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Mammograms and Ports

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

Just wondering...  So, I'm coming due for my mammogram in a couple of months and I'm wondering about how that all works with the port.  I can't tell whether it is in the way or not.  I have small breasts and it is not uncommon for my chest and ribs to get almost bruised when they smash everything down.  Anybody got experience here?  As it is, I'm considering asking my OB/GYN who I see next month about an MRI or ultrasound instead since I do have dense breasts.  Or maybe since I just had a PET scan I can skip the mammogram this year?

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1731
Joined: Jun 2015

Funny, I asked if I could skip mine since I had the scans. And the answer was...... get the mammogram. Dang it!

No clue about the port. But, it sure seems like they wouldn't put it where it would be in the way considering we are "expected" to keep it in place for a couple of years....

It will be interesting to see what your doc says.

Hope you are doing well Chris.

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

Lou Ann M's picture
Lou Ann M
Posts: 996
Joined: Feb 2015

I have had several mamagrams now and my port has never gotten in the way.  The girl who does them is careful.

Lou Ann

Abbycat2's picture
Abbycat2
Posts: 644
Joined: Feb 2014

I have had several mammograms without a problem and I have small breast as well. Somehow, the technician can work around it. 

I hope it goes well for you, Chris.

Soup52's picture
Soup52
Posts: 906
Joined: Jan 2016

I'm glad someone brought this up. I'm due for my mamo and I've been wondering. I'm not small breasted.

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

I'm so used to having the port now that I seldom think about it except when I start thinking about things like this.  Or, when I recently flew, the fact that I have this metal thing implanted in my chest alerted TSA.  Hadn't even occurred to me.

ConnieSW
Posts: 1544
Joined: Jun 2012

did you have to show them the bump or did they take your word forit?   Did they use the wand?

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

They didn't ask to see it, they just indicated there was something that was showing up.  I had a v-neck t-shirt on, so I just pulled it over slightly so they could see it.  Even so, they did the wipe-down on my hands and a brief patdown, female agent.

Abbycat2's picture
Abbycat2
Posts: 644
Joined: Feb 2014

of plastic so I have not set off any alarms at the airport. I am planning to have my port removed in the fall and decided that I will not have my gyn onc remove it in his office. I'll have it removed at a hospital. I also plan to have my brother fix my trigger fingers on one hand around the same time since both surgeries will force me out of the pool while I still have stitches. Bummer, since I swim regularly.

CindylovesMike's picture
CindylovesMike
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2016

taken out surgically in Jan. It hurt at times. My doc said is best to get them out because of infection. that was my surgeon my onc I think would have left it in.

txtrisha55's picture
txtrisha55
Posts: 687
Joined: Apr 2011

I had my port in for two years until it was finally removed.  I jsut told the nurse before hand and she worked around it but did not flatten it as bad as the other one that did not have the port.  The nurses I had both times were understanding and it worked out ok.

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

Good to hear the stories about mammograms.  I probably wouldn't have thought much about it except I am so slender.  We'll see how it goes.  Not gonna happen for another couple of months anyway.

As far as removal, I'm not planning on that for quite some time with the high rate of recurrence.  BTW, mine is purple titanium.

txtrisha55's picture
txtrisha55
Posts: 687
Joined: Apr 2011

Mine was purple too!  I had a triangle.  Once it was removed I told the technican that removed it that I wanted it to keep.  He looked at me stragly but I have it in with all my other cancer journey stuff.  After Chemo was done and I still had the port in me I went to my GP dr for a cold and they did chest xrays, he was so excited, come see this because it showed up on the xray.  I saw the device and all the tubing going into my neck and down through the blood vein into my heart.  Have to admit it was pretty cool because while you know where it is going so that it saves your veins in your arms it is still pretty amasing to actually see it.  trish

DrienneB's picture
DrienneB
Posts: 186
Joined: Aug 2013

Trish I would have loved to have seen that Xray! I got a great big kick out of seeing the outline of the tube at my jugular vein. I developed a red rash outlining that part. Did not think to have my port saved or to ask to see its image while inside. My port area was always black and blue, as I suspect everyone's is. I am glad that my mother encouraged me to have it out when I was done. I just hit the 3-year mark last month. Believe it or not, though, my scar in that place is still red and sore. It's a big keloid. Yuck.

Did you ever get hugged by a man who had sunglasses hanging in his front shirt pocket? OUCHHH.

-j

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1467
Joined: Oct 2015

I love this site!!  I thought I was the only one with a port scar that still hurts.  Sometimes when I move during the night, the pain wakes me up.  I think it's because the scar tissue is so tight, the skin pulls.  I'm faithfully putting that scar cream on it and it's not as purple as it was before.  I usually wear a sleeveless t-shirt under my other summer shirts.  Luckily it's been pretty cool here this spring.  (I was just feeling it right now and I had some cheese stuck on my chest from my enchillada from supper - crimney crickets, what next??)  

Love,

Eldri

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1731
Joined: Jun 2015

It has been about a month since I had my port taken out. And, the area still hurts sometimes. It still feels like it itches on the inside too.

My scar tissue pulls a bit as well. I was told it will take about a year for that to get back to normal.

I hope you are feeling better these days!

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1467
Joined: Oct 2015

Thanks, Cindi!  I am feeling better especially since I went back to working just afternoons.  It was too much to try and work full time.  I have my three month checkup the end of the month and the worry has already set in.  Most of the time, I just push those thoughts away but.....I know you all now what that's like.  We are enjoying our summer.  Last Monday on our way back from the lake house, we spotted two black bears a few miles apart.  Last fall, our cocker spaniel treed a bear in our yard up there.  My husband has been going there since 1958 and he said they NEVER saw bears - the past couple of years, bears are everywhere!  Last summer, there was also wolf track at the end of our driveway.  Now we're VERY careful when we let the dogs out.  I've been going there since 1969 and I never wondered if this would be the last time I'd be there when we drove out of our road.  Now, every time we leave, I think that.  Our lives can turn on a dime!  Sooooo, I'm going to enjoy every day and be grateful for that day.

Love,

Eldri

BC Brady's picture
BC Brady
Posts: 70
Joined: May 2015

I'm still in active treatment, but my dr says not to worry about mammograms right now. I'm PET scanned every 3-5 months so I guess they can see everything they need to. The PA always asks, tho, when my last one was, now going on three years, and tells me the port makes no difference. 

joannewtta's picture
joannewtta
Posts: 43
Joined: Jul 2014

I saved mine too. I'm that kinda girl. Mine was the purple power port. Hard to get out as lots of scar tissue built up. It was in for about 20 months from start to finish. 18 chemos so it really saved the veins. UPSC stage 3, grade 3b diagnosed 3 years ago this month. Doing great and I expect no less.

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

When I finally do get mine out, I want to save it, too.  And yes, that tube to the vein is rather striking.  Now that I'm wearing lower cut tops, it is much more obvious.  Well, it could be a conversation starter lol.

joannewtta's picture
joannewtta
Posts: 43
Joined: Jul 2014

I just referred to it as my third ninny.

Charissa's picture
Charissa
Posts: 124
Joined: May 2016

Oh my goodness, ladies. What is the port? Am I going to have to have one of these too for chemo treatment? Is it difficult and painful to put in? Where exactly is it? I thought they just injected us through a vein in the arm? I am so ignorant to all of this.

I'm also still awaiting my pathology report. I called yesterday (Monday - three weeks since my DaVinci hysterectomy) and they said it showed pending in the computer system. Not sure if that is good news or bad news?  I meet with my oncologist this Thursday the 9th. I will have all the information then and will share it with all of you, as I'm sure I will have lots of questions.

Thank you, ladies, for being so active in checking and replying so quickly to messages. I get busy with my girls and family and can't get on here every day. But, I have gained so much knowledge through all of you and am comforted to know you are always here. Love and hugs to all.

Anonymous user (not verified)

Don't worry though, for most of us, except Eldri, the port was a vein savior.  I had mine put in as outpatient at the hospital with a surgeon.  It didn't hurt, just a little, and healed quickly.  I can't imagine sitting through chemo for 5+ hours with a needle in my vein.  Also, the chemo is very caustic, if it leaks, it can cause problems, so you'll definately want a port.  Tomorrow you'll have all the answers you need, so hears hoping your answers are good news.  Hugs Nancy

Kvdyson's picture
Kvdyson
Posts: 789
Joined: Jan 2016

Hi Charissa, my port is in my chest near my collarbone - sort of where my bra strap rests. Mine in on the left side. I had outpatient surgery to have it placed and was under twilight anesthia. It's a life saver since I have small veins and day 1 of my 3 day treatments lasted 8 hours. 

Does your hospital or doctor have an online portal? I was able to access my pathology report from my hospital portal before I saw my gyn-onc for my first follow-up appointment after surgery. It helped me be ready with a list of relevant questions about my specific type and stage of cancer.

Also, I always brought a tape recorder with me to those "important" appointments since the amount of information could be a bit overwhelming. I listened to one of the recordings the other day and realized that my memory of that conversation was quite a bit different that the actual thing.

Good luck on our appointment Thursday and let us know how it goes. Kim  

txtrisha55's picture
txtrisha55
Posts: 687
Joined: Apr 2011

Go to Google and do a powewrport. I was going to put a picture in but the system would not let me because it wanted to pull in a hyperlink.   The purple triangle that is surgerally placed under the skin usually above the breast but under the collar bone area and a tube is then inserted into the neck vein and the tube goes all the way done the vein into your heart.  It is so the chemo goes that route which is faster and better than having no port and just a needle put in your arm to get the chemo treatment each week.  I kept mine in for over two years even though I only had to have chemo for 6 treatments.  After which they removed it. 

Soup52's picture
Soup52
Posts: 906
Joined: Jan 2016

Yes, I had my port put in at the hospital under conscious sedation, so no pain for me. I decided that I wouldn't try to hide it. If it shows with what I'm wearing, I won't worry about it:)

brissance's picture
brissance
Posts: 192
Joined: May 2016

Mine shows too and has several "broken veins" framing it.  I live in Southern California and the weather has gotten a bit beyond warm.  I decided I am wearing my "cool" shirts even if the port shows...   Daughter suggest a tattoo of a "butterfly" with the veins be part of the wings...  It hasn't bothered me.  No one has stared.  I am envious of the wig...  My head apparrently is "LARGE"... guess I have a big head.  Have not found one I like that fits.  Wearing one but more often wear my golf hat...  Will keep looking for the right one.  

It is hard to remain a sex symbol and go through cancer treatment but  I am endeavoring to accomplish this..  (Honestly I found that I could be an identical twin of my older brother if I had facial hair - and he is a very masculine he-man type.  We often laugh about what a difference the hair made).

 

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1467
Joined: Oct 2015

I have a big giant head too and found some "large" size wigs at Paula Young that were a real good fit.  I've been going a la naturale lately and finding that I really like it.  I've never worn my hair short but it's so easy to take care of.  I can wash and dry it in five minutes.  So, party on, sex symbol, Patty!!!  LOL

Love,

Eldri

brissance's picture
brissance
Posts: 192
Joined: May 2016

Hmmm...  I like the idea.  At least the head doesn't have wrinkles, no age spots, no broken veins and nothing is sagging!  I wll look into Paula Young wigs tho!  Glad to hear from you Eldri.....

 

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

Keep in mind, some facilities do not allow audio or video recording. Where I go, Fox Chase, does not allow this. But you could certainly take notes. 

Charissa's picture
Charissa
Posts: 124
Joined: May 2016

You guys are the greatest! I love the sense of humor. I will know tomorrow if a port is recommended. I printed out a list of great questions - Virgil90012 provided the link. Thank you, Kim, for letting me know where yours is and reminding me of the recorder - GREAT idea!  You are too funny brissance. Love your humor and outlook on life and this journey. Nancy, thank you, for your reassurring words. I had NO idea chemo would take that long - 5 hours is crazy. I like the el' natural hair look Eldri. I'm not sure I'm a wig person, so if cold-capping doesn't work, then I may be a bandana wearer. Thank you, CheeseQueen57, we'll take a recorder, with the hopes he will let me use it. My doctor is so compassionate and caring, I can't see him balking at it. Fingers crossed.  Will touch base with all of you fabulous women tomorrow. Love and hugs to each of you!!

Anonymous user (not verified)

Whatever they're called, they have some stretchy ones with really fun print.  I looked like an old biker chick, (probably more old henish), however they were comfortable.  Whatever you decide, remember, wear or don't wear anything with pride.  You are a symbol of strength and determination to live your life with whatever is thrown at you.  Good luck today Hugs Nancy

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

I had a couple of do-rags, really cool ones that a woman on the Facebook group made and sent to whomever wanted one.  And then around Christmas, I think, she sent out more.  I also have some of those pre-tied bandanas that I wore, too.  

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1467
Joined: Oct 2015

I have a bunch of the pre-tied scarves in solids and patterns that I wore for my physical therapy and really liked them.  I even bought some little fake bangs to wear under the scarf.  I thought I looked pretty natty, if I do say so myself - LOLOLOL!!!  After awhile I thought, who cares??  And besides, I have found that people for the most part are REALLY nice to bald old ladies!!  Ha ha!!!

Love,

Eldri

ConnieSW
Posts: 1544
Joined: Jun 2012

looks great, Eldri

brissance's picture
brissance
Posts: 192
Joined: May 2016

Have a pre tied "do-rag" that is more than a bit snug but I am actively looking for something nice...  Liking my white fishing hat for everyday...  wear my too tight do rag with it and it is pretty darn stylish..  :)

Eldri, now that I know you are only 6 months older than I am... I will have to challenge the "old lady" statement.  I would say we are still the life of the party and pretty darn young....   They are nice to you because you deserve it!  

If you saw Pink Panther and Commissioner Dreyfus, I repeat his mantra, "I am getting stronger everyday!"

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