I was at the clinic at 8:00 a.m. and was put in a different room. This one had no bed, only two chairs. My "roommate" wasn't in yet, so I got first choice.
I've already met most of the nurses on the floor. (This ward is specifically for clinical trials.) I got my vitals taken and had my morning EKG and then settled down in the chair for the IV insertion. My left arm is pretty trashed due to all the pokes last week and yesterday and there hasn't been enough time for them to heal to get another good spot. They tried the last area and it failed.
They moved to the right arm. Because I had lymph nodes removed from my right armpit during my lumpectomy in September 2012, all medical procedures should be done on the left arm in order to avoid flow issues and infections on the right. However, since the purpose of the IV was to simply remove blood and not infuse a medication, using the right arm in the case is allowed.
The nurse I had has 22 years experience. He is the one who successfully inserted the IV yesterday after someone else couldn't do it in two attempts. His first attempt on the left hand didn't work, so he tried the right. He inserted the needle and when he tried to push it in further, I felt an amazing shock and tingle down my middle finger, which quickly spread to my pointer finger and thumb. I yelped (couldn't help it!). He quickly pulled the needle out, but it was clear that he hit the radial nerve. I've only cried once in a doctor's office since being diagnosed with cancer, but a tear did come to my eye with this one. I think the sheer unexpectedness of it was almost as bad as the pain itself.
He felt so bad. He kept checking on me over and over and over and we were both relieved with three hours later, my fingertips were no longer numb. Yikes!
Per procedure, when one nurse can't get an IV in after two tries, a second nurse makes the third attempt. After a lot of heat packs and slowly massaging each vein (getting to know them), she was able to get a successful IV insertion. She's the nurse who couldn't get one yesterday. (I learned more about veins today than I ever have in the past. I never really thought about them before and they are way more complicated than I imagined!)
Once the IV was in place, the rest was simple. I took the oral drug at 9:25 again (coincidence ... it could have been earlier) and sat in my chair, reading and writing until 11:25 when they came to draw blood. By this time, my roommate was there and she and I chatted as well.
Today, I only had to have two blood draws after dosing ... one at two hours post dose and one four hours post dose. Today was a fasting day until that four hour point and my stomach growled quite noisily all morning! As soon as they were finished at 1:25, I headed down to the hospital cafeteria for a salad.
And that was it. Simple and mostly routine. I started feeling queasy this afternoon and evening, but it's pretty mild. I'd describe it as "noticeable" and not as anything to slow me down too much.
And that's that. Trial-wise, I'm on my own for the next five days. I'm to take the medication on my own at roughly the same time each day. I'm to record any reactions and go on with my life as much as possible. I go back on Monday.
It's good to be home with my family. It's good to be celebrating Thanksgiving. We're joining the Devanney family and others as well as five visiting scholars from China for a grand feast! We have so much for which to be grateful. (Nearing the top of my list is modern electronics. I love my computer and even though it's big and clunky, I'm so grateful for it. I dropped its power cord yesterday as I was packing up and cracked the adapter box which pretty much destroyed it. I am very happy that I could buy an HP power supply cord at my local Best Buy store and plug back in. Yup, it's the little things that bring great delight. I'm also grateful to come home to a clean house, thanks to a loved and trusted house cleaner. Thanks, Corinne!)
I stopped by Stanford to visit with Miao Miao and her foster parents today. MM is doing well and they are hoping to be released from the hospital soon. Please stop by her Caringbridge site to learn more.
I don't know if I'll write again before Thanksgiving (don't want to inundate you), so I'll close with a well-known blessing from Numbers 6:24 - 26 (NIV):
‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”