PICCed Up An Infection

In two days I start my third round of Escalated BEACOPP chemotherapy, and I’m a little nervous because I’ve managed to go and get a damn infection in my PICC line.

For those just tuning in, you can find a more in-depth description of what the heck a PICC line is (along with a cool x-ray) in this blog post, but basically it’s a thin, soft, long tube that is inserted into a vein in your arm. The tip of the tube is positioned in a large vein that carries blood into the heart, and makes it a bazillion times easier to receive injections, transfusions (such as chemo) and even to take blood.

tenor (1)

I really do love my PICC line, but at the moment it’s determined to misbehave. Twice it has blocked and required what I like to call the ‘medical Mr Muscle drain cleaner’ (Urokinase) to get it going again, and now this stupid infection has popped up.

Last week, the labs at the RUH took a blood sample for culturing and managed to grow the bacteria and identify it; I’m harbouring something called Roseomonas which is, apparently, an unusual soil bacteria.

Now, those of you who know me well, I know what you’re thinking.

swear I haven’t been near my succulent collection since my diagnosis! They’ve even been moved to Tracie’s house. I haven’t even touched my vegetable bed. I PROMISE. Apparently it’s just an environmental risk, and it’s merely bad luck that I picked it up (and that it somehow got into my PICC line, which I don’t even touch?!).

tenor (2)

Anyway, originally they wanted to take my current PICC line out and replace it, but because I was feeling well and showing no adverse signs of infection they decided to give me a seven day course of oral antibiotics and see how it goes.

That’s fine and dandy, but no one seems to be able to tell me how giving me oral antibiotics will treat any leftover bacteria still in my PICC line. Are they just sat there waiting for my next PICC line flush to be pushed into my body (right into my flaming heart!)?! I’m concerned about that and need some answers.

Still, onwards and upwards. Once this round of chemo is done I should (fingers crossed for me please) only have one more round of chemo left. I can’t wait until I can get back even a weak semblance of normality – and not have to worry about seeing my friends/going into town/doing normal human activities!

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