ports and stuff

tgf
tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I had my port “installed” last Friday. My chemo starts this Friday. Yep … Friday the 13th … but I specifically wanted to start this Friday because it’s not just Friday the 13th … it’s my 65 birthday. Happy Birthday to me! :-) Anyway, the port is near the collarbone … on the left side … with the tiny incision on the left side of my neck. The surgery went OK … but I am still very sore and wonder if this is normal. The neck incision is fine but the port spot is sore … along with soreness in my upper left arm. A friend told me the arm pain must be from the surgeon putting his knee on my shoulder to hold me down while he was threading that tubing through the vein in my neck … and I’m beginning to think she might be right. :-) (Actually, I had general anesthetic … so I don’t think I was putting up too much of a fight during surgery.) I just wonder if this soreness is normal.

Also … I must admit that I’m getting quite anxious about the chemo Friday (taxol and herceptin) and sitting in that chair for 3 hours having something plugged into me … dripping “stuff” into my body. The thought of it gives me the creeps. I’m trying to come up with some visualization type thing to help me through it … but most of what I’ve seen for helping through chemo is picturing pac-man type things gobbling up bad cells etc. Somehow that doesn’t work for me. Any other ideas?

Hugs

Comments

  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Hi tgf
    Welcome to the club, unfortunately. Happy 65th birthday! I will be going in for my 5th (out of 6) treatment on Friday, too, so I will think of you. Don't worry you will do fine during your first treatment. The port makes it easy to "hook you up" and they will probably give you ativan beforehand so you might even sleep through the whole thing. I didn't feel a thing during any of my treatments so far.

    Yes, my port was a bit sore, too. I think it is the placement of it near so many muscles. It is mainly better now, although it sometimes tingles right after access. Do you have Emla cream? You put it on the skin covering the port about an hour before your treatment and you won't feel the prick of the needle even. It was a god-send for me.

    As for visulization. Have you thought about getting a CD that is specifically for chemotherapy? I have one that has you visualizing a peaceful place and the cancer evaporating in the sun. Hookey, but it works and is very soothing. Good luck! You will be OK.

    Mimi
  • creampuff91344
    creampuff91344 Member Posts: 988
    mimivac said:

    Hi tgf
    Welcome to the club, unfortunately. Happy 65th birthday! I will be going in for my 5th (out of 6) treatment on Friday, too, so I will think of you. Don't worry you will do fine during your first treatment. The port makes it easy to "hook you up" and they will probably give you ativan beforehand so you might even sleep through the whole thing. I didn't feel a thing during any of my treatments so far.

    Yes, my port was a bit sore, too. I think it is the placement of it near so many muscles. It is mainly better now, although it sometimes tingles right after access. Do you have Emla cream? You put it on the skin covering the port about an hour before your treatment and you won't feel the prick of the needle even. It was a god-send for me.

    As for visulization. Have you thought about getting a CD that is specifically for chemotherapy? I have one that has you visualizing a peaceful place and the cancer evaporating in the sun. Hookey, but it works and is very soothing. Good luck! You will be OK.

    Mimi

    Sorry you had to join us
    Sorry you had to join us here, but welcome, and hopefully this board will be a great source of comfort and information. Happy 65th birthday, especially on the 13th....mine is also the 13th (I was born on Friday the 13th, at 13:13 in the afternoon...my Dad was thrilled). Sorry you had to join us, but know you will be the recipient of great information, and lots of hugs.

    My port was sore for about a week after insertion, and I think this is due to the placement in the muscle area. It will get better as time goes on, but you will be very glad you have it before this is over. The port saves veins, and is a lot easier to access, so congratulations on making this decision.

    I used books on tape to get through the chemo treatments. I could actually get through a book in two sessions, so caught up on some of my reading. The nurses thought I was laughing at them while I was listening, not realizing I had a book going. It was fun. It certainly took my mind off of what was going on, and gave me a sense of accomplishment. One of the other patients brought in her crochet work and shared all of her pot holders, socks, etc with those of us going through this with her. Anything you can do to pass the time, and distract is a good thing as far as I am concerned. Good luck in your infusion on Friday. I will have you in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs.

    Judy
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    mimivac said:

    Hi tgf
    Welcome to the club, unfortunately. Happy 65th birthday! I will be going in for my 5th (out of 6) treatment on Friday, too, so I will think of you. Don't worry you will do fine during your first treatment. The port makes it easy to "hook you up" and they will probably give you ativan beforehand so you might even sleep through the whole thing. I didn't feel a thing during any of my treatments so far.

    Yes, my port was a bit sore, too. I think it is the placement of it near so many muscles. It is mainly better now, although it sometimes tingles right after access. Do you have Emla cream? You put it on the skin covering the port about an hour before your treatment and you won't feel the prick of the needle even. It was a god-send for me.

    As for visulization. Have you thought about getting a CD that is specifically for chemotherapy? I have one that has you visualizing a peaceful place and the cancer evaporating in the sun. Hookey, but it works and is very soothing. Good luck! You will be OK.

    Mimi

    CD
    Hi Mimi ...

    Thank you for the words of encouragement ...

    What's the title of the CD and where to I get some of the Emla cream???

    Teena
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    tgf said:

    CD
    Hi Mimi ...

    Thank you for the words of encouragement ...

    What's the title of the CD and where to I get some of the Emla cream???

    Teena

    CD and cream
    Teena,

    I can't remember the name of the CD now, but I will check and write you when I get home. As for the Emla cream, just call your oncologist and have her write you a prescription. If you do it soon, you can probably get some for Friday. You also need large bandages to cover the spot after you've put the cream on. I got some for free from my clinic, but any large bandage will probably do. Good luck.

    Mimi
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    You can visualize anything
    You can visualize anything that relaxes you and puts you in a happy place. I'd think of sitting in an adirondack chair gazing up at the clear blue sky. I also had music cd's that were soothing. The one I liked the best was Piano Rain. I couldn't get into the cancer being eaten visuals. You have to find what works for you. Lots of times I'd use the music to make me feel better when I was sick after chemo. You could take a book and read during chemo.
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    Getting thru Chemo
    I took a soft cuddly "blankie" with me, and snuggled in! My then 17 year old neice went to EVERY infusion with me, bless her heart, and we did "Mad-Libs" for hours on end! They were such a diversion and their utter silliness and unexpected answers made us laugh till we cried, sometimes! She still remembers, 6 years later, that one of the sentences actually ended up saying: "The Policemen laughed so hard , they fell out of their women"! Sheesh!
    It was, for me, anyway, WAY better than sitting perfectly still conjuring up waterfalls and massages~ but it truly doesn't matter what works for us, as long as it does!!! Oh~ if you have to go alone to the infusion~audio books and a headset might be great too!! Your favorite author no doubt has his/her works in an audio version.

    I hope you find what works for you~ and Happy Birthday and many, many, many more!!!!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    I slept
    I got Benedryl in my infusion, so I slept through a much of the 3 hours. The center I go to has several chairs in the infusion room, so I spent most of my waking time talking to anyone who felt up to chatting. It was good to find out the wide variety of treatments and reasons for them, and the many ways people react to the treatments. The time passes more quickly than you expect.

    Best wishes to you, seof
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
    Happy 65th!
    Must admit chemo is not so bad (not as bad as it's side effects) The chemo nurse told me to think of it as a relaxing day...which it has been. I take my journal and try to catch up on the last three weeks in it, They give me the remote for the TV, bring me lunch,and let me read and keep any book they have in their library. I did take home one book on surviving breast cancer. The nurses are dolls and i feel like i'm in a 5 star hotel.

    The side effects are not as severe as they were years ago when my mom had cancer..they have come along way with anti-nausea drugs. The steroids have me bouncing off the wall but it only lasts a day or 2, and ativan helps with that. The worse side effect for me has been losing my hair which will happen usually in about 3 weeks or so. When it started to fall out i had it buzzed so it wouldn't be so traumatic.

    My port was tender for about a week and now i hardly know that it is there and am very thankful for it every time i have blood drawn or treatments. My chemo nurses gave me lidacain (emlia cream) and tagaderm bandages and told me to put it on 45 min. before it was accessed.

    I am glad you came here for support, you will never regret it. You will be blessed with many answers and suggestions from all our sweet sisters in pink. You will also enjoy many laughs and fun. Let us know how it goes. My treatment (#4) is tomorrow. I will be thinking of you on the 13th along with Mimi and Moopy (i think) they usually tag me by 2 days.god bless and good luck! Jackie
  • Moopy23
    Moopy23 Member Posts: 1,751 Member
    Welcome
    Hi TGF, I also will be having a treatment (my fourth) on Friday. I did pause to consider it will be Friday the 13th, but I figure the original diagnosis takes care of my share of bad luck forever!

    My experience is the same as what you have heard: the actual infusion is not bad. Just a quiet time, really. I wasn't offered Emla cream, so I do feel a quick prick when my port is first accessed. (It is not bad, but still I am going to take our sisters' advice and check on that cream.) After the initial prick, I feel nothing. Like others, I read or chat with other patients or just sleep. My husband goes with me each time, which is reassuring. If you can, I would definitely recommend having someone go with you the first time, if not each time.

    As far as being sore from the port, I also have that. It has gotten less as time has passed, but I still have soreness off and on. Ibuprofen helps. The soreness is much better than having the chemo through your veins, which can damage them.

    One other thing: I try to think of the life-saving intent of the drugs as they are given. I say "Welcome," because they are the only things that can kill any cancer that may still be out there. Mentally accepting the drugs does seem to help me. I don't really visualize anything, but I think the chemo CD is a great idea.

    I wish you a Happy Birthday on Friday. There is nothing more important you could do on that day than accept the treatment to save your life and give you many more birthdays.

    I will be thinking of you also as Mimi and I (and Jackie tomorrow) have our infusions. Please let us know how you are doing, and don't hesitate to ask any questions. We are here for you.
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    Moopy23 said:

    Welcome
    Hi TGF, I also will be having a treatment (my fourth) on Friday. I did pause to consider it will be Friday the 13th, but I figure the original diagnosis takes care of my share of bad luck forever!

    My experience is the same as what you have heard: the actual infusion is not bad. Just a quiet time, really. I wasn't offered Emla cream, so I do feel a quick prick when my port is first accessed. (It is not bad, but still I am going to take our sisters' advice and check on that cream.) After the initial prick, I feel nothing. Like others, I read or chat with other patients or just sleep. My husband goes with me each time, which is reassuring. If you can, I would definitely recommend having someone go with you the first time, if not each time.

    As far as being sore from the port, I also have that. It has gotten less as time has passed, but I still have soreness off and on. Ibuprofen helps. The soreness is much better than having the chemo through your veins, which can damage them.

    One other thing: I try to think of the life-saving intent of the drugs as they are given. I say "Welcome," because they are the only things that can kill any cancer that may still be out there. Mentally accepting the drugs does seem to help me. I don't really visualize anything, but I think the chemo CD is a great idea.

    I wish you a Happy Birthday on Friday. There is nothing more important you could do on that day than accept the treatment to save your life and give you many more birthdays.

    I will be thinking of you also as Mimi and I (and Jackie tomorrow) have our infusions. Please let us know how you are doing, and don't hesitate to ask any questions. We are here for you.

    You are all so GREAT!
    Thank you for all of the terrific information and support.

    I wish I felt better today ... but I almost feel worse. I feel as though someone hit me between the boobs. The soreness is mainly from the front of my neck/throat down to center of my chest. Of course my left upper arm is still sore. Actually the incision looks like it's healing quite well ... but all of this soreness is very disappointing. I was hoping I'd be feeling fine when I went in for my first chemo ... but the way I feel now ... is just plain yucky. I don't feel like eating much ... which is VERY unusual for me. I'm still working full time and sure hope that all of this doesn't cause me to miss work. I've got all of my chemo treatments scheduled for late Friday afternoons ... to give me the weekends to rest up if needed. But ... I sure didn't expect this port thing to take the wind out of me. It just has to get better!

    As soon as I read Mimi's note about the Emla cream I phoned my oncologist's office and asked them to call in a prescription for me. I picked it up last night along with my anti-nausea drugs and even ran by Borders and picked up a "Healing" CD in the "New Age" section ... so I guess I'm all set for the big day on Friday. One of my "distractions" planned for my chemo treatments is ... I'm going to knit ... but I am NOT a knitter. I used to knit a thousand years ago but sort of forgot (remember ... I am going to be 65) ... so while I was at Borders I also picked up "Knitting for Dummies" and am trying to refresh my memory on which way to move the yarn etc. etc. I bought a bunch of yarn the other day ... and I have decided that since I don't know fancy stitches ...that I'm just going to knit squares. After my year of chemo I'll sew all of the squares together and have a "chemo-cover." It may not be beautiful ... but I'll have something tangible to remind me of the "adventure."

    Hugs to you all!!!
  • Derbygirl
    Derbygirl Member Posts: 198
    tgf said:

    You are all so GREAT!
    Thank you for all of the terrific information and support.

    I wish I felt better today ... but I almost feel worse. I feel as though someone hit me between the boobs. The soreness is mainly from the front of my neck/throat down to center of my chest. Of course my left upper arm is still sore. Actually the incision looks like it's healing quite well ... but all of this soreness is very disappointing. I was hoping I'd be feeling fine when I went in for my first chemo ... but the way I feel now ... is just plain yucky. I don't feel like eating much ... which is VERY unusual for me. I'm still working full time and sure hope that all of this doesn't cause me to miss work. I've got all of my chemo treatments scheduled for late Friday afternoons ... to give me the weekends to rest up if needed. But ... I sure didn't expect this port thing to take the wind out of me. It just has to get better!

    As soon as I read Mimi's note about the Emla cream I phoned my oncologist's office and asked them to call in a prescription for me. I picked it up last night along with my anti-nausea drugs and even ran by Borders and picked up a "Healing" CD in the "New Age" section ... so I guess I'm all set for the big day on Friday. One of my "distractions" planned for my chemo treatments is ... I'm going to knit ... but I am NOT a knitter. I used to knit a thousand years ago but sort of forgot (remember ... I am going to be 65) ... so while I was at Borders I also picked up "Knitting for Dummies" and am trying to refresh my memory on which way to move the yarn etc. etc. I bought a bunch of yarn the other day ... and I have decided that since I don't know fancy stitches ...that I'm just going to knit squares. After my year of chemo I'll sew all of the squares together and have a "chemo-cover." It may not be beautiful ... but I'll have something tangible to remind me of the "adventure."

    Hugs to you all!!!

    Being anxious goes along
    Being anxious goes along with the first chemo treatment for most of us. Hopefully you'll find that it's not as bad as expected. I finished chemo on Halloween 2008 and passed the time by listening to my iPod, reading magazines and sleeping because of a sedative. Looks like you'll be knitting to pass the time. The "chemo cover" is a great way to mark that day and what has happened. Some day it will remind you of what you've come through and that another year has passed. Good luck!
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    tgf said:

    You are all so GREAT!
    Thank you for all of the terrific information and support.

    I wish I felt better today ... but I almost feel worse. I feel as though someone hit me between the boobs. The soreness is mainly from the front of my neck/throat down to center of my chest. Of course my left upper arm is still sore. Actually the incision looks like it's healing quite well ... but all of this soreness is very disappointing. I was hoping I'd be feeling fine when I went in for my first chemo ... but the way I feel now ... is just plain yucky. I don't feel like eating much ... which is VERY unusual for me. I'm still working full time and sure hope that all of this doesn't cause me to miss work. I've got all of my chemo treatments scheduled for late Friday afternoons ... to give me the weekends to rest up if needed. But ... I sure didn't expect this port thing to take the wind out of me. It just has to get better!

    As soon as I read Mimi's note about the Emla cream I phoned my oncologist's office and asked them to call in a prescription for me. I picked it up last night along with my anti-nausea drugs and even ran by Borders and picked up a "Healing" CD in the "New Age" section ... so I guess I'm all set for the big day on Friday. One of my "distractions" planned for my chemo treatments is ... I'm going to knit ... but I am NOT a knitter. I used to knit a thousand years ago but sort of forgot (remember ... I am going to be 65) ... so while I was at Borders I also picked up "Knitting for Dummies" and am trying to refresh my memory on which way to move the yarn etc. etc. I bought a bunch of yarn the other day ... and I have decided that since I don't know fancy stitches ...that I'm just going to knit squares. After my year of chemo I'll sew all of the squares together and have a "chemo-cover." It may not be beautiful ... but I'll have something tangible to remind me of the "adventure."

    Hugs to you all!!!

    Knitting
    What a great idea! I love this. It sounds like you are all set for Friday. Moopy, Jackie, and I will be thinking about you. Don't worry, everything will be just fine. I really like Moopy's idea of "welcoming" the life-saving drugs into our systems. It doesn't always feel like it, but they are the cure, not the disease.

    The soreness of the port will most likely abate in time. I know the frustration of not getting better when you think you should. I am always impatient to feel better after each chemo treatment and tend to become despondent if it doesn't go according to "plan." But you must be patient with yourself, and good to yourself. It will heal.

    Good luck!

    PS. I want to take up knitting as well. I am looking into bamboo fabrics, as they are supposedly better for the environment. My quilt will be ugly for sure, but, as you say, a reminder of getting better.
  • Jan_M
    Jan_M Member Posts: 116
    tgf
    Happy Birthday and Good luck tomorrow. If you can, get someone to go with you because the benedryl they gave me made me drowsy for the drive home.

    So sorry you had to join this club, but there is plenty of good advise and support here.
  • cfransom57
    cfransom57 Member Posts: 2
    ports & stuff
    i have been through 16 straight weeks of chemo, including zometa & avastin. I hated the idea of a port, but trust me, i have had absolutely no problem with mine. I have a small purple power point. I actually look forward to chemo. It gives me a chance to relax, read, listed to my IPOD, and also know that everyone sitting around me has the same fears that I do. it's probably the only place I can go where I don't have to worry about being "different"...not to mention that with every treatment, it's making those cancer cells go away. good luck!