In my case, the chemotherapy of choice was something called Taxotere, to be given by infusion every two weeks.
But first, you must sign a consent form to document that you understand the treatment and its risks and to grant your permission to begin.
Second, you need to establish a baseline of images, blood work, and other health measures in order to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and to monitor you for serious side effects.
Third, you must have a “port”–also called a portacath–installed in your chest. This device (*) facilitates frequent and long-term intravenous infusions while eliminating issues such as damage to the peripheral veins (as if doing a blood draw).
(*) This device consists of a subcutaneous silicone septum (capable of accepting thousands of needle sticks) which is connected by a flexible catheter directly into your superior vena cava.
Message to all patients about to have this procedure: It sounds a lot scarier than it really is. It is installed on an outpatient basis with twilight sedation, local anesthesia, real-time radiography, and no sutures required. The only discomfort is the quick prick that comes with getting your IV started. After that, the entire procedure is absolutely painless–just a few seconds of pressure when the doctor instructs you to squeeze. And once your incisions heal up in a week or so, you’ll hardly know it’s there. Promise.