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Someone explain this pump thing I am going to have to have

Posts: 41
Joined: Feb 2012

I went to the doc today and I have to wear a pump, someone please tell me how to handle this, and if there are problems I might run into , scared.
The pump will be put on after I have a round of chemo.just need a friend to talk to me about it. Thanks !

RoseC's picture
Posts: 556
Joined: Jun 2011

It's not as bad as it sounds. What happens is that you'll go for out-patient surgery and they'll put what they call a 'port' under the skin in the fleshy area under your collar-bone. The surgery doesn't hurt - the area might be a little sore and feel weird, but it doesn't hurt.

On the two weeks that you'll have chemo, they give you a fanny-pack to wear. The fanny-pack will contain a small pump and the chemo medicine. A very small diameter tube will connect the fanny-pack-pump to the port in your chest. That's how the chemo is delivered to your body.

You'll wear the fanny-pack for 4-5 days. It's weird and a little cumbersome, but it doesn't hurt. Taking a shower is the biggest problem, and you can either do sponge baths, or if you're brave, leave the fanny-pack-port-thing outside the shower. We can help you with hints on how to do things more easily. After the first week of chemo, the tube-thing will be disconnected and you'll be free of the pump till the second round of chemo.

It's scary but we've all been through it and will be glad to answer any questions you have.

Posts: 41
Joined: Feb 2012

Thanks I know I will have a million questions and for some reason talking to others that have done gone through this is much more comforting than talking to a doctor.

mp327's picture
Posts: 3543
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Tybtym--

I don't have much to add to the above comment, as that's pretty much it as regards the pump. It's really not a big deal. Mine fit in a little bag with a strap so I could wear it around my waist. The tubing from the pump to the port went under my shirt and wasn't visible when I was out and about. It's a little cumbersome when going to the bathroom and I found that sink baths were the easiest way to bathe for the few days I had to wear the pump. The port placement is an easy procedure and done all the time, so don't worry about that. You'll do fine through this--we're all here to reassure you, so ask any further questions you might have.

Dog Girl
Posts: 100
Joined: Sep 2010

If you are like most of us, you will get one infusion of one type of chemo (myomyticin?) spelling is problably wrong - which will take a few hours (3 or so hours from arrival to departure) via your port and then the 5FU chemo will be hooked up as the others have described. (I had to go to the hospital chemo lab for the M, I believe because of shortages (this was back in 2009), and then I went to my Oncologist office for the 5FU and pump.)

I used a backpack type of purse for my pump as it wouldn't fit in a fanny pack and as Martha said you can run the tubing up under your clothing and it is not very noticable at all. I worked that first entire week with it and besides forgetting to pick up my purse a couple of times when I was getting up from sitting and getting a little bit of a jerk on the tubing I did OK.

I was also OK to shower. I put a stool just outside of my shower stall to sit the pump/purse on and my tubing was long enough for me to shower. I kept my back to the shower for the most part and used the hand held shower nozzle to rinse off. (If you don't have a hand held shower, get one. It will come in handy later.) I don't exactly remember, but I think I also
tape part of a ziploc bag over my port too to keep it dry while I showered.

They will probably push steroids and anti nausea meds before the chemo and I only felt a little queasy, but make sure you have your anti-nausea prescription filled beforehand in case you need them. Take them as soon as you start feeling the symptoms of nausea.

Everybody here on this board will be glad to help you and give you tips and advice from our experiences. It is an intense, but short treatment period and you'll be through in time for a great Spring. Good luck.

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