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Port Surgery...thoughts?

canoegirl's picture
canoegirl
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

I was scheduled to have my port inserted next Monday morning with my first chemo that same afternoon. The chemo has been rescheduled to Tuesday afternoon. Any thoughts on the port surgery? If I change it to Tuesday, both my husband and I can work on Monday. Both the chemo and surgery are an hour plus from our jobs and home, so going up twice blows most of the day. How difficult is the surgery? Are you asleep during it? What is the recovery time? If I get the port on Monday could my husband still go to work in the afternoon, or do I need somebody with me? Is it totally insane to think of doing both the same day? This all seems to be happening so fast....I just met the oncologist on Monday and I'm going out of town tonight till Friday (in the oncoming snowstorm) so everything is condensed into yesterday, today and Monday. Starting to think I could use some drugs for my nerves!

Marcy

tgf's picture
tgf
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 2009

The port surgery is not a big deal ... at least it wasn't for me. They put me totally "out" ... but when I woke up there were just a couple of small bandages where the incisions were. One in my left clavical (sp?) ... upper chest area ...where the actual port part is that that they plug the infusion into ... then there was a very small incision in my neck where I guess the whole thing hooks onto the jugular (sp?)vein. No recovery time really necessary even though I had my port installed a week before my first chemo ... the surgeon said that they can do chemo the same day as the port "installation."

You'll do just fine ... and you will be sooooooooooooooooo glad you have the port. I think the person who invented that thing is a genius and it's the best thing since sliced bread. In fact ... it's better than sliced bread!

hugs.
teena

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

The port surgery is a breeze. I was out. I didn't have any incision in my neck but there are a couple of different ways of doing it. You mite want to check with your surgeon about having both the port and the chemo on the same day. You know there is recovery time from the anesthesia and your first chemo takes longer too. Sometimes you have to take the time off to get these things done...and this is a bigger deal than getting a filling. If you get IV sedation you will be there til you are fully awake and then wehn you go home you will probably feel like sleeping. My port area was a little tender for a few days. Be sure the surgeon gives you a Rx for Emla, which is a lidocaine cream that you put on your port and hour or so before they access it for the chemo and the poke doesn't hurt. Personally I would not want to get chemo the same day it was put in.

I love my port and even tho my chemo is finished I still have it. I plan on keeping it for as long as possible. It's used for blood tests, IV's, whatever and I have no veins.

Good luck Monday, you will be fine. Let us know how it goes for you.

Hugs, Judy :-)

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

Definitely get something for your nerves. I took Ativan from the day I found the lump until my last chemo. It was a blessing. It helps you think rationally and calms you in the face of all of the things that happen to us wtih this bc that we have no control over. It allowed me to sleep at nite too.

You'll do fine, it's all doable, but really scary just to think about it. Keep us posted.

Hugs again, Judy :-)

Rague
Posts: 3310
Joined: Aug 2009

I had my port put in one morning and started chemo the next afternoon. Could I have done the chemo that afternoon - yes but I think that a day between is probably better.

I was completely knocked out in the hospital for the port implant. There is one incision that is about 1" long. Dr. gave me some real 'happy' pain pills (I didn't ask for them) and Hubby insisted that I take them at noon that day, so to humor him I took 1 (not the 2 that I could have had and he tried to get me to take) but Tylenol would have worked. Then 4 hrs later he tried to get me to take 2 but put him off til it had been 6 hrs and then took 1. He woke me up at midnight to take another 1 but I firmly refused as didn't need it. I did take 1 the next day about an hour before the first Chemo as I didn't know what to expect and thought it was better to have already taken 1 just in case but didn't need it at all.

I rode one of our horses the day after implant - it was our mellowest horse so basically had nothing to worry about but ride him I did. Hubby and Son took over stall cleaning chores for 2 weeks for me but honestly if I'd had to I could have done it the 3rd or 4th day with no problems at all with being careful but I took the whole 2 weeks off.

I finish my 2nd 'bunch' of chemos on Jan 28. We are not discussing when my port will come out as chemo Dr wants it left in 'just in case' for at least a year and probably at lest 2 yrs. Only makes sense to me as my cancer is very aggressive and though there is nothing showing now it could in the future. So to me, my port doesn't bother me at all so why take it out only to possibly need it put back in in the future - just have to go in every 4 - 6 weeks for a flush.

Just my experiences.

Find out if your CCI uses a numbing spray or if you will need the cream some have used. My CCI uses a numbing spray that all you feel is the pressure - no pain on insertins of the needle. When the last CT scan was done, the hospital used my port to put in the dye (first time anyone other than the chemo nurses had used it) and they didn't have the spray. Definately could feel it and wasn't all that great - about like a bad blood tech trying to hit an arm vein but then I had been spoiled by the chemo nurses and their spray bottle.

Kat11's picture
Kat11
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

I was in and out twilite. Felt nothing. I had two incisions ( small ) one in upper chest and one in neck. Not a big deal at all for me. You can not drive that day so you will need someone with you. As for recovery, there really is not to much to recover from. I was wind awake the soon as it was over. Good luck

Mama G
Posts: 764
Joined: Nov 2009

I'm thinking I would rather have waited a day after my port "surgery". I was feeling fine, but was not up to my first chemo the same day! I had the weekend to get ready and was definitely in a better frame of mind by then. Good luck! and God bless.

susie09's picture
susie09
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

Hey Marci! I didn't have chemo, so, I can't answer your questions, but, it looks like several here have helped you out. Just wishing you good luck!

♠♣ Susie ♠♣

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

Good luck to you!

Hugs, Debby

ms_independent's picture
ms_independent
Posts: 216
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Marcy,

I was a same day surgery nurse for 10 years. so, I've seen a lot of ports inserted by a lot of doctors. Here's what I've seen: regarding if you are asleep; it is a decision you and the Dr. make. It ranges from awake with lidocaine only (some take ativan before arriving), IV sedation-very light to very heavy (aware but don't care to totally unaware) and I've even seen a rare few who had general anesthesia (totally out). Personally, I would go with IV sedation: unaware during the procedure, wake easily, avoid risk/side effects of general anesthesia. It can be a long day. If everything stays on schedule you will be there a minimum of 2 hours, more likely 3 hours (at least in my experience). So, it's up to you and the Dr.s. I've seen one and 2 incision sites. Less discomfort afterwards than you would think. Some people only take a few tylenol. I would take one pain pill when you notice the lidocaine starting to wear off. If you're going to be really uncomfortable-you've got it covered. If you didn't need it-you get a nap out of it.

I would check with the Dr. He/she may not be able to do the port the next day (you may already know he can, I don't know). That could be one decision you don't have to make.

Sorry, one side of nursing I really enjoy is teaching, that means I probably gave you WAY more information than you could ever want. So, ignore any or all of it. I wish you a painless and uneventful procedure and 1st chemo.

Hugs, El

tat2granny's picture
tat2granny
Posts: 77
Joined: Dec 2009

I am having my port put in tomorrow morning. Doc is going to put me in light sleep. From what I have read here all the ladies have answered your questions and mine too. Good luck to you and let us know how things when for you.

canoegirl's picture
canoegirl
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

I ended up with no computer access for 3 days. Thanks for all the info. I talked to the office doing the port and I am doing it Tuesday and starting the chemo that afternoon. (My oncologist suggestion) Both offices assure me they do this "all the time" and that I have plenty of time between. I'll have 2 1/2 hours between, but I'm worried that it will turn into just an hour if I have any problems.

El, I they will be doing a twilight IV and said they will try to keep it light (I go "under" deeper than most people), but if I seem aware or uncomfortable they can increase it as needed. I talked to the nurse (seemed like a nice guy) and he took the time to explain the procedure in detail. My oncologist gave me a script for cream to put on the area before chemo.

It's been a busy couple of days getting everything organized and squeezing in a trip to Conn. with the snow storm in the east. Thankfully everybody else stayed off the roads today and driving wasn't bad!

Thanks for being here everybody!
Hugs,
Marcy

jamiegww's picture
jamiegww
Posts: 384
Joined: Dec 2009

The surgeon was able to leave the needle in the port because I was going for chemo after the surgery. Maybe your surgeon can do that also?

WJGardner_Dec2009
Posts: 50
Joined: Feb 2010

I had my PORT inserted almost 4 weeks prior to my first chemo treatment. The PORT is the way to go, it makes the infusion so much easier. I was well healed and I had no pain. I was put under and it took about an hour with about another hour or so in recovery. There was prep time before also. My procedure took about 4 hours with everything. You will need someone to drive you home. I have not heard of doing both the same day. I did talk to someone who had chemo three days after her PORT was inserted and she stated it was a little painful, sore. They do have something that can calm the nerves, if you are that worried. My surgery wenet well. I hope this helped.

Wanda

Chrispea's picture
Chrispea
Posts: 123
Joined: Oct 2009

I refused to have a port put in.

I have had 7 chemo's, and my last chemo is on Mar. 3... and have no regrets not having a port.

I don't mind being stabbed with a needle, tho. But, in my head, I'd rather have that than a scar because I figured I was going to be scarred up enough. Plus, my mom had a port and had to have it moved, and that freaked me out a bit.

Another thing, since I'm an hour away from the oncologist, I have to get my white cell count 1-2 days before chemo, and they fax in the results. If anything is wrong, I don't have to drive that hour to chemo. If you have a port, they do the testing right before you get chemo. If your white cells aren't right, then you'd have to go home.

Of course, my white cells were always OK.

I don't have to have any additional chemo after my 8 rounds. I know my friend had to have something after the AC/Tax, so it was good that she had a port put in.

canoegirl's picture
canoegirl
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

I don't think no port is an option for me. I don't mind being stabbed, but it always takes 2-3 nurses several atempts to get a needle in my vein and that was when my better arm was an option. My left arm has terrible veins. I was even told several years ago to not bother trying to give blood anymore! This has been a problem my whole life, low blood pressure and thin veins that collaspe easily. I'll be using the port for a year for herceptin, so hopefully it isn't uncomfortably once it's in and healed.

Anyway....I'll be having a "fun" day on Tuesday. Port at 9 AM, chemo at 1:20 in a different town and probably having a heavy period that day if my cylce is still the same. (by heavy, I mean soaking thru a super+ tampon and overnight pad every 1-2 hours) They have assured me that I can get up and use the bathroom. I might as well be super miserable on one day and get it over with! LOL

Thanks for ALL the imput, everybody! At this point I'm just trying to "go with the flow"...my oncologist wants to get me started on chemo ASAP

shortscake's picture
shortscake
Posts: 228
Joined: Nov 2009

I love my port i would not be able to do chemo with out it, the day that i went in to the hospital to have it put in the stick me 10times to get an iv in and was thinking of going in my neck i was crying so hard they had to give me a shot they got the iv going and i was like please god let this work, my doctor was like this is why i want you to have a port i love it, when going in for chemo i dont use any cream or spray i just take a deep breath and thats it, i have all my blood draws and have been given blood though it to me its the best thing i have every had done. its funny every day i look at it to make sure its alright dont want anything to go wrong with it. i have very bad vains. you will do just find with having the port put in and having chemo...please come back and let us know how things went for you...girl power

Flakey_Flake's picture
Flakey_Flake
Posts: 130
Joined: Jan 2010

I agree with Shortscake - I love my port. My boyfriend got a PICC (acronym for parallel inline catheter something-something) which is like a semi-permanent IV stitched into his arm.) He thought he was getting off easy with that. But not so. piccs need to be flushed weekly. (a port can go 3-4 weeks.) He also has tubes sticking out of his arm that need to be taped down so they don't get caught on anything. I think knowing what he now knows, he would have gone for the port. It took me a bit to get used to. It feels like someone taped a quarter to my chest. I wish they would come up with a permanent port so I never had to have a vein poked at for the rest of my life. I use the creme, just because I am a wimp. The less pain I have to go through the better, and I take anything they will throw my way that means less pain. Not that I have ever had a serious problem getting a vein poked at (except for what they call rolling veins, just a little more challenge for the tech.) It is just that the port is much faster and more convenient. Of course when asked if I wanted a port, I would have said "sure, and some chardonay if you got it." When the chemo nurse removes the needle from my port after chemo, I always tell her "yea, I suppose you're going to deport me now. But I have a green card. Honest, I do." I hope you enjoy your port as much as I do.

Willijean's picture
Willijean
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2010

I had the Pas Port put into my arm and it was easy and I was able to start chemo two days later and with the lidocaine didn't feel a thing. It's easy get put in and didn't even need pain pills like with my lumpectomies. My first chemo was without a port so I definitely can recommend the port. It makes it so much easier.

I thinks it's doable in one day because the cream numbs it and you don't feel the needle go in just a little pressure. I think the arm is better than the chest but then I'm right handed and the port's in my left arm. My surgeon thought it'd be easier caring for my granddaughter who is 1 to have it in the arm rather than chest. You get to choose.

The more you know the easier it'll go. Praying it'll all go well for you.

Willijean

canoegirl's picture
canoegirl
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

I didn't know they would consider putting it in the arm. My father-in-law had a "stint" in his arm that worked just like the port for dialysis.

I've got the cream, but the doctor told me the nurse would tell me how to use it and with all the hassel of getting my blood work (had to get the vampire specialist to get blood out of me) they forgot. Do I just put it on the port area and rub it in like hand cream? Or do I put a "glop" of the stuff on? Cover it with a bandaid? Leave it uncovered? The tech at the pharmacy told me to put it on at least an hour before hand. Maybe I should go read the package, haven't done that yet. Any advice?

Marcy

Flakey_Flake's picture
Flakey_Flake
Posts: 130
Joined: Jan 2010

I use the cream. The directions say to put it only 1 hr before, but I get better results applying it at least 2 hrs before. When my nurse gave me directions, she said to put it on as thick as you might put frosting on a cake. You don't rub it in. Just put a thick blob over your port area. I cover it with a piece of plastic food wrap. It sticks to the cream, and keeps it off your clothes. A bandaid might work if you had one of the large square ones, but why buy something you don't really need? I don't think you would want to leave it uncovered just because it would be a real pain to keep it off your clothes and on your skin. Only once did I have my blob move. I am blaming my bra strap for that. Good Luck Marcy. Once you go through it a couple times it will become routine. Hang in there!

Sharon

ms_independent's picture
ms_independent
Posts: 216
Joined: Nov 2009

You want to cover the cream with plastic wrap or tegaderm (sticky plastic). something about it not allowing air flow is important in getting the cream to work it's best. You can get tegaderm at the drug store (i'm sure there's a generic) if you're afraid the plastic wrap will move around too much.

Sorry, I'm on my nurse soap box again. I haven't worked for over a year (several reasons including bc) and I so badly need to be a nurse again! Hope it helps!

Hugs, El

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

Just wishing you good luck Marci!

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

I had my port implanted and chemo that same afternoon. The surgery was not bad. I had twilight anesthesia and was out except for the very beginning and end of the procedure. I was in recovery for an hour or two. They have to do a chest xray after to make sure that a lung was not punctured.

Chemo was not too bad during, but I did get ill afterwards, though. I would have your husband or someone else with you though, because you will be quite tired by the time you are ready to go home. Good luck.

arkansasgirl's picture
arkansasgirl
Posts: 84
Joined: May 2009

Hi

I had my port put in on Monday and chemo on Friday. I was in operating room and recovery
about half day. I was knocked completely out. But here is what I didn't understand -
I have taken 6 treaments of chemo every 3 weeks and not 1 time did anyone say we have
a cream or spray you could use to help deal with the pain when they put the needle in
for chemo. I sat in a chair and the nurse says take a deep breath and let it out and
when you are letting it out they stick you and for me it hurt like ????. Once it's in
it was ok. May sure you have some lifesavers or hard candy in your mouth because when
they flush it you get a funny taste in your mouth. I have a very rare BC that chemo and
radiation has no effect but I can tell you I'm CANCER FREE right now. AS for how long the
port will stay in, my onc said at least a year. My surgeon said when she takes it out, it
will be done in the office which really freaks me out. I can't imagine that!!!
Our prayers will be with you. So stay strong!!
The cancer won the 1st battle and I won the 2nd but the war is not over for I will not
give up.

Arkansasgirl

arkansasgirl's picture
arkansasgirl
Posts: 84
Joined: May 2009

Hi

I had my port put in on Monday and chemo on Friday. I was in operating room and recovery
about half day. I was knocked completely out. But here is what I didn't understand -
I have taken 6 treaments of chemo every 3 weeks and not 1 time did anyone say we have
a cream or spray you could use to help deal with the pain when they put the needle in
for chemo. I sat in a chair and the nurse says take a deep breath and let it out and
when you are letting it out they stick you and for me it hurt like ????. Once it's in
it was ok. May sure you have some lifesavers or hard candy in your mouth because when
they flush it you get a funny taste in your mouth. I have a very rare BC that chemo and
radiation has no effect but I can tell you I'm CANCER FREE right now. AS for how long the
port will stay in, my onc said at least a year. My surgeon said when she takes it out, it
will be done in the office which really freaks me out. I can't imagine that!!!
Our prayers will be with you. So stay strong!!
The cancer won the 1st battle and I won the 2nd but the war is not over for I will not
give up.

Arkansasgirl

dash4
Posts: 304
Joined: Dec 2005

Your faith and your strength is impressive and encouraging...thank you for sharing.
Mary Kay

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Good luck tomorrow, Marcy! Just put on that Emla cream in a thick layer about an hour or so before your chemo session starts. You'll do fine. Let us know how it all went.

Mimi

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

Wishing you good luck tomorrow too! Keep us updated!

Mama G
Posts: 764
Joined: Nov 2009

and it worked great. I do agree with the 2 hours, though. So you should put it on right after the surgery. Maybe a nurse will do it for you. Use a huge glob and make sure it surrounds the area in case they poke you in a place you didn't expect!
I agree that the port is the way to go. The day you're having yours put in, I'm at the surgeon's office finding out about taking mine out! and it seems like only 6 mos ago I was in your shoes.... oh WAIT it was 6 mos ago! hahaha I'm so happy to be saying goodbye to it! But so happy I had it! Good luck and God bless.

aztec45's picture
aztec45
Posts: 757
Joined: Jul 2009

I love my port. I know that it scares some and some don't want another scar, but I think it has been the best thing for me. I don't have very good veins and now that my lymph nodes have been removed on my right side, the port works really well for me. It's your choice. They put me under and inserted it. You are quite sore afterwards but nothing major. It's nothing that requires constant supervision. And yes. Get you something to calm you down. It does help take the edge off of everything you have to deal with.

P

canoegirl's picture
canoegirl
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

Thanks for the support everybody! I'm off first thing tomorrow morning for the port and then on to the chemo. Guess I should go pack a bag with all my meds, the cream and some snacks, etc.

I'll let you know how it goes.
Hugs,
Marcy

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