Husband is very conscious of the little dark track marks on the tops of his hands. The veins have become a bit discoloured and it looks like something has branded his wrist with little spidery black lines. He’s wondering if this will be a permanent reminder of the cancer and he really doesn’t like it. Generally he likes to get on with his life in between treatments but now every time he eats or washes his hands (which we both do so very often these germ- conscious days!) he sees the lines.
The Doc’s verdict is “Hmmm. Yes. Bendamustine often irritates the veins but the discolouration should resolve in time.”
Husband’s wrists ache, particularly where the drips go in. Apparently the needle is quite long and the staff know that the ‘kink point’ in the wrist can get irritated when you move your hand while a needle is stuck in the back of it. Good news: they can run saline at the same time as the Bendamustine to dilute it. That should make it more comfortable and it won’t make the process any longer because it feeds in at the same time. A note duly goes into Husband’s file for the next treatment. Saline it is.
The Doc cheerfully tells us that there is also the option to run the drip in higher up the arm. He tells us that they’re used to having to get creative – it’s not uncommon for the superficial veins used to administer chemo to become irritated and over a period of time they can become so inflamed that they can’t be used. Or “superficial veins can get ‘shot’” as he summarised.
Saline sounds like a great option so we leave reassured. It’s often the little things that get to Husband, the day to day things that remind him what is coursing through his veins. Cancer brings so many little indignities – constipation, hair thinning and now track marks. Cancer throws different things on different days – the constipation resolves so you worry about whether or not your hair is thinner than it should be or if your skin is a bit yellow. Track marks are a new thing – small in the scheme of things but frustrating. If something as simple as saline can help then we’ll be grateful. Just as the small frustrations can build up, so can the many small positives.