Zometa IV


My veins have always been rubbish but I’ve excelled myself this time. Yesterday they tried to give me my 12th zometa and do my 3 monthly bloods at the same time but gave up after 7 attempts to find a vein. I hasten to add they would have stopped sooner but it wasn’t hurting me so I said it was ok to keep trying. The registrar came in, had a bit of a look and said I had no veins but the nurses would be better at trying than him. In the end, they spoke to an onc (mine is only there on a Thurs) who said could I go back for another go on Monday and if no joy, I would be sent back to see my onc to see what to do next. As far as I’m aware, Zometa is only by IV - is this right ??? My onc preferred IV to tablets due to poss heartburn etc with the tablet alternatives. But that still doesn’t get past the issue of how do we get bloods…

As an aside, I also mentioned the side effects I’m having with zoladex and arimidex and think I may need a complete review of medication. Does that sound reasonable???

To top my day off, I was on my way to visit my dad in hospital after he was supposed to be having a hand op, when we were told he was being transferred to our local hospital’s coronary care as he had signs of a potential heart attack before he arrived at theatre. He’s being kept in for tests and seeing cardiologist on Mon so I can visit after my oncology outing !!! Not the best of days…


My goodness Liz,

Thats quiet a day you’ve had.
I hope you Dad is ok.

Have you thought about having a portacath fitted for bloods and the zometa?
I have one and they are great I don’t have any viens left.

Arimidex does give you a few side effects but I think while its working stick with it.
In saying that is is always good to ask the question…
Have you already had tamoxifen?
There are other ways to have bone drugs in tablet form but theyre every day and a bit of a faff!! Take them in the morning on an empty stomach and have to wait an hour before having a cup of tea…



Thanks for your reply - I know you’ve replied on another of my zometa/arimidex threads before and appreciate it.

I gathered from my onc that the tablet form bone drugs are a bit of a faff and that’s why she thought iv was better if my veins held up - she had volunteered her husband’s services as he’s a vet and can get small veins on cats etc !! A portacath did go through my mind, and it’s good to know yours is great. Plus ultimately I will need chemo again at some point…

I was originally on tamoxifen for 7 months but side effects were rubbish on that as well and they were trying the arimidex to see if it was better but have to have zoladex as well as I’m not menopausal yet. I really think it’s the zoladex that’s causing the worst bits so perhaps a return to tamoxifen may be poss but then I gather arimidex is better at preventing recurrence and I’m on a 90% chance of that even with drugs !! Oh the joys and dilemmas of this disease…

Went to visit dad this afternoon - he was v tense but mum’s been tonight and he seemed better so perhaps they gave him tranquillisers !!!

Thanks again, Liz

Hi Liz,

Pleased you Dad is a little bit more settled I hope he has a good night and things calm down.
Parents can be such a worry.

I origionally had my ovaries out so went straight into menopause and was on tamoxifen then.
I was put on to Arimidex when I had a secondary dx and it did kick off menopause symptoms again for a while…
I sometimes feel I had three menopuses before the age of 40!!!
I did try a few natural things to combate the symptoms and they did help plus I think I got used to it all in the end…
I can remember my ankles not working properly in the mornings.

A portacath is certainly something to think about.
it sits under the skin so there is less chance of infection and I have had mine for two years now and its heaven as you know there arn’t any silly games to be played with hunt the vien.

You might get on with the oral bone drugs…
It was to much messing around for me so I didn’t do very well at taking them but we are all different.


Hi Liz, I’ve got a portacath and it’s great and easy - with the right member of staff accessing it. My veins were so completely shot the surgeon seemed to have put in almost a paediatric port (swift 1 3/4, they usually use a 1 1/4 tho). Most of the staff are training how to access this, so we’ve had a few unsuccesful attempts, which can be quite painful, but still not as bad as an iv.

I do remember prior to my port being fitted, they often used ultrasound to detect a ‘working’ vein.

Overall, I really think that women with secondaries should be offered the option of portacath from the beginning rather than go through all that pain and anxiety that collapsing veins brings. After all they know that the veins will ultimately do that - so why not head it off at the pass.

I hope your dads condition is improving, - it’s difficult times for all of you, so do take good care.

Best wishes

Liz I agree with Celeste here - I would see if you can get them to let you have a portacath. I was pro-active in getting one. I only had a couple of very thin veins on the back of my hand and asked for one before I got in a situation where no vein could be accessed. Trouble is some hospitals just aren’t offering them yet. I have heard of ones that don’t even have surgeons trained to insert ports! Celeste - I too have a 3/4" needle for access - but in my case it is because the port lies close to the surface. A lot of them are sited in breast tissue so placed deeper. I have been fortunate at the marsden - only had one trainee but she had been trained in a different hospital and Marsden insist on their own training! They also offer ametop (numbing cream) if patients want it.


Hi Liz, I had a few problems with zometa after about two years on it - flu like symptoms after every infusion and so I switched to Bondronat which is the oral stuff. I find it OK - you have to take it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and can’t eat or lie down again for a bit, but it’s nothing too bad. However, I would only really switch if the zometa side effects were awful and or if something indicated the zometa wasn’t working - in which case they would probably not switch you to bondronat (supposed to be only for people with stable bone mets) but to something like Pamidronate instead.

I had a port too. My veins are rubbish and it really did make chemo a dream. But as soon as I came off chemo I had it taken out. I just didn’t like the intrusion in my body (despite to silicone implants in my boobs!) and also I developed a very rare intolerance to the stiches they used to seal it in and so my would opened up and kept getting infected.

Now I am thinking about changing from the oral chemo that I am currently on to another IV chemo I may have to have another port. I really don’t want collapsed, aching or bruised veins. We’ll see, though, what the Marsden suggest.


Hi everyone,

Many thanks to you all for replying and, as ever, being so informative and helpful. Just back from visiting dad who has more colour tonight and seemed in a less tense mood (reserved for my mum this afternoon!) - perhaps this is a good omen for my vein hunt tomorrow.

Will report back and post (any) further pleas for help and advice after my visit.

Thanks again,

Liz x

Success !!!

Usual nurse got a very small vein that just about held up on her first go - result ! I also mentioned to her that I’d been tired and had backache and the side effects of the zoladex (I think) was driving me nuts, so she suggested I bring my appointment with oncologist forward from mid Sept to next week. Told her I didn’t want to moan and make a fuss but she said it’s what I should do. I will make a list of questions now…any ideas as to anything I should perhaps ask ?

Then went to visit dad and they are transferring him again to Blackpool for further tests and sort him out before he has another heart attack. He’s in panic mode but they are keeping him in til transfer so he can’t escape !! Deffo the best idea.

So, in a very strange way, today was quite successful.


No Dawn I think you misunderstood my port is ONE and three quarters deep, - I think that’s why it causes them such problems.

Liz - I think it may be a good idea to ask him what he advises re your veins - like Dawn I had to be proactive in asking for a portacath, but more and more people are having them in London, so other hospitals are having to train their staff how to cope with them.