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How a "Needle-Weenie" Handles Chemotherapy Treatment.

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Joan Lunden

Breast Cancer /

Passed my white blood cell test today, good to go for treatment!

Last week my I had my third chemo treatment. Entering the cancer treatment center everyone was incredibly welcoming. You can tell they take the time to go out of their way to make patients feel as comfortable as possible under the circumstances in which they are there. For this treatment, my daughter Jamie was with me which gives me added strength. But even with all the external strength around me, I have to admit that I am officially a needle weenie…

OK, so let's just cut to the chase – when it comes to needles, I'm terrified! So as I walk into each chemo session, that's pretty much all I'm thinking about as we make our way to the treatment room, exchanging hellos with all the nurses along the way. 

They have you sit in a recliner chair so you can put your feet up and be a relaxed as possible. Relaxed? A needle is about to be inserted into one of my veins and it will stay that way for several hours while the treatment is administered… how can I be relaxed?!

Well, unfortunately, the first attempt into the vein was a bust - and my heart dropped as I realize that the nurse would have to try again. My daughter coached me through some deep breathing to help alleviate the nerves.

Once the intravenous was in place they began by taking a few vials of blood to test, to make sure that my white blood cell count is ok. If not they would not be able to give me my treatment. That part takes about 20 minute… 20 LONG minutes to get the results. “Good news!” they told me, “your white blood cell count is normal and it appears as though you're handling the chemo treatment really well.” I was good to go. 

Once we were cleared to go, the nurse connected the tubes from the bags hanging above my chair into the IV. Now was the time where you just relax or read until you’re done. I brought my Kindle and started to read but promptly fell asleep, which is not the norm for me. Seems they also give you a good dose of Benadryl in those IV lines and I was in La La land! Before I knew it, I heard the nurse coming in to take out the IV. “Really?” I thought… "That wasn't so bad after all!” The nurse finished up disconnecting me and I was on my way. As always, wanting to turn lemons into lemonade, I headed off with my daughter for some quality mommy/daughter shopping time while we were in town, just the two of us. Every cloud has to have a silver lining, right?!"

Categories: Breast Cancer Home
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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