The Red Devil

The greatest struggle of my various treatments for advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone metastsis Stage 4 has been by far, taxotere (docetaxel). Taxotere is the chemo my primary oncologist selected to spearhead my treatment plan. I possessed very little knowledge concerning this drug that would alter my life forever.

A surgical implant

Prior to receiving the chemotherapy drug, I had to have a medi-port surgically implanted within my right chest. The medi-port allows access to my blood veins without constantly having to be poked with those pesty needles. A tube connects between your artery and the medi-port body. The surgery to implant the device was relatively flawless.

My father, Floyd Elvis Estep, did not like me allowing the implantation of the medi-port. Dad suffered from the exact cancer diagnosis as I do. His prostate cancer was diagnosed in 2009 at the age of 67. He felt the medi-port was a useless surgery and totally unnecessary.

The drawback

The only drawback I have accessed so far to the medi-port is the fact that not many nurses can successfully access the port properly. It has added longer-than-normal wait times at my oncologist appointments. I have had to sit around for long periods waiting for the staff to hunt up someone that has the know-how to properly utilize the medi-port.

Unlike my father, I loved the medi-port. It saved my arms from a great many needle sticks over the course of my cancer treatment. Not nearly as painful as an arm stick, the medi-port allowed me to cut down on the overall pain I had to suffer.

Valuable input from a friend

A friend of mine, Jimmy Walls, introduced me to a few tricks when it comes to the medical professionals accessing the medi-port. You see, Jimmy had been battling prostate cancer for many years, and he was eager to help through the process. He provided valuable information about many aspects of the medical and emotional sides of having prostate cancer.

Jimmy enlightened me on how the medical staff would access the port and how that would feel. He said it was fairly painful upon the first stick. Handing me some salve, he instructed me to apply the salve to the nipple of the medi-port. LMX4 Topical Anesthetic Cream (lidocaine 4%) was a cream that would numb the area upon which it was applied.

Mr. Walls went on to explain to me that the cream worked best when applied an hour to an hour-and-a-half prior to the injection process. The goal was to rub a light coating of the cream around the medi-port and then put a “big glob” upon the nipple area of the device.

Numbing process

I found that you could request the LMX4 Topical Anesthetic Cream from your cancer nurses, and they were more than happy to supply the cream. Another key component of the numbing process has to do with covering the cream once applied upon body. One good way is to ask the nurses for a clear bandage to cover the creek.

It is important to cover the cream tightly and not allow it to run over the body. I found that the 3M Tegaderm HP transparent film bandage size 2 3/8“ (6 cm x 7cm) 2 3/4“ (953HP) can be a good covering to utilize.

Expressing gratitude

Jimmy passed from his prostate cancer not long after his first visit to my farm. I visited him while he was in hospice. He could not speak back, however he understood what was being said to him. I tried to comfort him, and I smiled into his eyes.

I leaned down and whispered to him, “Thank you, Jimmy, for all you helped me through. Thank you for being there with me. I am praying for you, and The Lord will be there for you.”

I think about Jimmy often; I wonder how things are for him in Heaven. He is in a better place where he does not ever have to feel the effects of “the Red Devil.”

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