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Advice request - to PICC or not?

14 REPLIES 14
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi Maryland

Thanks for this advice about the saline and massage. I too am having treatment at MacMillan. I asked the therapist whether there was any massage I could do to help my veins both before the infusion and afterwards but she did not know of any.

I went yesterday for my assessment and there I managed to see a lady with the PICC in so at least now I have seen it for real. I decided not to go ahead with the PICC for the second session and that turned out fine as my second cycle has been postponed for a week as my white blood count was too low.

Thanks again
Athens



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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi CP

Good for you and delighted the trip is going well.

Thanks for the tip about the insurance - I will come back to you for the details if I cannot find it online.

Have a safe journey home and all the best for the next session.

Athens
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi Athens
I have property in Majorca,but I do live in the UK...I have 3 more sessions to go, it wasn't an easy decision to make to fly, but I felt well, I was advised to carry all my hospital and chemotherapy reports with me together a course of antibiotics, I'm back home in a few days for my 4th session.. As it's only a 2 hour flight, my oncologist, agreed, I have been careful, by not mixing with too many people, and sensible in the sun.. I carry my EHIC card, and took travel insurance out with a company Mia insurance who insured me for £69.00 for 10 days. If you need the details I will forward on..

I was apprehensive about travelling, but I'm glad I did it, feeling much better, and can't believe it, I have small tufts of hair growing back!!
Take care
Xxxxx

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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi Athens....me again! Somewhere on this forum I have read that an extra bag of saline flush at the end of chemo infusion helps veins....you could ask at chemo2? Also forgot to say that I had complimentary therapies at MacMillan in my hospital and a guy showed me how to massage (using rapeseed oil or similar) in soft strokes along my vein for about 10-15 minutes daily. This did help considerably, as did rubbing in a little nurofen gel and using a heat pad when it got the most painful. Mimicking swimming breast stroke gently also helped. All the best for your treatment....x

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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi Mel
Many thanks for letting know your experience, it really does help to hear the different experiences.
Hope all is going well for you.
Athens
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Thanks Joan for the comments - no worries about the typos, I could work it out!
Hope all goes well for you.
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

I was very reluctant to have a PICC line put in before my 2nd chemo but I went ahead with it. I can honestly say that it was the best thin I have ever done. It made everything so much easier - bloods and chemo. Also after the first chemo my veins in my arm tightened up and I have to massage it every night. I'm now getting to the point where I can straighten it but it's still sore. I was also limited because I can't have any chemo in my right arm due to SNB. Regarding the flushes and changes, I have this done by my district nurse and I've been fortunate that he domes very Friday at 11-11.30 which means I can go out and pop home for my appointment. I bought a LIMBO cover which keeps it totally waterproof and takes a minute to put it on.
All in all I think it was the best decision for me, but as the others said it is a personal choice.
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Apologies for all the typos in my post. Should have checked it. Hope it was intelligible.
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Athens, I had a PICC line inserted before my first chemo because medics always have difficulty finding a decent vein and because I'd had a sentinel node lymph biopsy in my right arm they could. Only use veins in my left. There are certainly advantages, chemo is simpler, ditto blood tests and on balance I would do the same again. Showering/bathing isn't a problem with the plastic sleeve and I was told I shouldn't swim anyway during chemo because of the risk of infection. Getting it checked every week isn't too much of a fag provided you can get it done locally at your health centre, which should be possible.

The downside, from my experience had bern twofold. First, it increaes the risk of getting a blood clot. Cancer increaes this risk anyway, chemo increases it further and Having a PICC lines creases it further. I don't know what the petcentage in crease is, or what proportion develop a clot but I was one of the unfortunate ones. So I am now on daily blood thinning injections for probably 6 months. The second risk is infection. Fortunately I didn't get a infection in the vein with the line in, but I did develop an infection under the skin, triggered by the line. So this all has to be balanced out. The oncologist didn't discuss all this with me; it was only gone through in. Detail by the specialist nurse doing the line and I don't think I really took it in. Hope this doesn't feel too much like scaremongering but thesecsrevisdues you need to carefully consider alongside the possible damage to your veins from not having one.
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi CP
Do you mean you have travelled to Majorca on holiday with still with more FEC sessions due or do you live there?
I ask because I was advised really strongly by the hospital not to travel too far from home and certainly not to leave the country in case I developed an infection and had to cope with getting that treated. This was illustrated with a couple of horror stories.
I love to travel so that was a blow for me!
Athens
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Dear Kes, Maryland & CP
Thank you so much for your replies, always helpful to here from others.
I spoke to the BCN yesterday about it & she disagreed with the oncology nurse & thought I should try again this time without the PICC so that I would have another 3 weeks & review for the third session.
I am going to have a look online to see if there is anything I can do more to help avoid the vein issue or at least reduce it.
Take care all

I
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi Athens,
I too, was advised by my oncologist, to have the PICC line, but after I researched and spoke with a few oncologists nurses, who said that there is more chance of infection, and would have to wear a sleeve whilst showering and swimming. I refused. I have had 3 FEC treatments by intravenously, and all ok. I think the nurse you spoke to, probably meant cording, this as happen to me where the vein tightens up my arm, but with moisturing and lots of massaging it does ease up, and I'm told that after treatment it will get better.

It's a personal choice, listen to yourself, and I'm sure you will make the right decision.
I'm in Majorca at the moment, doing all normal activities, I did before been diagnosed, and choosing not to have the PICC line, I realise now, I made the right decision. Take care xxxx
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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi Athens....I was told my veins wouldn't stand up to FEC-T but I refused a PICC line as having worked throughout chemo 2 years ago, I couldn't face yet another trip to the GP/hospital to have it flushed/cleaned and to be restricted showering/swimming! It did take 2 or 3 attempts each round of chemo (depending on the skill of the nurse), and I kept my hand warm to plump up my veins with a surgical glove, handwarmer and mitten!! They also put an electrical heat pad on before each infusion. My veins did get a bit hard with mild discomfort, although I found massage, arm exercises and swimming helpful. They fully recovered after a couple of months.

Very personal decision for you, and it is YOUR choice, don't be railroaded! Hope an alternative experience helps? All the best for the rest of your treatment,,,,take care x

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Re: Advice request - to PICC or not?

I would get a line of some sort. It will avoid any problems and its very routine.
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Advice request - to PICC or not?

Hi there

I am looking to hear some experiences of using a PICC to help me decide whether to get one - need to decide by 3 July.

I initially asked to start with a PICC for my chemo (FEC) as I have quite small veins and do not like needles. However I was asked to try the first session (13June) without a PICC and it went fine, so I thought I would do without the PICC. However when I told the oncology nurse this today on the phone when I was talking to her about something else, her strong advice was to go for the PICC because FEC is hard on the veins and I could end up with permanent damage to my veins, something called "tracking". She has 10 years experience and said most oncology nurses would recommend a PICC for FEC as they see the results of the vein damage whereas doctors are less keen on it.

I googled "tracking" but could not find much about it. My only concern about a PICC up to now was the additional risk of infection and having to arrange to get it checked each week.

Any comments gratefully received!

Athens