Day -8: So this happened this morning! Today is the last day (of the 4-day block) of prednisone and stem cell stimulation injections tonight. Early this morning the neckline (neck catheter / hickmanline) was placed. I believe that breakfast had just been brought into my room and then at 8:30 a.m. I received a message from stem cell sister Ann, “They’re coming now to take us to line insertion!!!”. I replied that it would be later for me, but I soon got the response, “No now on their way to you! No warning!”. I can laugh about it now, but at that moment I didn’t like it that much, without being informed upfront. So I dropped my spoon to leave my breakfast porridge right away and quickly put on some clothes. Ann’s room was not that far away from mine. So I expected them any minute.
Of everything that is going to happen here, I think the neckline insertion is the one thing I feared the most. Especially, because it would not happen under general anesthesia. I have to say, in the end it wasn’t that bad! A local anesthetic is put in place and that is actually the most annoying thing. At least everything wasn’t painful. You only feel that your neck is being pulled a lot. An x-ray was made afterwards to check that this “hickman line” was placed correctly. It runs from the carotid artery in your neck directly to the vein at your heart.
Afterwards, I understand why this procedure was done early in the morning while the hospital patients were still ‘waking up’. They want to test whether this neckline works properly for stem cell harvesting and the prednisone drip that I received in the mornings the past 3 days can now be administered via this neck catheter. So it had to be in place before the prednisone bag arrived at my room. Puncturing in your arm will no longer be needed and this is more hygienic and less harmful for the blood vessels. The prednisone is running, so yes, the line is working! Tomorrow in the early morning they will harvest my stem cells via this neck line for 5 to 6 hours. Because of this neckline, I am no longer allowed to leave the hospital grounds due to hygiene restrictions. Not that I think I would feel like it with this big antenna sticking out of my neck. 😉 Around 13:30 I asked for extra painkillers. Not so weird that I need them I guess, as it still was quite brutal the way there was pulled at my neck.
Oh yes, and as you can see on the pictures, the great Anastasia of course ensures that everything is arranged properly and runs smoothly!
Click on the images to open the gallery including explanations: