we have have many people ask us about what goes on when you have the treatment hope you don't bore easily but here it is love to all my old friends, i've been down in the dumps for many reasons but just getting myself pulled together again.
Rituximab (trade names Rituxan and MabThera) is a chimeric monoclonal antibody against the protein CD20, which is primarily found on the surface of B cells. Rituximab destroys B cells, and is therefore used to treat diseases which are characterized by excessive numbers of B cells, overactive B cells, or dysfunctional B cells. This includes many lymphomas, leukemias, transplant rejection, and some autoimmune disorders. Such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Thank you Wiki for that fully understandable jargon. lol
I had my first Rtx treatment last year in June which went very well and kicked in quickly and lasted till just before Christmas; I had a steroid injection for a pressie from my wonderful Rheumy team to last me over until January 11th.
My second set of treatments.
I was more nervous this time around I suppose you're going into something you've already experienced and worry that it won't go as well again. My appt was at 9.30 the Rheumy team have an arrangement with the team who provide the chemotherapy treatments, they like you to be prompt as the Onocology manager doesn't like her waiting room full ha ha! It was a really cold morning and I forgot to keep my arms as warm as you should or maybe that's just me but my veins get up and disappear.
I was called in and weighed good still losing, and then shown to my chair they are rather swish red leather with electric controls to lift your legs up and lay back, each chair has a TV beside it and then the stand with the drugs on, a table to use for coffee etc. I was introduced to Racheal my Staff nurse for the day. I had my 1st of many observations done my blood pressure was high my body was cold and my breathing well that's ok. So it's now 9 :50 and we start the show.
1st 2 paracetamol followed by a piriton tablet, then Racheal prepped my arm to put the line in; my left as I'm right handed the vein disappeared, so I was sent off to the sink to put my arm under hot water to persuade the veins to pop up. Back to my chair 2nd attempt no go. I can now feel myself starting to worry what will happen if my veins don't perform, but that's when Hannah came to the rescue, Racheal said we don't try more than twice we discussed using the right arm 1st try Hannah had it. Finally we can start.
2nd The steroids so I now have a bag of water attached and a second line going into to that. The nurses check the steroid and mix it and add it to a 250ml bag of saline, that will take about 20 minutes to go through, then they flush the vein again with clear fluids. Coffee was served and I got my kindle out to start to read.
Crikey their back to check my observations again BP come down to normal my temp gone up a bit I'm warming up. We will now go on to the main event.
The steroid bag comes down and the girls double check the Rituximab against my hospital number and name etc plus the date and expiry that's ok it goes out of date at 23.59 that evening.
I watch the Rtx drip down the pipe and wonder how the immune system feels knowing that its suppressor was on its way. It makes it feel like a battlefield I go back to my story.
30 mins have gone by, Racheal is back checking I feel ok no problems. I have my obs. done again BP down a little bit temp Ok. We are now asked if we would like lunch our hospital supplies a little snack box a sandwich, yoghurt banana and juice. Enough when you are just sat.
I watch people come and go most with cancer having their 30 mins. of chemo. I think to myself that I'm luckier.
So that's it really the afternoon went on with 30 minute observations my BP did keep dropping that does seem to be a side effect the lowest was 105/44 and the Rtx speed being increased slowly so your body doesn't reject it. I did get a bit of a bad head about 2 oclock and asked for some paracetamol, Racheal was concerned that I was maybe having a reaction but we decided not. The final drops were squeezed out of the bag about 4pm and then normal saline flushed through so as you get every drop. 5pm and off home and I still feel fine. Roll on 2 weeks second dose and hopefully feeling better as Spring starts to bloom.....................................
Tricia P xxxx