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Waiting for chemo

impactzone's picture
Posts: 542
Joined: Aug 2006

As many know. I am stage 4, 1 of 21 nodes, one 3cm liver met on right posterior lobe. I had surgery on 9/1 and now feel pretty good. I was back at work as a high school teacher last week. This week I meet with Dr Warren at UCSF on wednesday and Thursday at Stanford to get 2nd opinions. The local onc want Folfox 6 + avastin which seems standard. I have not had my port put in yet. This Friday will be 4 weeks post surgery so the earliest I can get the port is probably early week 5 and probably not start chemo until week 6. This seems late. I do want 2nd opinions and feel comfortable but I also want to get this thing started. I know avastin is started later because of its blood thining issues. Does anyone feel 6 weeks post surgery is too late? Does the port being put in "hurt". They said 2 hours outpatient. Is it done under general for installation under the claviccle?
Chip Fenenga

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006


6 weeks is not too late. They usually start the chemo in 4-6 weeks after the surgery. There were previuosly posts about a port. I think it is done in outpatient clinic under general anesthesia and then you will go home. I remember people were taking tylenol after it. You need to use EMLA cream before your infusion to eliminate the pain.

Hope it helps.

Best wishes for your treatment.

jams67's picture
Posts: 927
Joined: May 2006

I had stage iv also, but they put my port in during the other surgery. They didn't start the chemo until about 6 weeks after surgery. I had my port removed about 2 mo ago and they did it with a local anes. I have heard others have had a general so you'll have to ask. Though it wasn't painless, I was able to walk out of the doctor's office and it didn't take as long for the meds to get out of my system. My best guess is that they will put you under for instalation, but call and ask and get a play by play. jams

Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2006

I too am a stage 4 survivor with colon and liver resection and was administered the folfox + avastin via the mediport for six months.

It's great that you're getting second and third opinions. This is very important. Six weeks is not too late to start chemo from surgery, although I fully empathize being anxious as I was too. I found the mediport to be fairly easy. They gave me general anesthesia and I fell asleep, waking up with only soreness in the small area. Tylenol was all I needed for the pain. The port feels ackward, but I became used to it very quickly. It's still in and I think nothing of it even when I play with my 3 year old daughter. The only thing I suggest is to have the port put on the right side, esp if you drive a lot or the seatbelt will annoy you.
If you are not getting a liver resection, I reccomend doing research on the "Hepatic pump" in addition to systemic chemotherapy.
Hope this is helpful,


Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hey Chip,
Wow, you must be local...I went to Stanford and St. Francis for my second opinions; am in Mills-Peninsula so had my chemo in San Mateo. Anyway, I really don't know how long of a wait is too long. For me, the Holidays hit after my surgery so chemo was delayed until eight weeks post. As for the port, my surgeon chose a lower spot on my chest rather than under my clavicle, but it was done under general and I needed a week after insertion before chemo was started. My port insertion was painful, but most say that all went well. With every chemo appt, the nurse gave me a lidocaine shot into the port (or area just around it); and although my port hit the seat belt and became really sore from that, I am SO glad that I had it -- really made chemo easier to administer. I am sure that waiting around is making you anxious, but regaining strength from surgery is also important.
Hang in there. If I can be of any help with local resources, please feel free to email me... All the best to you - Maura

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Hi Maura,

I am my mother's caregiver. I am your neighbor: I live in Redwood City.


Posts: 64
Joined: Mar 2006

Hello there! I am stage 4 and I started chemo about 6 weeks after surgery. I know that my Dr really wanted to make sure that i was healed before starting me on chemo and although you may feel good, your body may still be healing. I had the port put in via an out paitent procedure. The I was given sedation but it didnt put me to sleep, I think It was because I had been taking the pain meds after surgery so what they gave me didnt do anything for me. The do a local anyway and it wasnt a big deal. I think I am one of the few that was hurting when I got home. The doctor told me that it was because I am a pretty small person (thanks to the weight loss due to cancer) so they really were diggin around in there to make the poket for the port. Anyway, the next day it didnt hurt at all. Now, I have to say that I forget that it is there. It is MUCH better than having them go for a vein in my arm! I am very glad that i had the port put in. Mine is on the right side so it doesnt bother me when I have my seat belt on when I am driving. Good luck!

Simbluej's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2006

I too had to wait 6 weeks after surgery before I could start chemo. Actually I started both chemo and radiation 6 weeks after surgery. I actually even had to take a 6 week break from it all after the radiation due to complications. I've had some other delays with the chemo since. It is definately frustrating because I'm sure like me you just want to get started as soon as possible to get it overwith and have it be a distant memory.
As for the port, I too had the general anesthesia and was pretty much out for the whole thing till the very end. It was a little sore but not too bad. So far though I am the only person I know who really doesn't like the port. It's nice to not have to get stuck with a needle every doctors visit, but I have problems with it in everyday life. I am a runner and have found the hard way that sports bras rub the skin right off the top of where the port is so I've had some problems trying to keep that regulated. Mostly I just dislike it because I am a stomach sleeper and I have found its very uncomfortable to do with the pressure it puts on the port. Anyways...best of luck to you and I hope all goes well

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Geez, Chip,
You had surgery 9/1 and went back to work last week? Was the surgery laporoscopic? In any event, I can't imagine that the little port procedure will be tough for you!
I think the standard for starting chemo is 4-6 weeks, but I know what you mean about wanting to get started. I found this site just before my chemo began (now over 2 yrs out, stage III, No evidence of Disease); it was a lifesaving font of info, support and positive focus.
My port was also an outpt proceedure, with a light general. I wish I had the advice to put it on the right due to driving; I put mine on the left because I am right handed. I'm not a big person, and the port protruded just a bit much into my seatbelt.
The procedure was not bad, and the discomfort to me felt like getting punched in the shoulder for a few days..Tylenol discomfort, and I had to learn to not sleep on my stomach. Having had one course of chemo without the port, my screaming viens will attest to the need to have one.
Best of luck to you; stay strong!

nudgie's picture
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

I can only help with port question. I had my stage II colon cancer removed on 10 July. On 11 August I have my Port-A-Cath installed under the sink in the chest area. Mine is over my right breast. The Port-A-Cath is a single unit and runs under the sink and over my collar bone. Your doctor will run the line through one of your major veins. I had a general anseth. I am hoping to get it removed when my chemo is complete in Jan 07.

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