Chemo leak!!!

Rachel noticed a red mark on my arm where I'd had the chemotherapy.  It wasn't sore or itchy so I just put some good old Lucas Papaw ointment on it and hoped it would go away.  A week later, I was reading through the pile of Macmillan information books and it said to watch out for red marks as it could be a sign the chemo has leaked...

chemo leak!
I called the acute oncology team at Guy's who didn't seem overly concerned and initially advised I get some Piritin.  Thankfully (good advice Rachel), I'd taken photos of the mark over the days and it showed it getting redder rather than going away.  Acute oncology called me back and asked me to go in the next day so they could take a look.

Everyone on the acute oncology ward wanted to take a look, but as redness had appeared after 7 days, there was no protocol.  (If it shows within 7 days, you're referred to the plastics - yes, plastic surgery - team!)  Eventually the sent me away with a prescription for hydrocortisone cream and advised me to get a PICC line to ensure the same thing didn't happen next time.


Now I'm the kind of person who can't look while they have a blood test.  I hate needles and hate looking at blood.  So the thought of having a PICC line inserted into my arm which I could constantly see didn't fill me with joy.  I spoke to Alison, my lovely breast care nurse, hoping she would disagree but sadly, she thought it would be best too.  So, on the Tuesday before my second cycle of chemo, the lovely Edward (who went to school in NZ) inserted my PICC line.  With his chatter, the PICC was inserted and I was out the door without feeling a thing.  Bless you Edward.

Kit for district nurse to flush my PICC line.
The upside of having a PICC line is no more needles.  They can take blood tests and give chemo through the PICC line.  The downside is needing to have it rebandaged and flushed each week and the risk of infection.  The team at Guy's Hospital referred me to the district nurse so they could do this the following Wednesday, however Guy's sent me home without any instructions or kit.  The district nurse duly turned up but couldn't do anything so I ended up having to go back in to Guy's to have it redressed, flushed and bring home a bag of goodies so the district nurse could do it the following week.


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