Port-- dfficulty drawing blood from it..

janie1 Member Posts: 753 Member
The "medical assistant" has extreme difficulty drawing blood from my port. I've asked for trying to work this out with different positions, but she seems to be too busy to want to find the best solution. The onc said the "clot busters" aren't effective....radiolgy dept nurse recommended Retalase, but I had forgot the name and didn't run it by the onc. But that's when he said all of the clot busters weren't effective. Talked with chemo nurse. We all did a lot of talking, but still haven't come up with a plan. Is it my responsibility to micro-manage everything???? I'm so exhausted. As long as I stay in this town(atlanta), i'll stick with this doc. Butttt, my husband works from home, and can work from anywhere. We sold our house 2 years ago and living in an apt., so we are in a good position to relocate. Just not sure what to do. WHERE would you all go or suggest???? (Have liver mets....only had 3 folfox-avastin treatments so far....tolerating ok...cea went from 4-something to 2-something...onc said that means folfox is working, but don't take that as the tumors have shrunk 50% ). Just wondering where the best of the best really is at, for down the road. Heard the most good about Sloan... NY living sounds expensive ;). Craig mentioned he likes his team in TX. It would be nice to have a real team of people working together, so that i don't have to fight everything. Sorry to have so many questions...just like your input.


  • thxmiker
    thxmiker Member Posts: 1,278 Member
    You must be your own advocate.
    HI Janie,
    You must be your own advocate. There is no one with more interest in your health then you. Do they flush your port with heparin every time it is used? I flushed my own port after every treatment. One flush with saline, and the second with heparin. Then I could remove the butterfly. If one misses treatments the port still needs to be flushed every 4-5 weeks.

    If the oncologist's nurse does not know how to flush the port, speak with your oncologist. If he/she seems not to be concerned, time to find another more concerned medical team.

    My wife has a chronic disease which we learned to deal with 14 years ago. We learned a lot from dealing with doctors whom knew little to nothing with her disease but were willing to take our money and put her through pain for $$$. We learned to be proactive and ask lots of questions. Ask what they are trying to inject you with and what it is for before they inject you. I stopped someone from injecting my wife with a drug that she is highly allergic to. The nurse insisted that I get out her way. I had to grab her arm to stop her from injecting my wife. I then asked her in a loud voice if she had epinephrine with her and a crash cart ready so, when she puts my wife into shock that she can be treated right away.

    The CEA will rise and fall thougout chemo. It is just one of several tests to see if the meds are working. The CEA is not the definitive test.

    Best Always, mike
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866 Member
    I've had trouble with my port for just about 7 years. It's fine except that it doesn't always give blood in return. I had a "flow test" done a while ago and that determined that everything is A-OK with the port. There were times though where I was raising my arms, lying on my side, singing the Star Spangled Banner and nothing would return. The flush always went in OK though. So now it's a 50/50 shot as whether I get blood return (I have a double port too) but as long as it goes in I don't care if they get return or not.

    See if they can do a flow test and that should settle it once and for all.

    We've talked before Janie and I am fortunate to live close enough to NYC (50 miles) so the cost isn't too bad but this is an expensive area for sure. You don't get a lot for your money but if you can locate in NY state it's very pretty and there is access to great doctors and all of the things the city has to offer. Also, as others have said don't put too much in to the CEA. It's always good that it goes down but it's not the end all as far as monitoring your health.
  • plh4gail
    plh4gail Member Posts: 1,238 Member
    My port was being difficult
    My port was being difficult at one time and they used a clot buster Activase. It took about 2 1/2 hours before it worked. Good luck with yours :)

  • pete43lost_at_sea
    pete43lost_at_sea Member Posts: 3,900 Member
    port worked well for chemo but never drawing blood fof test
    goodluck with yours
  • Kenny H.
    Kenny H. Member Posts: 502 Member

    port worked well for chemo but never drawing blood fof test
    goodluck with yours

    Mine clogged up totally
    Mine clogged up totally once. Had to go get a declot proceedure done. Involved a flush with drug they give heart patients to open up a clot. Took 4hrs.
  • herdizziness
    herdizziness Member Posts: 3,624 Member
    Wow, okay, so two weeks ago, they went to draw blood before doing the Avastin, and the nurse said, "well, this is new with you, I can't get a good blood draw, I can't get any blood" so, she inserted some of that what ever it is blood thinner stuff, and in two minutes was drawing blood as usual. Wishing yours had been as simple.
    Winter Marie
  • Kathryn_in_MN
    Kathryn_in_MN Member Posts: 1,252 Member
    port troubles
    I can't imagine why your oncologist made that statement. He is absolutely wrong. I know from personal experience - MULTIPLE times. I can't remember the name of the stuff they have use on mine, I think it has three letters (initials) starting with a T? With my last port sometimes we had luck after changing positions, but not always. Twice I had it cleared with the chemical that DID work.

    With my current port, it clogs a lot. I'm on different chemo this time - don't know if that is what is making the difference. When it won't work, it won't work. Coughing, standing, sitting, bending forward, reclining, arms over my head, etc., doesn't matter - nothign works except the chemicals. And they have worked EVERY time we have used them. This port has been used for chemo 15 times now. I've had to use the chemicals 5 of those times.

    I just got out of the hospital last night. I was so glad my port worked perfectly there. Chemo disconnect was last Saturday, and I had good return then. For once I was able to use my port in the ER and for a hospital admit. Other than my first labs (they needed an INR which has to be an arm draw), I used the port for everything - CT scan, labs 6 times, and pain meds. It was so wonderful not to have an IV started, and not to be poked by a different lab tech every time (some are good, and some awful).

    I would insist they try the chemicals to clear your port lines. It is a bit time consuming because they have to leave it sit for 30-45 minutes, but usually it does work.
  • crazylady
    crazylady Member Posts: 543 Member
    port problems
    Hi Janie,

    My port does not give blood and never has. I have had it for over 5 years. It's interesting that when I was living in California this was not a problem as it receives chemo fine. I moved to Nevada last June and since then have had 2 dye studies. They both showed that the port worked fine, but I am now required for liability reasons to have a dye study every 2 months. It seems that there is different protocol in different states for dealing with ports. I think it's a total waste of time and money.

    Take care,