If you're in the process of undergoing treatment for cancer, and your doctor has recommended leukapheresis, make sure you're ready for your appointment. Each appointment will last several hours, and your doctor will order at least three separate sessions for the leukapheresis. Here are four steps to make sure you're prepared for your leukapheresis appointments.
Prepare for the Procedure
If your doctor has ordered leukapheresis, you'll need to prepare your body and your veins for the procedure. If your veins aren't strong enough to withstand the procedure, your doctor will work to strengthen them in the weeks prior to your first appointment. Once your veins are ready for the procedure, your appointment will be scheduled. You'll also need to drink plenty of fluids in the days leading up to your procedure.
Proper hydration is essential for healthy veins. It's best to avoid any type of caffeinated beverages as caffeine can cause dehydration. On the day of your appointment, eat a big meal. You'll be at the hospital for several hours, so you want to have a full stomach.
Pack Something to Keep You Entertained
As stated earlier, your procedure will last from three to five hours. During that time, you won't be able to move around at all. To prevent boredom, be sure to pack something to keep you entertained – preferably something that doesn't require you to bed your arms. A portable DVD player or other portable electronic devices that will allow you to listen to music or watch a movie is best.
Bring a Treatment Buddy Along
During your procedure, you'll need to remain in bed, which means you won't be able to get up to use the bathroom. Because of that, it's best to bring a treatment buddy with you. Your treatment buddy can help you use the urinal or bedpan. They can also help you with your electronic devices. Your buddy will also come in handy when you need snacks or beverages.
Know how to Handle the Side Effects
If you're scheduled for leukapheresis, it's important that you know the side effects that you might encounter. Some of the side effects may be mild. For instance, you may feel a slight tingling in your skin, or you may develop the chills. To eliminate the tingling sensation, bring along some calcium-rich snacks. If you develop the chills, ask for an additional blanket, or bring one with you from home.
For more information on leukopaks, contact your local medical professionals today.