Friday, July 30, 2010

The End of the Lumbar Puncture

Warning: Pictures of medical stuff, including needles and catheters are included. Angie and Stephen, good luck!

I had what is supposed to be my last lumber puncture on July 28. Since it was my last LP, we decided we needed to get some pictures of the process. The doctor would not let my mom come in, but agreed that one of the techs, Kent, could be our photographer. I always had my face in a pillow and happy drugs running through my veins (for most LPs); so, the pics allow me to see the process from a different angle. An angle that makes me understand some things a bit better.

Before I got an LP, I would have to get at least one liter of fluid infused. My first few lumbar punctures were horrible experiences because of the lack of fluid in my spine, amongst other "issues." The liter of fluid resulted in my spinal fluid being juicy enough that a sample could be drawn.

This is one of the techs, Chris. I always saw him with his gear on: hat, mask, gloves, etc. I was really surprised to see him in the hall one day. He has long hair! I never knew.

This spot in the hall was "my spot" each time I had a LP. One of the hospital transporters would get me from where I was before LP and bring me to this spot. I was not amused the first time this happened. It was my first day at the hospital, I was having numerous tests and such done. Some dude I didn't know brought me to this spot and left me. That's protocol, but I didn't know it then and, yes, I cried. I did learn that it was my spot until angio was ready for me. Once the pharmacist, Brenda (pictured here) or Bruce, passed me with the bag of methotrexate, I knew I would go in soon.

Here is the doc and nurse, Shawnna, doing some prep. The doc (or Chris) would cover my back with very cold iodine and would cover the areas surrounding the puncture point with something. I think tape is involved, but we will have to see further down. I don't know this doctor's name. Overall, I had 3 or 4 doctors who did my LPs. One girl and 3 boys. Can't tell you one name. :) Shawnna was giving me some happy drugs.

Still prepping. You can see the x-ray of my back on the computer screen (the previous pic shows it too). The x-ray helped the doctor become familiar with the anatomy of my back - extra lower vertebrae and all.

Doctor man (again, I don't know his name) is putting the needle in my back.

If you enlarge the picture, you can see the needle in my back. Look, there is that stuff they put around the puncture point.

No wonder I feel pain! That lovey tube is simply dangling out of my back. I didn't know this happened with each LP.

Doctor man is taking spinal fluid out of my back. This served 2 purposes: 1) It's like a biopsy of my spinal fluid. The fluid is checked for leukemic cells. 2) Fluid had to be removed from my spine so that fluid (chemo) could be added to my spine.

My spinal fluid ready to go to the lab.

Shawnna is holding the bag of methotrexate that was to go in my back. We call it Mt. Dew because it looks just like Mt. Dew.

Doctor man in putting the Mt. Dew into my spine. It always felt like a lot of pressure.

Still putting in the Mt. Dew. The doc would inject it slowly to help maintain balance in my spine.
Finished!!! I look so happy. I suppose the meds worked really well. I have absolutely no recollection of Kent taking this picture.

My goodness! I always love the pics my mom takes - I look, interesting. This fine man is Dan. He was usually my nurse for LPs. He was doing other things this day, but he made sure to come in to recovery for a pic. He calmed my nerves many times and was a great med pusher.
I believe I had a total of 13 lumbar punctures. I will update that number if my mom tells me different. All I know is that a) lumbar punctures are really yucky, b) I don't like people to mess with my back, c) I love the nurses and techs who were always there, and d) I won't have to have one again.

After each outpatient LP, mom and I would head to Greg and Charise's house. I would sleep for a good 2-3 hours. When Charise got home from work she would make a wonderful meal and someone took a picture if a camera was around. We would eat and then laugh at Greg's antics. I am very appreciative of the number of times we have been welcomed into Greg and Charise's home. I am blessed with a wonderful family!

THINGS TO COME: Bone marrow biopsy next Thursday. Chimerism tests. Pentostatin. DLI.
Much love,


Angie said...

I made it through the post. :)
Love ya!


Jullie said...

Thanks for the updates, Melanie. I am glad that things continue to improve!

Miss Nelson said...

Hooray for no more Lumbar Punctures!!

Cami said...

That just looks painful Mel. What a strong girl you are! It is nice to get a visual of what a LP is. Thanks for keeping us all informed. Love you Melly!

Shay said...

I'll let Ariane know you're being taken care of. I was just checking up on you because I'm not in Logan anymore to hear updates from your sister. Love you!