My first intrathecal chemotherapy procedure occured the same day as my Port a Cath placement procedure. In fact, I was taken down to have the procedure almost immediately, since I already had anesthetic drugs in me. This way, they wouldn’t have to wait and administer new numbing agents.
I was taken to a table, similar to the one used during the previous procedure. I had to lay on my side, so the doctor could perform the intrathecal chemotherapy procedure. The way it works is, chemotherapy drugs are injected into the spine. This is because non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma likes to hide in the spinal and brain fluid. Standard chemotherapy only targets the blood, so this is used to insure that all cancer cells in the body are killed.
I will say that, it was a bit painful. I mean, having a needle injected into your spine, which is one of the central “hubs” of the nervous system, is not a pleasant feeling. I simply focused on the outcome, not the procedure. Once I did that, I didn’t notice the pain anymore.
Once the intrathecal chemotherapy procedure was complete, I was taken back up to my room. This time, they wheeled me back on a bed. This is because, once intrathecal chemo is given, they want you to rest flat on your back for about an hour or so. This is because, elevating your head could cause major headaches.
Once I got to my room, I was offered something to eat. So, I ate a sandwhich while laying flat in bed. Not an easy thing to do, especially when trying to drink some juice. This is where a straw came in quite handy.
That’s pretty much the procedure in a nut shell. A day or two after that, I would begin the standard RCHOP chemotherapy, common with most non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients. Keep a look out for that post tomorrow. All in all, my first “intrathecal chemotherapy procedure” was a fairly easy process.