Questions about the pump

I start my first chemo treatments on Monday and will be having Folfox and Avastin. They said I will be getting a pump, I wondered what the pump is like and how long I will have it for. I am very scared, I have no idea what I am facing, this is the first time I will have chemo. Thanks for any input.



  • christinecarl
    christinecarl Member Posts: 543 Member
    The pump is mostly just annoying, I believe I had it for 48 hrs and then went in for the disconnect. I also had it set up that when I went in for the pump disconnect, I got fluids and more anti nausea meds at that time. I really liked doing that, you can talk to your Onc or the nurse about setting that up.

    I liked to wear button down shirts when I was wearing the pump, same with pajamas. The things I hated most about the pump was sleeping with it and having to move it around when I slept, and also going to work with it, people stare, etc and that it was a constant reminder of the cancer. But those things really are just stupid reasons I guess. I chose to shower right before I went in for the pump and just wash my hair in the sink the days I had it, since I hate bathes and prefer showers.

    Good luck with your chemo and keep us updated!!
  • trspitfire
    trspitfire Member Posts: 19
    chemo pump
    I've been using the pump for the past 8 months following each chemo treatment at the oncologist,a visiting chemo nurse hooks it up and removes it 46 hours later, it is no big deal just a nuisance, plan showers ahead as suggested, mine has a blinking light that tells you its running correctly , it lights up a room at night so I put it face down under a pillow. Be certain you start with new batteries or the alarm will go off for a battery change in the middle of the night. I shop, drive and go to work with the pump on, its about the size of (and can be worn like) a fanny pack.
    hope this puts your mind at ease.
  • jararno
    jararno Member Posts: 186
    Hi Sweetie,

    The pump isn't as scary as it sounds.....just a pain to drag around. I guess the biggest thing is remembering that it is attached to you by the tubing. It has to go everywhere with you and when you manage to forget you will quickly remember. Most of them come in a rather large, bulky belt bag/carry bag. I would run the tubing under my shirt so it came out at the bottom of my shirt near the waistline. If I wore the belt bag around my waist I tucked the extra tubing in the bag and it really wasn't noticable. I also used a small metal and plastic clip from an ID Badge to clip the top of the tubing to my shirt. If the tubing was pulled the clip stopped it from pulling on the needle in the chest.

    The Chest Port is great and usually works very well. The needle insert only stings for a second and isn't bad. ( I am quite the needle phobic so when I say it isn't bad I mean it! )
    The chemo infusions usually took 4 hours or so depending on the speed of the nurses and if my pump was ready. Make sure that you bring a small blanket with you as you will most likely need it at some point. A snack or lunch is a good thing too. I usually slept through my treatments, but many people bring books ( I saw many bibles ) or knit, use a computer ect..
    Most people had someone stay with them I did not as I was dropped off by my daughter and picked up by my husband.

    Make sure that you know what they want you to do if there are any problems. Mine had a phone number on it to call in an emergeny but I was not told anything and was unsure what to do when the pump starting beeping as it was empty. ( In my case all I had to do was close a clamp on the tubing and remove the battery from the pump. )

    My pump was attached after the chemo infusions in the ONC Office on Mondays and I would return on Wednesdays for the disconnect. It was on for less than 48 hours, but the times can vary a little. I would usually feel my worst for a few days after the pump was removed.

    You will do fine. Please don't worry. Just remember to breathe!

    Let others help you as much as possible!

    Take Care,

  • abrub
    abrub Member Posts: 2,174 Member
    Ask for Emla cream
    To gob on over your port site about an hour before chemo. It numbs the area, and you don't feel the needle going in at all. (I used it for both a belly port and a chest port, so I really tested it out!) For some reason, lots of drs don't mention the Emla, but will give it to you if you ask for it (it's Rx.)

    I hated the incessant buzzing of the pump, every couple of minutes, when each dose was infused. Sleeping was tough, so I made a point of using sleeping meds on chemo nights.

    I remember how terrified I was that first time - I burst into tears in the chemo room, and it was a while before they could even start me. It wasn't nearly as bad as I anticipated, but there still is the "reality check" that is thrown at you when you get chemo for the first time.

    Ask for what you need, and mention any side effects/nausea when and if they first occur. Don't hesitate to call your dr or the nursing service handling your pump at any time, day or night.

    And know you have a group of us here who've walked the walk, and understand what you are going through.

  • pete43lost_at_sea
    pete43lost_at_sea Member Posts: 3,900 Member
    I am very scared,
    hi tausha,

    Being scared I think is pretty normal. My pump stuff was pretty annoying at first. I had it 7 days x 24 hours for 6 weeks. So Now I only got it for 3 days per fortnight its a piece of cake. Just relax and enjoy today, your treatment sounds like its all planned. Have some faith in God or your doctors and enjoy your family. Just try to make the most out of your goods days and I hope you have very few bad days.

    best wishes and good health,