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married, mom of 2

ChemoRN's Latest Activity

  1. ChemoRN

    Hairy Cell Leukemia

    Hairy Cell Leukemia is one of the better in a class of really bad diseases. I mean leukemia stinks, but it usually carries a better prognosis than the acute leukemias and sometimes better than chronic ones. Of course, every rule has a rule breaker. check out http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org that's the Leukemia Society Web site. They have downloadable patient information books that should be helpful. Unfortunately, your real question is how will this particular disease affect me or the person I care about who is dealing with this disease. No one can tell you that everything will be alright with 100% certainty. I will say a prayer for you that whatever connection you have with this disease will have a happy ending and that you will be surrounded by support.
  2. ChemoRN

    lymphoma, anyone?

    Sunnygirl72, I am so sorry to hear your bad news. The "big C" can be scary no matter how good the prognosis is. I am a hematology nurse that works primarily with leukemia and lymphoma patients, so I hope I can be some help. When doctor's say "low grade lymphoma" they mean that it is a slow growing type of lymphoma, almost always the non Hodgkins variety. There are hundreds of NHL subtypes, but the most important factor is that it is being referred to as "low grade" The usual treatment for LG NHL is the great "watch and wait" protocol. At my hospital our top lymphoma guy doesn't treat until his patients are symptomatic. (We are an NCI Cancer Center and our lymphoma guy is recognized nation wide) His rationale?? Low grade lymphomas have an 8-12 year life expectancy whether you treat them or not. So his goal is to keep the patient at their optimum functioning and limit the amount of "rat poison" we put in their bodies. There are some new biological modifiers that are showing great promise in certain patients with low grade lymphoma. These are primarily used outpatient and I haven't dealt with them specifically. Depending on how old she is, they may recommend a stem cell transplant, using her own stem cells. This sometimes extends the disease free survival rate. As scary as that sounds, it is not as bad as you think. (Not that I would do it if I didn't have to) Hope this helps! Feel free to pm me with any questions or if you just need to vent. Your family will be in my prayers!
  3. ChemoRN

    Would like to talk to a chemo nurse please

    Pappy, I am an inpatient heme onc nurse, so I don't deal a lot with CLL since it is managed outpatient primarily. I have a friend with CLL and have gathered most of my info from trying to help her. CLL is frequently managed with W&W, but if it's time to start treatment, Fludara isn't bad. Minimal side effects and it frequently has a great response. Best of all, it can be given outpatient - unlike most leukemia therapies that put you in the hospital for weeks at a time. Chlorambucil is also frequently given to treat CLL. Both of these drugs show excellent disease control. If your platelets and red counts are good, you'll probably tolerate therapy better. At least from the myelosuppression standpoint. There is also a new drug out called Compath. It's a monoclonal antibody, so it's harder to take, but it's helpful if standard treatment doesn't control your white count. Just letting you know there are further options out there. Good luck!
  4. ChemoRN

    chemo question

    Vote #3 for peripheral neuropathy! I had a patient who had peripheral neuropathy and told me that he felt like he had saran wrap on his feet. Similar? Peripheral neuropathy is dose limiting for a lot of chemotherapies. Be sure that you report it if she's going to get more cycles.
  5. ChemoRN

    narcotic theft investigation

    This exact thing happened to me, except it was Demerol IV. I wasted a lot of "demerol" with a certain nurse - only it was saline! You can't tell the difference! Nothing happened to me because of it, just a lot of data collection stuff. It made me nervous as heck though! :stone don't worry - if you didn't do anything wrong you have nothing to worry about.
  6. ChemoRN

    Oncology Nurse/Patient Ratio

    27 patients gives us 9 nurses, 4 techs and 1 MR. That's what we are allowed to have. If you don't have 9 nurses, you just suck it up. We do have some variance with acuity. I have worked with 8 and been bored and I have had days where I would have sold my soul for nurse #10! that averages out to 3-4 patients per RN. Not a bad ratio!
  7. ChemoRN

    organ donation, political issue bleh

    Dont' forget Bone Marrow!! Save a life with just some discomfort in the hip region and 23 hours in a hospital. You even get cool drugs and a nice nap, all billed directly to someone elses insurance! Where can you get a better deal? http://www.bonemarrow.org
  8. ChemoRN

    psycho RN for a CNA instructor

    During our last semester, our instructors made us take TONS of old NCLEX tests. Like 3-4 a day. They were the old "pencil and paper" ones. Sounds like a great idea, right? Well, there was one particularly interesting section. The director of the program had pulled a bunch of cardiology questions out to go over. She passed out the "test", graded them and proceeded to scream and yell at all of us for about 30 minutes over how stupid we were. Yes, that is exactly what she said. She said that we were an embarrassment to her and that we were going to be the ruin of her program, etc, etc. (the average score was somewhere in the teens, most of us only got 1 or 2 right out of 50.) Turns out, she didn't take the old answer key out of the grading machine when she ran our bubble cards through. We were being graded with the wrong key!! :roll I can still remember her screaming "vitamin K has nothing at all to do with coumadin!! Why would it be an antidote?" Never apologized, not one single time.
  9. ChemoRN

    Should Nurses attend patient funerals

    I have attended a few patient funerals - the one's who were really special to me. I admit I did it for myself, to get closure, etc. But I think it benefitted the families also. At one particular funeral, I was invited to sit with the family and was expected to follow first behind the family car. It just shows how much we can become a part of our patient's lives. I have heard some criticism of nurses who attend funerals. Some people believe that it shows a level of unprofessionalism. It's not in the job description to form a relationship. Personally, after taking care of cancer patients for months, I don't know how you don't form a relationship. I think that everyone has the right to decide what is best for them. Occasionally, I need my families to know how special their loved one was to me. That's my decision. One of my doc's was asked by his patient to give her eulogy. I don't know if he did it or not, but I think that speaks volumes about what a caring person he is.
  10. ChemoRN

    How would your unit handle this?

    This is CRAZY on so many levels!! First of all the fact that you are not their babysitter!! Tell them teenagers are available for that job - NOT RN's!! We don't allow children under 3 on my oncology unit. They don't get past the front desk, period. We have a special family room where patients who have young children can spend time with their children if they choose to take the risk. This room is before you actually enter the unit and is not on our airflow system. Under no circumstances are other immunocompromised patients put at risk without their knowledge. Our docs are pretty laid back but I can only imagine the h*ll raising that would have happened in our medical directors office. And you mean to tell me the ambulance drivers didn't know their was a baby under there?!?!?! Geez, come on!! Besides all that (which is plenty)... A community acquired pneumonia next door to a stem cell patient? Holy cow if I were that SCT patient We also have to take "off service" patients at times. I know, I know, empty beds don't generate money. However we are able to limit the types of patients we get to minimize risk to our patients. thanks, I used to think my adminsitration just didn't get it when it came to oncology and stem cell patients. Boy, I have no problems compared to what you are dealing with. Your docs need to start squealing!!!
  11. ChemoRN

    New call lights

    Agree with all of the above responses!! Also, the locator may tell where you are, but it can't tell what you are doing. Say a newer nurse has a clinical question and needs support. The two of you are in the staff lounge for longer than your allotted 15 minutes - managements interpretation could be that you are loafing when in fact you are engaging in staff education and support. One thing I know is that anything you do is subject to misinterpretation!!! Somewhere I heard that these things are linked to an increased cancer risk in nurses. Something about low level radiation... Probably as valid as the cell phone claims. May be something you want to look into.
  12. ChemoRN

    A little advice , please

    That sounds like the type program I did. It was a weekends only program. Only covered the nursing stuff, though. I had to get my pre-req's before I started. Took me 2 years to get my degree. Really worked into my life at the time, but was pretty stressful. I worked a full time office job and had a family through the first year. I remember day dreaming about Thanksgiving break because I knew that would be my first chance to get more than 4-5 hours sleep in a night. And that was in August :roll
  13. ChemoRN

    the runaround

    Gloves Gloves Gloves!!! I worked through both of my pregnancies and was VERY lucky to have awesome support. I did not have to deal with isolation patients or handle chemo or anything, AND I did not catch any slack about it, if you know what I mean. My OB didn't have as much of a problem with me working isolation (we don't have any respiratory isolation, only contact) as he did with CMV. The thing to remember is that some of the antibiotics you hang (and invariably other stuff) can potentially be as dangerous as chemo or infectious diseases. Wear your gloves no matter what you're doing. Congratulations on your pregnancy. Enjoy it!!
  14. ChemoRN

    Pregnant and working as RN

    Congratulations!! First babies are so exciting! I worked my full nine months (Or 8 1/2 as the case may be ) IMHO - you're already through the hard part. Nothing like working in your first trimester when the meal trays come around. Make way for the puking pregnant chick!! I puked in trash cans, in bathrooms, heck... I even puked in a patient's room once. (He threw up first!! ) Work as long as you are comfortable working. If you have a limited amount of time off for FMLA or whatever, I would suggest keeping as much of it available for after the baby is born. Sometimes that's not possible, but it's nice if you can. They are only that small once. Enjoy it! The most important thing is not to set your expectations too high. Each pregnancy is different and you can't compare yourself with anyone. You may have a different experience next time.
  15. ChemoRN

    Am I the only one???

    Ya think chemo could fix that? :eek:
  16. ChemoRN

    Please, I need your expert advice!

    Moni - I was in your situation a few years back. I chose to go to the "tech" position. Never regretted it a minute!! I don't remember actually studying at work, but I learned things I could apply in my classes. It really gave me a heads up when I started doing actual nursing. The cut in pay hurt, but we made it through. Our credit cards didn't get paid off until after I graduated, but they were the first thing to go. A lot of hospitals are really jipping orientation periods for new nurses. As a new grad, it's really hard to grasp everything you need to know in orientation. (You will learn how little nursing school has prepared you for real world) I consider my year as a tech as nursing orientation - I learned the ins and outs of my area. I also learned who I could go for for advice and who would give me wrong answers!! This is only a benefit if you plan to work as an RN in the same area. Good luck!