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First Use of Port after surgery to place it - YIKES

cbs6931's picture
Posts: 63
Joined: Mar 2010

Thanks to everyone who responded to the Port vs PICC line posting. As I mentioned there the port was installed on Thursday, and it wasn't bad at all. However, I am nervous about the first use tomorrow, since it is still very tender. The steri strips are still in place and I'm thinking I need to get them off, otherwise the lidocane cream will not work. (It has sutures both internally and at skin level in addition to the strips.) Anyone else run into this the first time. If I don't get this deadened they'll have to tie me down to access the thing.

Comments or suggestions???



z's picture
Posts: 1411
Joined: May 2009


I had a port and I kept it covered the 1st day. I am not sure about the strips your talking about. I had a clear bandaid over it. My stiches were internal only. The nurse can spray some liquid on the area before she utilizes the port. I call it freeze spray, because it nums the area. I have never had any pain I couldn't handle from the use of the port. They are very good at utilizing the port. I'm sure they will take good care of you. I still have my port, and I finished treatment 6-9-09, I just have to get it flushed every 6 weeks. I will have it removed when my doctor tells me too. I wish you no pain tommorow, I'm sure it will be fine. Lori

Posts: 162
Joined: Jun 2009


My treatments ended on 6-10-2009 and I still have my port too. I get it flushed every 3 months. My doctor wants me to keep it in for a full year from the end of treatment. I really didn't have any problems with it either. It just looks weird.


pjjenkins's picture
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2009

Let them know of your anxiety- the chemo teams are usually really top notch. I had my port one day more than you before it was accessed and I had no trouble... In fact I felt really relieved because I cannot imagine what it would have been like otherwise. They had to give me two units of blood because my counts were so low so they used the port for 4 infusions that afternoon!

Remember, I really think oncology nurses are angels! Best wishes - we'll be thinking of you.


JDuke's picture
Posts: 443
Joined: Nov 2009

you can ask your doctor to write you prescription for Emla cream. It is a lidocaine ointment that will numb the area of your port. I put it on about 30 minutes before they would be accessing my port and covered it with a piece of saran wrap. I did not use it until after my incision was healed. I did have my own can of lidocaine spray, I requested the nurse use it when she was starting my IV for the port placement surgery and she was kind enough to "forget" to take it with her when she left the room. That is what they used the first time my port was accessed. I HATE needles so the cream and the spray were definitely anxiety relievers for me.
Best to you,

cbs6931's picture
Posts: 63
Joined: Mar 2010

Does it take the spray as long to work as the cream? I used the cream today and thankfully I got it in the right place and it worked!!! (I hate needles also - used to take three people to hold me down when I was little....)



JDuke's picture
Posts: 443
Joined: Nov 2009

The spray numbs the area instantly. I do not think that it is as effective as the cream though. At least that was my experience. The spray was great for use for numbing up before starting an IV since you never really know where they will end up placing it. I will admit that I am guilty of numbing up 4 areas on each arm with Emla before tests/scans. Yes, I was one of those children too! Good luck to you, just remember...it will all go swiftly and soon this will all be an unexpected memory.
Best to you,

mp327's picture
Posts: 4148
Joined: Jan 2010

The first time my port was used, I did not have the Lidocaine cream yet. However, it really wasn't bad and the nurse gave me a script for the Lidocaine cream. All sticks after that were painless, as I used the cream. They will tell you to take a deep breath, then as you let it out, they do the stick. You really won't feel any pain.

steve714's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2010

if done correctly your port acess should cause you almost no pain. if you are nervous tell the nurse they have several ways to be sure there is no pain. what we make up in our minds can often be worse than the real thing lol was for me

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

My port was put in a few weeks befoe it was first accessed so it was a little more healed. But I've never had any of the numbing meds and like Steve said it's not too bad. It stings for a minute or so when the first stick it, but that goes away relatively quickly.

I have fished treatment since mid June 2009. My chemo doctor also has it flushed every 6 - 8 weeks. After my next PET scheduled in August she plans on taking it out in February 2011. She like to leave them in for two years....


Doug_B's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2010

Hi cbs,

Just a comment in regards to your choice. I choose to go with the PICC line which was a mistake. Not only did it require flushing two times a day, the dressing had to be changed once a week. About a third of the way through treatment it began to slip out because one of the stitches came loose and shortly the other one came loose. It was removed by my nurse and I had choose to take meds via a needle.

My veins turned dark brown and became hardened with a red irritation to the skin surrounding them. I stayed active through out treatment which lasted 8 months which complicated things.
The PICC line became a major nuisance and the tubes hanging out was a constant reminder that cancer was in me.

You made a wise decision by going with the port. Anything that boosts our mental outlook is a positive. I wish I had made the same choice as you.

Godspeed and good health to you,

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