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About steristrip on port-a-cath

EissetB
Posts: 135
Joined: Apr 2017

Like most of us having chemo treatment has to have port-a-cath. I had mine on April 13 then the infusion the next day. It was painful!! The nurse poke the needle in a wrong place cause me bled, so another nurse took over the procedure. Thank God!! After 46 hours of carrying the pump in a fanny pack around the house I finally went in for its removal. By the way, I am on a 12 sessions FOLFOX treatment for 6 months. I had to quit my job due to this long term therapy. Back to my steristrip topic, when I went to my surgeon for a check up, I asked him how to apply the cream on my chest before my next needle poking schedule. He told me to apply it generously around on where the port is. He added that the steristrip will automatically fall off after a week. Now, it has been over a week and there's still no sign of wrinkling to cause it fall off...still not quite there yet!! My 2nd infusion is getting closer...Is there any of you experienced the same as mine? If so, how did you apply the cream on it? Please kindly help me. Thank you.

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2132
Joined: Mar 2010

I've found that the steristrip can take up to 2 weeks to come off.  Let it come off on its own (tho you may trim the loosening edges.)

As to the cream - yes, use a generous amount. You should have a thick white coating of cream, then cover it with plastic wrap until chemo.  Give yourself a good hour with the cream; your chemo nurse will wipe it off.  It works incredibly well.  I used it for a belly port for my intraperitoneal chemo as well as for my chest port for my Folfox.

Hang in there.  You'll get to know the routine.

Best, Alice

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5217
Joined: Jan 2013

I think your nurses will be able to access it allot easier once it is healed. The area is quite swollen right after surgery, and its such a small spot they are aiming for. 

I had an allergic reaction to the steri strips, and had huge blisters, so they had to come off within days.  As abrub says, trim the edges and give it another week. 

You will be a pro at this in no time and then you can off advise here on the forum. 

Wishing you the best.

TRU

EissetB
Posts: 135
Joined: Apr 2017

Thank you, Alice and Tru!! I felt much better now to know how I will deal with my second infusion...One more question though: how about the blood test? Does it need to be taken from the chest port? Or wouldn't it be safer to take it from the arm? Do I have a choice?

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2132
Joined: Mar 2010

If they have a phlebotomist, they can take it from the port.  They use the same needle to infuse the chemo, so it's just one stick.  Plus, if you leave the cream on long enough, you won't feel that needle anyway.  As I mentioned, I had chemo into my belly, and that cream saved me from feeling the needle go in.  The thought of the needle in my belly makes me cringe.  (And when I had to have Intraperitoneal chemo again this past October while I was in the hospital, I wouldn't let them near me until they 1. got me the cream, and 2. left it in place for an hour!  I learned!  (And I repeat - a thick coating of that cream - the area should be white- like a frosted cake!)

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5217
Joined: Jan 2013

I didn't have a choice, because where I got my blood taken, they didn't have a phlebotomist qualified to draw from a port. But, if I did have a choice, I would get it taken from my port. 

TRU

Bellen
Posts: 281
Joined: Aug 2016

I use emla cream prior to insertion in the port.  Sometimes I forget to put it on, and then I have used an ice pack on the port area for about 15 min. - works very well to numb the area, so only feel a pick.  I am not familiar with the steristrip - just apply emla cream and cover it with a plastic bandaid, which is taken off by the chemo nurse before inserting needle (bought a very small tube, as it is very expensive), but find ice pack on port area to be just as effective to reduce pain.

Tunadog's picture
Tunadog
Posts: 235
Joined: Mar 2017

I asked them to use a local anesthetic spray and it worked. I barely felt the prick.

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1205
Joined: Feb 2015

I was told to smear it on an hour before and then just let it sit.  Do not wipe it off.  But once I was done with chemo I had a tendency (more and more) to forget to put it on before getting my port flushed, bloodwork or injections for scans.  And I found myself noticing that it did not make that much difference.  It may be I keep on getting lucky with the people accessing my port.  Breath in deeply and done.  If I recall correctly, what Tru mentioned held for me - I had my first access shortly after the initial port insertion surgery.  After it healed more it became less of an issue.

The hardest part of the port access for me is related more to the memories of what the port is there for.  Meaning as getting accessed, it is a brief moment of "S--t, I actually really did have cancer."  I think the surreal aspect of this will also stick with me Frown

danker
Posts: 1256
Joined: Apr 2012

That is why we have them taken back out when we are NED!!

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1205
Joined: Feb 2015

E.O.M.  Cool

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