Monthly Archives: April 2017

A Typical Clinic Visit for my Daughter With Leukemia Type pre-BALL.

Its never fun to go to the clinic, and after 7 months we are not used to it nor do I believe we will ever get used to it. Once walking inside the clinic we sign Briannas name in the patient check in board and we sit until we have to go get vitals. Once the tech calls us by name, she walks us to the back to an area where they check weight, height, temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate. My daughter really dislikes having to do this, particularly the pressure cup but bring some bubbles and she may get distracted enough to get it done. Once they got vitals down, they tell us which room we belong in and we walk towards our room number. Once in the room we wait until the other tech comes who will get our daughter “accessed” which means they will connect a needle similar to IV on the arm but in Briannas case itll be thru a device on her chest. On her diagnosis stay at the hospital they made a small incision on her chest to put a tube in her heart artery so medication would go in thru her chest. Here is a picture that came with her introduction binder they gave me at the hospital.Once someone comes to access Brianna we walk to a different room. We usually have a child life specialist come to help distract Brianna and make the process less scary for the kids. Child life is great! The most wonderful ladies work there and are so sweet and very sympathetic to the children that have to go thru the treatment. We sit in a large chair, I sit with her because shes very fiesty and she needs me to hold her arms to give room and allow the tech to clean and sterlize the area where her port is located to avoid infection. The tech makes sure we have face masks also to avoid any bacteria to her port access area. Once accessed she adds a cover on top of the needle which is like a clear tape that protects incase water or anything tries to get in the access area and to support the needle in place. After that the tech needs to be sure she is infact accessed correctly by putting the insulin syringe and instead of pushing insulin in she will pull the syringe to withdraw to see if she sees blood on the see thru cords. If she see’s blood she will withdraw blood until the syringe is bright red instead of clear insulin. Then she grabs a clear syringe and gets a  small blood sample so she can run a complete blood count test. After we get the blood sample she puts the insulin in and we are done. Brianna and I then go back to our room to wait for the doctor to give us her results which usually decide whether or not she can get her treatment that day. If her counts are low then they take the needle out and we have to go home, wait a week and try again until her counts are good enough according  to standards. If her counts are good then we go over the plan and where she is in treatment, discuss the next phase of treatment and the doctor quickly checks her lungs and respiration with stethoscope then checks her eyes, mouth, and ears for any possible infections. They have to be extra careful with infections as patients who have cancer really shouldnt get sick, their immune system is down due to the chemotherapy so they wouldnt be able to fight off a cold on their own, checking for signs of infection is vital. Once cleared by the doctor we head to the infusion area, which is where you see all patients who have already gone thru the check in part and are ready to recieve in clinic treatment. This part of the clinic visit is the longest, they have to get the chemo ready for each individual patient as it all depends on their weight and height. We normally wait an hour before anything starts, then the actualy process to administer the chemotherapy depends on what type of chemotherapy the patient recieves, then the patient is deaccessed and set to go home. Sometimes the infusion takes 5 minutes or sometimes it takes an hour, thats for my 3 year old because shes tiny, I have no doubt the older kids take longer because they get more chemo but the speed of infusion is the same. As noted, we are not used to all of the process and I dont think we will anytime soon or at all. My daughter still cries just as bad as the first day of treatment when they have to access and deaccess her, she also doesnt want to see her doctor, nurse, tech, or even front desk receptionist. We still manage to get everything done, we have for the past 7 months and she is doing well with her treatment.  I am very proud of my daughter, shes so strong and shes such a fighter! No child should deal with everything she has gone thru. I have faith that god has a plan, I was confused and hurt about my child going thru this initially but I still have faith that god surely has a plan for her, for my little man, and for us as their parents. May God bless everyone!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional so anything in the post is purely observation from a parents point of view, these are not standard procedure steps that i am aware of. Maybe other clinics work differently depending on the volume of patients that they deal, the number of doctors staffed, and size of the clinic. This is to explain my experiance with my daughter who has leukemia when we go to her treatment clinic.