effects from the last chemo session. She also checked for any physical signs such as swelling in my legs and around my neck for lumps. All good so far but she did notice the my tan lines on my back. She commented that I was burnt but I replied that I diligently apply sunscreen with SPF50 when I swim. She wasn’t overly concerned and mentioned in the past that the chemo drugs can darken the skin a lot faster than a normal person. I was also advised to reapply sunscreen every 15 mins instead of the 2 hour rule as I have come to learn. However, I should return to “normal” a few months later when the drugs are out of my system.

My haemoglobin is low which is expected. Other vitals such as red blood cells are also in the low range. What I am keen to know are the tumor markers/CEA results. It is this number is that will decide if I need more treatments beyond the six cycles originally prescribed. If the number increases or decreases by more than 10%, this indicates there are active cancer cells in the body. The ideal result we are looking for is within the 10% mark. In cycle five, my CEA markers recorded 6.7. The results for cycle 6 is 6.4. A huge sigh of relief for me. My sister shared the same sentiment. My wish for not wanting to endure another two cycles has come true. The oncologist is happy as well. Let the last chemo session begin.

Made my way to the treatment room and sat down ready for the nurse to poke me again (for the last time.. yeehhaaa!). She looked at both my hands and decided to use my left. Once again, the hunt for a good vein commences. Tap, tap, tap the hand to wake the veins and successfully finds one. Sprays a numbing agent before she inserts the needle. In all honesty, the numbing agent doesn’t work for me. I can still feel the pain when she sticks the needle in. First prod – ouch! Waits a few seconds before she pushes the needle a little more and I could feel my vein being enlarged (yes it did hurt). Low and behold, she wasn’t done and poked a little further in to make sure she gets the needle all the way in (ouch again!). Overall, I am delighted that she managed to find a vein within the first try.

Got my book ready to keep me company for the next several hours. Reading a police mystery this time called “The Ritual Bath” by Faye Kellerman. I wasn’t sure if it was the drug or waking up early that made me feel drowsy into an hour of the treatment. I didn’t fight the feeling. Closed my book and closed my eyes. It only felt like a few minutes when I dozed off but when looked at my watch, I woke up just a few minutes just as the last few millilitres of drugs was administered. I developed a hiccup not longer as soon as I woke up. I found it very odd. The nurses gave me some water but the hiccup persisted. The senior nurse did mention that hiccups could occur because of the drugs. This is the first time this has happened. As I have shared in my other posts, there is always something new crops up in each cycle. So, the hiccup was my last surprise.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What is the next step? Well, I have to do a PET Scan in 4 weeks time to check if the tumor has reduced and any further signs of cancer still visible. In the meantime, I will use the next few weeks to rest and spend sometime researching on my reward – another vacation! I so deserve it!! I was toying an Asian country like Japan but I am more inclined to visit the Middle East & North Africa – Israel, Jordan and Morocco. Egypt would be a great place to see but given the political unrest, I have to strike it off the list.

Despite not feeling one 100 percent well right now, I wish I could show a dancing emoticon here in this post to illustrate how I am happy not to be poked again for a very long time.

I am back from my hiatus

Yes, I am back from my break in Chiang Mai.  The one week break was what I needed. The weather was perfect – warm in the day without low humidity and the evening temp drops to a pleasant 18 to 22 deg. I enjoyed the flexibility to choose what I wanted to do and when.  One day I may decide to walk around to explore to soak in the sights or the following day I am more than happy to sit by the pool reading my book.

One of the things I cherished most during the past week is sleep.  Such a simple thing I know but the ability to have a deep quality sleep for more than 5 hours per night is a luxury for me – no phone calls or someone pottering around the house early hours of the morning.  Even though I may have only 6 to 8 hours of sleep, I feel rejuvenated.  I will share another post on what I did in Chiang Mai – so bear with me.

Tomorrow is another round of chemotherapy and it is my LAST session!  Wooo hooo!! I am so ready to cross the finishing line.  I just hope that this will the last one I have to face for a very long time to come.  I hope my blood test will be also be positive news.  In my last catch up with the oncologist, she did forewarn me of the possibility of two additional sessions.  This is on the premise that my tumor markers/CEA does not stabilize by the last session.  I keep reminding myself that everything will be fine and I don’t need any further chemotherapy.

The clock is fast approaching midnight.  I should be sleeping soon and ready for a long day.

Bonne nuit from moi!

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #2

Oh my!  It has been 4 days since my last post. It has been a very active 4 days.  I had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon to see how my wound has been healing and any problematic symptoms since I started my chemo.  So far so good and the next follow-up will be in 4 month time.  Phew – one less doctor to see for now. Resumed my swimming exercise and squeezed in a lunch with some ex-colleagues.

I am going to reflect back on my second chemotherapy.  Initially, the scheduled date was 28 October but I didn’t want to be sick for my birthday.  It was my 40th and I had plans with family and friends.  The doctor agreed to allow me to postpone my date with the drip to 2 November 2010 🙂 . I was awake by 7am but didn’t crawl out of bed by 7.30am.  All dressed by 8.30am.  Prepared my cooler bag with ice pack to hold my 3 boxes of Neupogen injections.  Neupogen is a clear liquid prescribed to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to help stimulate white blood cells production.  It is very common for patients white blood cells to be very low when chemo drugs are administered.  Hence, our body immunity is very low in the first week post chemo session and susceptible to catching colds or fever.

Arrived at the clinic before my appointment time.  The nurse called for the external lab to send a nurse to draw blood to conduct a tumor marker/CEA test.  It was a different nurse this time.  Will she be gentle with me and not make me pull “that hurts” face.  Thinking of happy thoughts to distract me and I braced myself as soon as she straps the small belt around my arms.  She forewarned me that she is about to insert the needle.  Took a deep breath while it is being done.  I could feel the pinch into my skin and needle sliding into my veins.  It was bearable pain.  She filled 2 test tubes with my blood, applied pressure on the wound and put a band-aid.  All over in less than 10 mins.  So the waiting for the results begins.  It is supposedly take around 1.5 hours to complete the test.  Since I skipped breakfast that morning, I left to fill my tummy with some food.

My sister and I were back at the clinic waiting to see the doctor and study the results.  One of the first data the oncologist scans for are the CEA markers and any abnormality numbers in white/red blood counts or liver functions.  These abnormality would be highlighted in red.  My CEA markers has reduced by 10% from 28.4 to 26. Always happy to see the numbers reduce.  A normal persons CEA markers is between 0 to 4.7 ug/l.  As you can gather my markers are almost 6 times higher than an average non cancer patients. From my understanding at this point, the cancer cells were very active multiplying.  We have to put a stop these cells breeding!  Once the doctor checked my blood pressure, any other physical signs of side effects, I was given the nod to start the chemo.

Being the second session, I was fearing that the nurse would have a tough time with my small veins again.  It was a different nurse who attempted to poke the needle.  She tried with my left hand first.  A vein was found that could be good enough perhaps.  Sprayed the antiseptic and she attempts to poke me.  Felt the first poke but when she tried to push in a little further, I yelped! Sigh, that hurt and a failed attempt. The nurse panicked.  I should be more nervous than her.  Another nurse stepped in to help!  She had to pull out the needle and stop the bleeding. I will have a bruise from this 😦 .  Time to switch to other hand.  The second nurse attempted and tried a few minutes to find a good vein.  She felt a few and now deciding one would be the ideal one to use.  She is hopeful that it would the one.  Needle goes in.  The nurse waits a few seconds before she tries to push the needle in a little more.  No screams of pain from me means it’s good.  Alas, it was a success.  Everyone breaths a sigh of relief.

Whipped out my Kindle to read my book.  Around an hour into my treatment, I was feeling drowsy, barely keeping my eyes open.  After hearing about the vein expedition, the doctor came in to check how I was. Not long after that, I dozed off.  It was a deep 1.5 hour sleep.  The nurse had to wake me up to tell me that it was over.

When I reached home, the tiredness feeling was still lingering.  Climbed into bed and napped for a few hours.  I am happy to have cycle number 2 ticked on the calendar.  The next 7 days is when I am confined to home nursing the side effects of the chemo.

Thats it from me for tonight.

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #3

It is a week ago since my chemo cycle #5.  I’ve rested at home for the past few days battling with the constant headache.  Today, I am back to my normal self and energy is back too.  Ok, time to look back at my other chemo sessions.

It’s Tuesday 23 November and cycle # 3.  This marks the half way point of my treatment. Yeah to me! The appointment was set at the usual time of 10am.  Blood test needed to be done and as soon as I stepped into the clinic, my favourite nurse turned up to do her duties.

It was back to the clinic after having my breakfast to find out my results.  I am always eager to find out if the tumour markers (CEA) figures has decreased.  Indeed it has dropped to 17.4 from the last test of 26.  I’m making good progress if I say so myself 🙂  A positive sign that the drugs it’s doing the trick.  Aside from reviewing the blood tests, she prodded my legs and tummy to check if I was in any discomfort or show any signs of any physical side effects from the treatment.  So far no major problems detected.  Time to start the session.

As you may or may not figured out, I am not a fan of needles.  To make it even more challenging for the nurses, I have small veins. That means it is more difficult for any medical staff to find my veins to do blood test or even administer simple saline solution.  When it is time to do poke me, it is a hunting game for the nurse.  They tap on hand first to see if there is a good vein.  For this session, the nurse was confident that she found one and proceeded to poke me.  Ouch!  I could feel the needle going in.  But that’s not the end of it.  Even though the needle is in, she has to test to make sure the solution can flow through my veins.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good vein after all and proceeded to withdraw the needle 😦 . Put some pressure and band-aid on and on to find another one.

The nurse tried the other hand hoping that she would find a better vein. She finds one and crosses her fingers that this time it works. Bingo!  Thank goodness it was successful.  Gosh, I was poked with needles 3 times in a one day.  Not fun at all and I bruise very easily.  In the next few days, I expect my hands to turn purplish green.

Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife” book kept me company in this session. I started to get very sleepy after an hour into the session.  I didn’t fight it and took a nap in the chair.  I wasn’t completely asleep as I could hear the nurses shuffling in and out attending to all the patients in the room.  I woke up around 45 mins left into the 2.5 hour session.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On the way home, I still felt very tired.  Not too sure if was the drugs that was causing the drowsiness or the lack of sleep from the night before.  In any case, I resisted to sleep in the car.  I was just eager to get home and sleep in my own bed .  I did just that.  I managed to catch a 3 hour nap and woke up in time for some light dinner.  The following 7 days, I place myself under house arrest.  This period is where the side effects kick in.  Oh what fun eh!

It’s way past my bedtime now.  Time to head under the covers.  Good night from me!

Post Navigation