CSN Login
Members Online: 13

PREP FOR PORT?

mopar
Posts: 1950
Joined: May 2003

My Mom, Stage IV colon cancer, will be getting a port in soon. Can anyone give us a heads up on this? - pain involved, management of port, chemo treatments (easier, etc.?). I have read a little about it but would love first hand info. What can I do to make it easier for Mom? I had my chemo through IV, so I'm not too familiar with this other than what a friend told me and what I read. Blessings for your help!
Monika

jsabol's picture
jsabol
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Monika,
I had a Bard Port inserted after my first 2, 6 week courses of chemo as my veins got really inflamed from the chemo. The insertion was a pretty minor proceedure...I had Versad for it, so I don't remember a thing. My port is under my collarbone on the left side. They make a small (1 and a half inches) incision, and put it right under the skin. It healed up pretty quickly for me, despite getting chemo 2 days later. It was sore for a bit, but nothing major, and I felt pretty aware of it at first. Now I hardly know its there.
I thought it was a gift to not have them go into my swollen , red veins. Worked like a charm. I did develop a small clot in my neck. It is a risk of having a port, but I know many people at my onc's office who never had a problem. My port continued to work despite the blood clot.
Hope it all goes well for your mom, prayers your way, Judy

KrisS
Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

Monika- I have had my port since 5/02 since shortly before I was diagnosed with Stage 4 disease. I love it. Although they do have to put a needle through your skin into it, they do not have to fish around to find the vein and thread an IV catheter in so it it much less uncomfortable. Some chemotherapy drugs such as oxaliplatin can be irritating to the smaller veins in the arm where the drug is not quickly mixed in the blood. Receiving oxaliplatin through my port is painless. They collect my pre treatment bloods through it also. They do have to put in a regular IV catheterto give contrast for CT scans as well as for surgeries since ports are not meant to tolerate very rapid infusions of fluid that may be required for these procedures.

Ports are flushed with saline after each use and then with heprin, a material to help prevent blood from clotting in them. If they are not used for a while they must be flushed to replace the heprin. In my case, that is once a month.

Although many people get sedation to get them put in, I was not nervous about it, so the radiologist put it in with just a local. They find a vein with ultrasound, thread in a catheter and then make a small incision and hook the catheter to the little reservoir port lumen that sits under your skin. The whole procedure I swear took only 20 minutes. I drove myself to work an hour or two later. They wrote me a prescription for Versed because they said otherwise I would have trouble sleeping. I took one. It felt like someone punched me in the arm for a few days. I have a 1 inch scar just below my clavicle with a little round disk that bulges a bit up under the skin.

One thing that can be a problem is if the port becomes infected. Oncology nurses are well trained in the use of these ports and are very careful to clean the skin over them well before accessing them. They also use a special needle. I have come across some nurses or phlebotomists who have not been trained to use them. If they are clearly uncomfortable using them I don't want them to and will either volunteer that they stick another vein or find someone who does know about how to manage them.

Best wishes to your Mom for a sucessful treatment.

Kris

johnom's picture
johnom
Posts: 86
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi, Monika! I have a similar result as the other folks responding. I had a port put in under sedation. It is under my right clavicle and it has been a blessing! I have had it accessed many times for chemo and for pain meds while in the hospital, etc. It is about the size of a little tub of butter you get at a restaurant and although it occasionally is annoying and you notice it is there, 98% of the time I forget about it. The nurses who access it vary widely in their skills, but even the worst (I had one stick me 4 times before she got it flowing correctly) experience is bearable, especially if they spray some freeze on the skin and wait long enough for it to take effect. It is by far the best way to go if your mom can tolerate it. Please know we are all praying for her and you as you go through all of this. God bless!

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network