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Needles

Goalie's picture
Goalie
Posts: 184
Joined: Sep 2010

You know, I’d really thought that I was pretty much over needles. I always used to faint or nearly faint when I got them. I remember that in college I would even give blood but immediately go to the recovery cots because it was that or the floor.

Cancer changed all that... or so I thought. For six months I had at least one a day it seemed and often more. I got to where I could just walk in and get stuck for hydration and not think about it. As long as they didn’t have to poke around too much, I was fine. And as an athlete, I have great veins, they always say confidently. But since my neck dissection six months ago I have been mercifully without a single needle.

So I went in yesterday for my six-month PET-CT and they had to hook me up. It wasn’t long before all the old feelings came around again and I got woozy and vomited. Then I got woozier and vomited more (though in between is always such a nice feeling of relief, isn’t it? It does scare the techs though.)

Finally, I passed out sitting up … and then vomited some more. Fortunately, since I had had to fast all night, there wasn’t much ammunition but it was a most unpleasant reminder of last November when I threw up the whole month. When it was time for the scan they decided that they were not going to have me drink the radioactive kool-aid or inject anything. They didn’t want to take the chance of my doing that in the machine. They sent me to go to the bathroom and while waiting for it to open up I started to get sick again and just made it.

The actual scan(s), however, were uneventful and, I hope, successful. Oh, and in the parking lot going to pick up the car, I did it again. (I rested the rest of the day and played hockey that night so it was not totally debilitating, but still…)

So, I don’t know if it is my old needle aversion coming back or some subconscious reminder of the bad old days when I was deep in the fight against cancer and things didn’t look so good. Does anybody else have similar experiences?

Doug

BTW, I have confidence that the scans will show nothing interesting but they’re not clear until they’re clear, eh?

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

LOL, just teasing you, I know you'd rather be taking a high stick to the chops....

I'm not a big fan of getting poked myself, and I also got used to it during treatment. But now that I'm not poked on a daily basis (Amifostine everyday in the stomach for 35 days), I'm back to not liking it.

I still have the port in and should be getting it out soon. But I still have to go in every 6 - 8 weeks for flushing...the needle for that seems to be of an exceptionally large diameter.

Best luck, thoughts and prayers for a good report on the PET...

John

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1569
Joined: May 2011

I also have a needle aversion. I have never thrown up but have passed out or had panic attacks. I can't even see an IV needle without my heart racing. It seems that the more I try to calm myself the worse I get till I hyperventilate and pass out. The nurses in my doctors office hate to draw my blood and usually "call it!" so the last one has to do it. LOL.

Praying for a clear scan.

Debbie

Goalie's picture
Goalie
Posts: 184
Joined: Sep 2010

I should have mentioned that I had even gotten to where I could give myself the Lovenox injections for blood clots in the stomach when traveling overseas. (My wife always did them when I was home.) But now I am back to being a wuss. Doug

Oh, and blood on the ice doesn't bother me but teeth on the ice do...

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

I had therapy for my phobia of needles! I am hoping it work's for quite a while as passing out & hitting my head is not much fun. A cold face cloth on my forehead also help's!

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Needles and drawing blood don't really bother me. Unless you get an idiot that misses and then digs. I'd like to smack them. IV's on the backs of my hand, I'm not fond of, but I deal. I bruise like fruit, and it really hurts there for some reason. The needles I hate are novocaine at the dentist! I don't care how much he puts numbing stuff on they still hurt. Bur mostly needles don't bother me. The only thing that freaks me out is when they try and put that breathing tube in when I'm awake. That causes a panic attack. :(

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

I can see that happening.....must be why some people don't play hockey...see their grill flying across the ice.

Blood on the ice wouldn't bother me either, especially if it's someone else's......

JG

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

Doug might be a wuss, but the fainting is due to a vagus nerve reflex; some folks think it's inherited. You can trigger your own mild version of this by rubbing your neck where you would normally take your pulse - if you do it right, your blood pressure and heart rate will drop (they sometimes use this in the ER to differentiate between a heart attack and other sources of chest pain - if doing the carotid massage makes the pain go away, it's usually a heart attack).

The folks who faint with needles seem to have an easily activated vagus nerve - I've seen Doug do fine with needles, but mostly when it's done with no fuss and when he's able to focus elsewhere. It seems to be a combination of physical and mental stimulation - the time he fainted in the radiation office during hydration, they had been fishing around for the vein for a while (anyone getting queasy yet?). It even bothered me a bit, and I love blood and guts and such.

BTW, some folks have suggested that H&NC radiation can be a cause of non-chemo nausea because it might be affecting the vagus nerve. That would explain a few things in Doug's case. . ..

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

It is true that when I am relaxed & the nurse is quick & gentle I do okay! I was given relaxation technique that helped a bit. Chemo IV was a huge problem, but then I requested the nurse who was good at finding the vein so it made life easier for me.

osmotar's picture
osmotar
Posts: 953
Joined: Jul 2011

Amifostine for?

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5674
Joined: Apr 2009

I did Amifostine on my first rad treatment and I believe it is why I still have my saliva glands working. I took them in the fat area of the stomach, of corse I was a big 230lbs boy back then…

To me it works but that may not be so on everyone
Hondo

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

I also had them in the stomach each day...left a welt about the size in diameter of a golf ball. Usually would become dry and itchy, they's rotate them around each day.

I too feel that it helped my salivary glands. It's also supposedly to help reduce the thick ropey phlegm, which I never had any of...

Most people start having some kind of reaction and few make it the whole 35 days... A few on here made it completely though. I made it to around 32 then had to stop because it started giving me high fevers on radiation days for some reason.

My chemo MD oredered them, the rads MD wasn't so hot on them being of much value. Like Dawn and Tim both mentioned. I feel they helped during my treatment and after too....

Best,
John

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

I guess they did the backs of my arms, because that is where I had extra fat. None on the belly. Lol.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

What.....that's the only place on you they wouldn't hit bone...you are so tiny and by that time you probably weighed next to nothing..

How's the ear doing, same same...any improvment.

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Never did get, but maybe wish I had. 28-months out, and mucous is still such an issue when I wake in the morning. Laying in bed, more often than not I'm spitting into a bedside can for more than 15-minutes as I think about getting-up.

Little footnote about the needle. Back when I was going thru the Ops at Rush-P-St.Luke's in Chicago, they used-to give shots in the thighs for those of us who were frequent visitors. Heard they stopped doing it, because of what it does to the thighs. I was in my early teens, and now have the thighs of Schwarzenegger...would you believe Barishnakov? How about Marty Feldman? Did always wonder about that. Thighs are well-equipped to handle the needle, by the way, in regards to the sensation of the shot.

kcass

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

It's funny about the arm fat. It's kinda weird, really. One time I was shopping with a friend and she had to help me, because my arms were so chubby, I was stuck in the shirt! Talk about embarrassing!

Ears still suck. No improvement. I'm beyond cranky at this point. Blah.

osmotar's picture
osmotar
Posts: 953
Joined: Jul 2011

Amifostine for?

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Some of us have had amifostine shots every day, prior to radiation, to try and preserve salivary function. I have read studies that say it works and studies that say it doesn't. So I don't know. I think it was worth trying in may case, since I only have my right submandibular now. They gave me the shots in the backs of my arms, alternating between the two, it burned pretty bad and man were my arms black and blue.

RayTodd's picture
RayTodd
Posts: 187
Joined: Aug 2011

My wife and daughter are both R.N.'s (reg nurses) give injections all the time but what a laugh when they get needles from the Doc you can hear them in the waiting room. hahahah

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Uh, I hope your scans come back clean...Well, I've been thru 31 Ops in my life, Doug, including 23 in a 26-month period when I was 13-16. Shots don't really hurt, you know. It's just a minor negative sensation that lasts only a second. It's nothing. Dr. Mary might have a legitimate explanation, but it's Greek to me. I do remember being petrified about shots when I was a boy, but...shots don't even really hurt. Sorry you have this reaction to the needle, but it seems to me you should be able to get beyond it.

And, John- those flushing needles really are 1.5" finishing nails bored-out by a laser for the purpose of the flushes! Look just like it, don't they- yes.

kcass

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

Those suckers hurt going in.....

BTW, Doug, you know I'm just raggin on you... I mean after all you are a hockey player. How could I not tease on you that a shot from a needle bothers you...LOL.

But in reality, it is like everything else, it's not something that you can really control. I mean you might try some kind of mind over matter....

That's what I do...If you don't mind, it doesn't matter...

JG

osmotar's picture
osmotar
Posts: 953
Joined: Jul 2011

I hate needles...maybe they can use the port..oh yeah...hmmmm but probably not huh :(

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

Mine is a power port...works both ways...the used it for chemo infusion. But they can use it for blood draws also.

If it's just a simple blood draw, I have them use my arm. It doesn't sting nearly as bad as the port does....

The port is OK and you get use to it, especially when you are getting stuck all of the time. But after you're done with treatment, it does sting more than a simple injection or blood draw.

JG

sabriene
Posts: 27
Joined: Aug 2006

Doug, after reading your e-mail not sure you are a candidate for acunpunture treatment. There they put a whole bunch of needles in the body. I thought nothing else was working to help jumpstart my salivary glands would give that a try. I had talked on phone with MD Anderson Cancer Center, and they had done a pilot program with people with the same problem and found it helped. Thought I would give it a try and was very happy with the outcome for now I am using a whole lot less water, and it also helped my energy level. I was very lucky for found a man with a good background in acunpunture in my area. However, you sure have my sympathy on getting sick for that happen to me when they installed that peg tube. Sounds like you doing much better now and will keep you in my prayers that you are in total remission. Roger

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