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Port?

knarrly's picture
knarrly
Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 2008

I am such a horrible source of good veins that they decided to put a port in. This will happen before my next chemo in three weeks. Anyone have a port? Anything I should know about this?

Dreamdove's picture
Dreamdove
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

I had a port. They put me to sleep and there it was. When I woke up I had pain in that area so they gave me medication. The pain was just temporary. It was fine. No problems with the port though it felt weird at first embedded in my chest like that. But everytime I had a chemo session they had to poke it to get the line in. Usually the same nurse did that and she was an expert at finding the correct spot. But one time they were short on help and someone from another floor came down to help out. She made 2 very painful attempts and then I told her they'd have to get someone else to do it! So they brought someone else who showed her how. But I don't think it sank in. In any case, after that I always made sure they had someone who knew what they were doing. I only tell you this so you are aware so that doesn't happen to you. I also think you can request some numbing stuff to put on before they put the line in. But as long as I got the same nurse, I didn't worry about that. When the port was taken out, my doctor did it right in the office without putting me to sleep. The area was numbed completely and I had no problems, no pain at all. Hope it goes well for you.

knarrly's picture
knarrly
Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 2008

Is the chest the normal spot, or do they put them other places as well? They told me that I would be awake during the port installation.

MJ
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2008

How many sessions did you have, please?

I really don't want to have a Port inserted but I am worried since they cannot find a vein easily, they might force me to have one. In fact, eventually they will have to find a vein...each time.

BonnieR's picture
BonnieR
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

I didn't have a port through my whole first regimen and boy do I still remember all the vein sticks. I have had my port now for over 5 years and it is great. You will be sore when it is first put in for a week or so(or I was)but after that a piece of cake. :-) Teal Hugs Bonnie

MJ
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2008

Since I have 5 more sessions (every 21 days), do you think I can go without a port? Or my vein will explode? (some humor).

MJ
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2008

I have been sore since almost 7 weeks now (they remove 8 stuffs from me - due to a massive growth on my right ovary ) and that Port is going to make me suffer more. What do you think?

Thks

MJ
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2008

Port is another stress on my mind these days: I had my first chemo yesterday for 6 hours. They could not find a vein for 1/2 hr and after that they found a " small" vein since I an skinny. It lasted from 10 am to 4 pm.

The 3 nurses keep advising me to have a port for it will be easier and it is hooked near a big vein near the chest. I have a feeling that carrying and additional stuff on my body is going to make me depressed--i will have to check at all times if the port is going to cause infection. Today I went to have an injection of Neulesta (to help the body to make WBC until my next chemo on December 8th) and my arm was swollen a little bit.

Do they put you to sleep to insert the port? I had colonoscopy last year twice; one full hysterectomy in October and I am so scared of going back into even a minor sleeping time...

Thks

MJ
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2008

Is Port an option? or they will force you to have one if they cannot find your vein?

Dreamdove's picture
Dreamdove
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2008

I was told it was ALOT better to have a port installed. My mother did not have one and she said she wished she had because she had terrible bruising. I had no problem with my port. I had chemo every 3 weeks for 6 months. They installed it on my upper right chest. I'm a thin person (plus I was 10 lbs. lighter from the surgery) so they put it lower where they could find more flesh. Mine was taken out last year (about 6 months after chemo ended) and I am fine. I just have a scar there. The removal of my uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, lympe nodes, etc. was more major for me than the installation of my port. After what I had been thru, I could handle that. But I can understand how it must be difficult to have to face yet another procedure.

BonnieR's picture
BonnieR
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi MJ, I know people that get them for only 5-6 chemos and they have them removed like dreamdove did. I wish I would have had one right away because chemo just makes it harder and harder to find a vein.

BUT I totally understand not wanting one more procedure done so if you can handle the searching for a vein and that is easier to you than the thought of a port, that is what you need to do. We each are different and each of us need to do what we need to do. Hopefully if you go without a port you will get some great people who are good at finding veins.

Hugs N Prayers Bonnie

knarrly's picture
knarrly
Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 2008

I didn't have much input. My veins are really bad. Plus, considering I have weekly bloodwork...

saundra's picture
saundra
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mar 2007

I so love my port, having used it 20 times in the last 22 months. Having the port installed was not as hard as someone searching for a vein with a big needle, not as painful or anxiety producing. I use mine only to receive chemo. For blood tests they use my arms and I have small veins that are hard to find. I think chemo is hard on the veins and this option is much easier. Mine is about 2-3 inches below my collar bone and was sore a couple of days. For the first few chemos I did have the numbing aerosol sprayed on it before the needle stick. It kind of freezes the skin and burns for one minute. I finally got brave enough to have the stick without it and found that didn't hurt as much as the spray. By the way, the small incision was glued together, no stitches and this tiny proceedure in no way compares to the major surgery we have all had called "debulking". ((Hugs))) Saundra

ColleenN's picture
ColleenN
Posts: 73
Joined: Aug 2008

I went through 4 sessions with an IV before being talked into a PICC line for the last two. A PICC is a little different than a port. With a PICC you end up with tubing taped to your arm and a semi open vein under a dressing. Once it's in, there are no needle sticks as some types allow blood to be drawn from it too. Unlike a port you have to keep it dry all the times, have the dressing changed weekly which is a hassle, and it also leaks a little if you use your arm too much. If (and I really hope not) I ever have to do this again I will go with a port right away instead of messing around with an IV or the PICC. Even the PICC is so less stressful than an IV during the treatment though. My blood pressure and pulse would always jump way up for the first few hours of chemo (as well as the night before). My first treatment with the PICC was totally different. My bp and pulse didn't jump hardly at all, and I was actually able to sleep through part of the treatment for the first time. Since there wasn't an IV in a little vein, there was no burning from the Taxol or anything else, and they didn't have to pause to give me a break. I still have sore spots on my hand from my last IV treatment 5 weeks ago. Unlike a lot of things lately though, this part is totally up to you. You're the only one who can decide what would give you less stress. Good luck!

ladyjogger31's picture
ladyjogger31
Posts: 291
Joined: Mar 2008

Hi, I also had a port put in before my first chemo. What a blessing it has been. I was put out for the surgery. It was put into my left side of my chest along with 11 stiches. The only that happened to me was the tape burned my skin.I was never allergic to tape but now I am. Good Luck!
Hugs and Prayers,
Terry

LPack's picture
LPack
Posts: 658
Joined: Oct 2008

I too had a port right from the start. Had my hysterectomy and 2 weeks later had the port put in and one week later began chemo. I had 7 treatments using the port. And once when I had to go to the Emergency Room (pain in lower back) the accessed it which I was glad as it needed flushed. They use my arms for blood work each month and sometimes 2-3 times a week. I too am thin, so I am very glad to have a doctor who put the port in. It was sore for about a week after the surgery but have not had any problems.

She said she will not take it out. Guess I may have to wait for that 5 year cancer free! It has not been a year yet, but I am getting a start on it!!

In His Grip,
Libby

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

Knarrly,

I didn't have a port, but I did ask about one. No one had suggested one before I started chemo, and I didn't really know about them, but I, too, have lousy veins.

One thing I've found is that drinking a lot of fluids before any vein puncture helps. I used to donate blood as frequently as possible, and found that drinking a lot of water the day before certainly improved the prospect of the phlebotemist finding a vein.

I think you've gotten good advice here about ports. I've seen a few now, and they seem to be a very good option.

TracieK's picture
TracieK
Posts: 45
Joined: Sep 2008

Dear knarrly,
Not only am I an ovarian cancer patient, but I am also a med-surg nurse. I had a peritoneal port. Port-a-caths are put under the skin and the tube from it goes into a big honking vein. It is a very simple procedure, and since you are thin...they are easy to access. It will look scary the first time though. The cream used to numb the area is called EMLA and I request it every time I access a port. I also asked my gyne-onc for it when I had my peritoneal port and I never felt a poke. Also, with it being in a bigger vein than the hand or arm the chemo crud is less irritating to the vein and you will be able to keep those little veins in your arms. You can also have your lab work drawn off of the port if it is ok with your doc. Good luck with your treatment and I am praying for you.

Tracie

ggggsister
Posts: 38
Joined: Sep 2008

Keep in mind that this is second hand information: My sister had a port put in when she had her initial surgery to remove the tumor. It was placed right around her rib cage. Her doc told her it would help to get the chemo exactly where it was needed. She had no trouble with it. When her treatments were completed, her CA125 went up to 75 from about 27, and the doc thought it might be due to infection with the port. It was removed and her numbers dropped to 19 within a day! And now they're at 12, and the doc said she's in remission!

Go with an open mind. You and everyone are all in my thoughts.

Gail

Vivian
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2008

I had a IP port put in about three weeks after my hysterectomy. I've had one IP treatment so far. The port insertion took about two hours. I was awake for the procedure with local anesthesia. It was a little sore afterwards but it was fine by the time I went for the first treatment.

lindachris's picture
lindachris
Posts: 175
Joined: Aug 2007

My wife has a port in her left arm. It is still in there 8 months after chemo ended. We worked through a recurrence last winter and the unspoken truth is you can never tell. So we quietly accept its presence and I try not to squeeze it when I hug her.

It saves you a lot of stress in an already stressful process.

Chris

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