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Port implant...nervous

Noon32316
Posts: 8
Joined: Apr 2016

Hello all,

I am scheduled for the port implant on May 5th. I was told it's a minor surgical procedure but my nerves are getting the best of me. And of course, I made the mistake of googling...

I'm overwhelmed all over again, just like dealing with the aftermath of the resection. I've been reading about terrible experiences with the port (e.g., pain and more pain, discomfort for months on end, swelling, bleeding, feeling like being strangled around the neck (omg!), drainage (what is this?), blockage, blood clots). Most likely there are more positive experiences than negative but I didn't come across as many positivies as negatives. So I'm feeling like my 5 year-old niece when she goes for her immunization shots ----> big puddle of anxiety with a dash of fear. I'm guessing getting the port is the easy part and chemo will surely toughen me up. My treatment plan is 6 months of Folfox, every 2 weeks. As much as I want to be prepared, reading about this whole process seems inadequate and too simple since everyone reacts differently. I dread what this will do to my family because my cancer affects them just as much and they have to care for me and bear the pain of witnessing whatever will happen. I feel like I should be more proactive as in if there was a playbook on how to feel, behave, strategies, practices that I can take to fight cancer. And since I haven't figured out the playbook and can't access it, I'm falling behind. So much scramble in my mind and heart.

Wishing all of you strength, courage, and comfort.

Noon         

lizard44's picture
lizard44
Posts: 409
Joined: Apr 2015

I've had my port for almost a year now  and am extremely thankful that I have it every time I have blood drawn or recieve a chemo treatment. The  implant procedure  was a fairly simple outpatient surgery.  I slept through the whole thing and  had no complications.  I have a  very skinny chest so my port sticks out quite a bit- it looks like an alien tying to escape, but for  most other folks I've seen with a port and more flesh on their chests it's barley noticeable.  So far I've had eight FOLFOX tratments, 28   radiation treatments while hooked up to a portable  5-FU pump  24/5 and am now  receiving  Erbitux and Camptosar   infusions every other week.   When I get blood drawn before the  infusions, they spray  my port area with  some cold stuff and I never feel the needle go in.

It's not a pleasant journey that we're on for sure, but  just take it one step at a time, one hurdle at a time and enjoy the smooth stretches- and there ARE smooth stretches if we just allow ourselves to see and appreciate them. Don't let cancer take over your whole  brain space-  try to  live  life as best you can, get out and do things,  enjoy  your  time with family, indulge your hobbies if you have them. I hope your port implant  and  your treatment go well and that you are able to get though it with a minimum of fear and discomfort. 

sigma9r's picture
sigma9r
Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2013

Yeah, Lizard's right, no sweat.  I woke up in the middle of mine and told them I could feel it.  They put me back out!  This is but ONE step.  Don't sweat it, it's part of it and it's a small part, if anything can be, so take it easy.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I had mine done in February of 2014 and had it removed over a year later. Let me say that I am a big baby and was very scared. I have a tough time getting needles. I can't even watch them on TV when it's fake. The port insert wasn't bad at all and I was awake during it. I felt nothing and it went very quickly. You don't hear anything, either.

I did have a situation and I'll warn you in case it happens to you but it's rare. They hit a nerve. All it meant during the procedure was that my heart went all crazy and they had to rush a cardio guy in. I was in lala land and wasn't concerned at all. Here's the thing. If, by some misfortune, this should happen to you, make sure they give you good painkillers for after. It burned for a couple of days like someone had a hot iron on my chest, neck and shoulder. It went away then and there was nothing after that. I just wish they'd thought to give me pain meds when I was there. I called the next day and they kind of blew me off. 

Once it healed I did find that I'd flinch when someone woulf give me a hug and I was always worried about my seatbelt pressing on it. But it was mostly because I was worried it might get hurt, not because it actually did. Having it removed was super easy, easier than having it put in. Where I live ports are a rather new thing so few people have been able to use it for blood tests and I found the poke could still be felt even with the topical anesthetic but that's just me. It was much better to have it for chemo that having tyhem poke me in the arms over and over trying to find a good vein. I have really small veins.

Good luck! I'll be thinking of you. In my opinion a port insertion is one of those things where the anticipation is much worse than the actual procedure.

Jan 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5389
Joined: Jan 2013

Chances are you'll be out for the count when it is inserted, and awake when it comes out. 

The port, when it works properly, is one huge blessing. I loved my port, even though it means I had to go braless cause they put it right under the strap. 

Sure, you can read a ton of horror stories, but just make sure you read some of the good stories too; and mine was one of those. That post will save your veins, and is WAY more comfortable than sitting during infusion for hours with a needle stuck in your arm. 

You are allowed to be nervous, thats part of the show. But don't get too worked up. Cancer likes it when we get worked up. Chill as much as you can. 

SUE

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1292
Joined: Feb 2015

So started a new thread, but now can reply again :)

 

http://csn.cancer.org/node/301949

db8ne1's picture
db8ne1
Posts: 142
Joined: Feb 2013

Unfortunately, people are more prone to voice their complaints rather than share the positives.  I've got to say my port was a definite positive.

I was fully awake and talking with the crew while it was inserted.  Piece of cake!  I had my first round of chemo the same day.  Unfortunately, I do believe they hit a nerve or something because after the local wore off I had to take pain killers for a couple of days.  Felt like I "slept funny" and had a crimp in my neck and jaw - but more painful.  The port itself was fine.

I'm not an easy stick so having the port was a huge blessing. Saved my veins from a LOT of trauma. I was hooked up to a 5FU pump 5 days a week with radiation.  Then after surgery I had FOLFOX for 6 months.  

I was awake when they removed it, too.  Just a local.  

I hope yours goes smoothly.  Since these surgeons do these all the time I think your chances are very good that all will go well.

Best of luck!

stevo55
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2016

I got on a clinical trial and only had to do 6 folfox infusions. (Normally 12). All my screening and tests came back cancer free and I just had my port removed yesterday. It is really not a big deal at all. I didn't even know it was there most of the time. I was awake for both procedures and even asked not to have the drugs that give you that relaxed high kind of feeling. They're good during the procedure but make you feel crappy the rest of the day.

Good Luck

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2152
Joined: Mar 2010

Talked with the dr throughout the procedure (tho my head was behind a drape. I couldn't see anything - not that I would have wanted to!)  It is the fear of the unknown, but this really is minor.  Try to relax - I know it's not easy.  This whole process is terrifying.

Alice 

MrsWeddle's picture
MrsWeddle
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2016

I just had a Powerport placed on 04/28/16. I was extremely nervous before the surgery.  I was put to sleep. I woke up and the only pain I had was a soreness in my muscle by my neck/shoulder. It's been a few days and it's getting better everyday. I start chemotherapy 5-FU tomorrow so it will be the first time it will be accessed but I don't expect any problems. 

It's normal to be nervous. Take care and positive thoughts. 

Noon32316
Posts: 8
Joined: Apr 2016

Thank you for sharing all your stories. I feel reassured. Best wishes to everyone on this new journey as well as those who are continuing the journey back towards health and happiness.

Noon

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1114
Joined: Aug 2013

Just so you hear more positives, the port going in was easy, I wore it for over 6 years, didn't have it flushed afer the first 2 years, didn't have any issues, smacked my chest against all kinds of stuff and had nothing more than a little tenderness.The port was on the easy end of the scale of concerns.........................Dave

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I've had mine in since Feb 2004. For me, it wasn't a big deal. I've heard many more horror stories about people's veins collapsing that I have about bad port installations. Everyone has their own tolerance to pain as well as views on what should be done. In the scope of things it wasn't a big deal for me and I'm very glad I had it installed.

DelrioGeorge
Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2016

When I had my port put in I was awake during the procedure, I remember it all but never no pain.  Peace of cake surgery.

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