Friday, March 18, 2005


(I actually posted a version of this somewhere else. But hey.)

Veins. Who knows much about their veins? I knew I had decent veins. When I went to give blood, they never had any trouble getting one, and when I started chemo, same thing.

But now, alas, my veins are letting me down. The big ones in the crooks of my arms are getting scarred. The little ones in my wrist are collapsing, the the lower arm is full of elastic wrigglers. Yesterday I went for a CAT Scan which involves putting iodine contrast in a vein.

Three technicians and seven sticks later, we had a vein that wouldn't collapse. The techs kept apologizing (as if they were somehow responsible for my poor scoured veins sounding a retreat.) They kept saying, 'If you want to stop...' but since this is the CAT Scan that I expect to verify my remission, I was damned if I was going to stop. So I kept saying, 'Go ahead,' and they kept getting a vein and then having it blow.

'I've got it...oh, no, it's blown. Sorry. We can stop.'

I thanked them and thanked them for their persistence. They were funny, thoughtful and wise. They finally got one that worked and I had my contrast and my CAT Scan.

I'm trying to think of possible vein rehabilitation exercises. One of the ways to get a vein to rise is to lightly slap the area. So my arms have been lightly slapped from stem to stern and now my neuropathic nerves are all firing. Today I'm waiting for the results of the CAT Scan but when I called in, it hadn't been put in the system yet. Still, it will be worth it, right?

Fingers crossed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the chemo, I can always tell with my patients. They'll have big pipelines in their arms that normaly you could fit a McDonalds straw through and when you use it, it blows.

I also have my fingers crossed on the results of your CT.

March 18, 2005 1:54 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

That's it entirely. I have these huge, beautiful veins in my arms but the finish is just ruined on them. (I really did feel sorry for the CAT Scan techs. All of whom came in strutting and saying, 'I can find a vein,' and who ended up much chagrined.)

March 18, 2005 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have veins that run away and hide at the sight of a needle. The veins in my arms are all scarred. One phlebotomist told me to make sure I was well-hydrated before an appointment, and to exercise right before--even walking briskly around the doctor's parking lot a couple of times. Water and exercise plump up the veins.

It's worked well for me ever since.

March 18, 2005 7:53 PM  
Blogger Heather Mackin said...

Oh sweetheart! This post brought tears to me eyes as I understand how worth it it was to go through that. I try not to look at this whole thing as my body letting me down, but its hard. I'm so sorry that the results weren't what we all hoped for but they will be when its time. If you were at stage 3 and now all you have is a tiny spot on your collarbone then "you have come along way baby!" Keep your chin up!

March 19, 2005 9:07 AM  
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October 05, 2005 12:24 PM  

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