All the information contained within this blog is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit to the doctor. The views expressed in this blog are personal views of the author and are not related or directed towards anyone in particular. Although every effort is made to ensure that the content within this blog is accurate, but it is not official in anyway. Please consult a doctor or health care provider.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Chapter 5 - Acid in my veins

While in my earlier posts, i have talked about chemotherapy being a painful process. My experiences with chemotherapy were horrific especially because papa received  it through veins (Intravenous). He
was confined to bed, starting from 10hrs to as long as 56hrs. The only time the he was allowed to move was when using the wash room. The process was repeated every 8th day. Apart from the known side effects of chemotherapy. There were some by-side effects also such as:-
  • The veins were always swollen
  • At places blood clot appeared
  • The area around the prick darkened as compared to the natural  color of the skin.
  • There was itching and since, the healing mechanism was already very slow, so the prick actually never healed.
My knowledge about chemotherapy was very limited then. All i knew was, what i could see. Papa was already in pain due to spreading cancer and chemotherapy only added to the woes. I am not not suggesting not to get chemotherapy. In 97 % of  the cases it doesn’t work.  May be you are one of the fortunate 3% who beats cancer and survives (Pls see the video )

To understand pain, you don’t  really need to know about chemotherapy. But to understand the treatment your loved is undergoing, it is important that you know all about chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, is a treatment usually given to patients suffering from cancer. More then 100 drugs are available and to treat cancer they are combined in different proportions depending upon the type and stage( spread or size of tumour) of cancer and the patient's age, overall health  and the ability to deal with the certain side effects.

Depending upon the prescribed treatment, your oncologist will be able to tell you about the schedule that you need to follow in the months to come. Papa, in all received 2 cycles of chemotherapy  orally. Each cycle comprised of 3 months. In the these 3 months the treatment was received in 2 phase(s). These  cycles comprised of  giving medicine and drugs orally and through veins. After the first phase a picc line ( will explain in my next post)  was inserted in papa's right arm.

In the first phase, he had to spend 3-4 days in the hospital. After that a gap of 7 days was given in order to heal ( known as the recovery period). In the second phase .i.e on the 8th day the chemotherapy session lasted for about 6- 10hrs, so papa was allowed to go home the very same day. And again on the 8th day, he was admitted to the hospital for 3(or 4) days. This continued till the end .After 3 months,  a review was done to check the response of cancer to  chemotherapy (medicines). 

Chemotherapy - ways to receive

Through Veins (Intravenously) :The medicines are injected  directly into the veins. This is the most effective method and most of the  traditional chemotherapy drugs are given by this method. A single dose of IV chemotherapy can last from a few minutes to a few hours. However, there are certain drugs which have best effect  when given at a slow continuous rate for a few days to fews weeks at a time.

Via Injection:  The medicine is given injected  as a shot to a muscle or to the fatty part of the arm abdomen or leg.

Oral : Pills, capsule, or liquid(s). Popular traditional treatment method. But of late is becoming a much more common method of administration, especially with newer targeted therapies.

Intra-arterially (IA):  The medicine  is sent directly into the artery that supplies blood to the part of the body affected with cancer.

Intraperitoneally : The medicine is sent directly into the abdomen or peritoneal cavity ( part of the body that contains the intestines, liver, stomach). In case of women, the medicine is sent to ovaries.

Topically. Ointments and creams. The medicine is applied on the surface and then  rubbed into the skin.

In 2012, when papa was detected with cancer, my knowledge about cancer-the disease was very limited. To be honest, I just knew the term “CANCER, that too heard mostly in hindi movies. But when papa was diagnosed and  treated for cancer, everyday was a new challenge. The journey was painful. It was an emotional roller coaster for me and papa.  Ultimately papa lost his life and it gave my life a new direction.  I decided to write about CANCER. My father's last wish was that i write ( how unfortunate that i am writing when he is not here to see ) I learnt things mostly during the course of treatment or after papa left.  Now , I try to read about cancer as much as i can. So that i can pour my research into words to the benefit of someone who wants to know. There is so much, I have learn't , there is still so much to learn. But i will never stop. This  is my way of keeping close to papa and may be..... he is reading!

Love you papa!