Stick, Faint, PICC


Well, yesterday marked the beginning of my cancer treatment.  I went in at 10:30am for lab work- my faaaaavorite.  Anyway, they needed to run the preliminary tests so, CBC, TSH, Free T, T4, Thyroglobulin, etc. and they wanted 10 or so vials out of me.  Mind the fact that I have been on the low iodine diet for almost 2 weeks- and I have, as a vegetarian, been losing about a pound a day and been slowly getting weaker due to a severe lack of viable protein intake.  So, I walk into the lab and the nurse asks me which arm I want pricked- I told her, if possible, let’s go with the left… she assessed both arms and chose my right one (the one with at least 7 track marks from recent ER trips, surgery, and lab work).  Now my right arm is usually a trooper, you stick it in, and it gives a proud blood return.  But yesterday, no dice.  So, she pulls the needle out and apologizes and promptly grabs my left arm, tells me she sees the vain but can’t feel it, and goes in for it- also not a success.  She took the needle out and said, “well, I’m going to see if I can get someone else to do that for us.”  So she leaves the room and comes back with another nurse.  And I’m pretty nauseous at this point, and I’m just hoping for a blood return.  The new nurse gets a blood return on the first try (left arm), and then proceeds to fill the vials.  As I’m looking at her and listening to the sounds around me I’m noticing a change, oh yes, my body is telling me, we’re goin’ down.  My ability to hear at normal levels decreased, and it looked like there was a lot of sunshine behind everyone standing in front of me.  I gave her a head’s up that I was probably going to faint in a few minutes and she asked me if I could hang in there just for a bit longer so that she wouldn’t have to stick me again.  I agreed, but after the next vial I was clammy and droopy, she asked me if I was still there, I said yes, and told her “smelling salts”.  She popped them and a few seconds later I was out, but she stuck them under my nose, and moments later I was back and the needle was out of my arm.  For the first time in my life (as a medical student), I fainted.

So, let’s fast forward a bit to 3 or so hours later when I receive a call from my endocrinologist– I was a bit surprised to hear from her so soon, but she was saying that the labs had come back and my TSH was 14=BAD.  Before my thyroidectomy I was on 100mcg of Synthroid, post thyroidectomy I was put on 112mcgs because my TSH was 1.4.  A good TSH for me is between 0-0.5, so 14 was definitely a bit of a wake up call.  We discussed it briefly, how it is possible that that happened– I’ve been taking my Synthroid every morning an hour before I eat anything, no morning vomiting, nothing.  So Monday I’ll have repeat labs just to make sure that 14 was correct.  And, the endocrinologist also told me that my thyroglobulin antibodies were negative, meaning we can use thyroglobulin in the future as a tumor marker, and that my thyroglobulin levels were detectable- 1.6, so the radiation is necessary.
I also briefly discussed with her the possibility of inserting a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) because I am a “hard stick” and I do need lots of things to go in and come out of my veins.  She said she has no problem with it, so we’ll see what the nurses say Monday when I get my ass-jection (Thyrogen) and repeat labs.

2 Responses to “Stick, Faint, PICC”

  1. 1 Oscar

    Vegeterian diet as well as quick weight loss cause thyroid disorders!!!!!
    Soy causes goiter in predisposed individuals
    There is a connection between autoimmune thyroid disorders and cancer

  2. 2 THAT girl

    Seeing as a goiter is an enlarged thyroid, and she really doesn’t have one to speak of, I’m pretty sure that’s a non-issue.

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