A shoutout to central lines

Having a central line has pretty much been the bane of my existence since my first one was placed last June. I have managed to have 7 lines so far and it turns out I will be getting my 8th next week! Can’t wait!! In honor of all of the central lines that have malfunctioned in my body while inflicting varying degrees of damage, here is a nice list:

  1. Central line #1: the surgeon thought it would be a good idea to have the line exit my body on my side, basically right below my left armpit, in an attempt to avoid putting the line right between my boobs. It was a nice thought I guess, but it was super uncomfortable and made it so I couldn’t sleep on my side. This wasn’t a huge issue because I usually sleep face down in a way that really freaks my mom out but eventually all the movement from being in the armpit area led to it being pulled out and it had to be replaced.
  2. Central line #2: Nice central line in with an exit site in my chest. SUCH a welcome relief from the armpit line. By this point I was a few months into treatment and modesty was out the window anyway so praise this line. This line had to come out to make way for power line #1.
  3. Power line #1: When I got really bad gut GVH the doctors decided to put in a power line, which is necessary to do photopheresis. This line basically tried to kill me – the vein it was in was nicked during surgery and it poured 5 Liters of fluid and medicine into my lungs/chest cavity. This was when I ended up in the ICU on a ventilator and all of my muscles lysed and everything was horrible and I couldn’t move.
  4. Femoral line: This was a truly horrific line, second only to the power line. A femoral line is placed basically right at the upper crease of the leg where there is a huge vein. I had the pleasure of receiving a triple lumen femoral line, which means it was massive. I was unconscious for a lot of having this line and whoever changed the dressings was not very kind so I have some nice scars from the tape ripping my skin open. This line only lasted a few days before two of the lumens got clogged. Thanks for nothing, femoral line.
  5. Picc line #1: At this point I was pretty traumatized with regard to lines and really wanted a port, which is a lovely invention that serves the same purpose as a central line but is placed underneath the skin so you can take showers without wrapping yourself in plastic and be more of a normal human. However, they are not as easy to use and don’t have as many lumens as central lines so my doctors have repeatedly refused to give me one. This line was placed during my crazy/confused sirolimus haze so my feisty drugged up self decided to really argue for a port. I don’t remember this conversation at all but from what I’ve heard my very exasperated doctor compromised with me by putting in a picc line, which is a more temporary version of a central line that was placed in my left arm. This was super annoying because I couldn’t put on a shirt without being unattached from my IV pole which is very tedious.
  6. Picc line #2: Like I said, picc lines are temporary so after line #5 I had the delight of a second picc line, this one in my right arm. It was just as annoying as the other picc line until the whole catheter literally fell out of my arm one day.
  7. Power line #2: In February doctors finally succeeded in placing a non-deathly power line into my chest. The surgeon was kind enough to place it very high in my cleavage so that I will have a nice, visible scar for years to come 🙂 It recently came out of place in my vena cava so I will now be needing a replacement.

Let’s all hope that line #8/power line #3 treats me well. The first 7 have set the bar pretty low so at least they shouldn’t be too difficult to top.

PS in two days I will be 8 months out of transplant!! I am continually shocked that I am alive.

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About Brooke Vittimberga

I have cancer...oops
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