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I had a bit of a crazy week

ThomasH's picture
Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2016

I'm not sure if anyone else has had an experience like this, so I thought I would share.

This past Monday I had about 20 minutes of what felt like something crawling around in my chest. I've had PVCs before (your heart beats a little out of sequence or something, feels like it skips a beat) and I thought it was probably that. I've never had one that lasted that long, or one that gave me tunnel vision for that matter, so off to the emergency I go. 3 hours later and they have done a couple ECGs on me and taken some blood. The Dr figures my heartbeat looks a little off, but he sends me on my way.

On Wednesday, I go in for my monthly port flush. For background, I'm a stage 4 survivor and I've been NED for just over 2 years now. I haven't been using my port for anything, but you still have to maintain the thing. ANYWAY, I go in to get my port flushed and they inject the saline no problem. The problem starts when they try to draw back and no blood comes out. Great! looks like my port is plugged again (this would be the second time) But this is something I've had to deal with before. No prob! So they inject the "Vein Draino" to try to break up wherever the plug may be. Well an hour and a half later it still doesn't work any better so now I have to come back the next day to get a chest X-Ray to see where things are clogged up.

Thursday morning I'm back at the hospital and check in, get my X-Ray done, all good. I make my way back over to the cancer center and the Dr who ordered the X-Ray is waiting for me to arrive. WooHoo, no waiting!

The first thing the Dr says to me is; "So... you're not experiencing any.... chest pain?" Which I have to be honest, sounds like a bit of a leading question.

Well, as it turns out, my port is in fact not plugged! The catheter line on my port (which is in my upper arm) has snapped off just under my armpit and the catheter is now coiled up in my heart. What felt like something crawling around in my chest was actually the port line moving around in my heart and lungs. For those of you who are wondering if that might perhaps be a bad idea, why yes! Yes it is! I guess that usually causes pulmonary embolism, heart attack, blood clots, death... that sort of thing.

Well damn.

I guess that must be fairly serious, because the Dr escorted me right back over to the hospital, straight into a gown, and right onto a table to have the line surgically removed. Talk about good service! They actually went in through the big vein in the groin to get to the heart, which to me sounds a little like rectal dentistry, but I guess that is the easy route for that. (or as I jokingly told my wife, as it turns out the way to a man's heart is apparently through the groin. I found that WAY funnier than she did) As it turns out, when everything works right it is a quick and easy process to snare the offending line and pull it out. Taking the port itself out was equally quick and easy, but I still have to get the stitches removed.

So at the end of the day, I no longer have my port! And I have another interesting story to tell. I've been telling my friends that I'm now on the immortality training program. All you have to do is a bunch of things that half kill you so you gradually build up an immunity. So far its working great!

Has anyone else had any trouble with their port? I'm thinking I can't be the only one who has had one of these break off.


Hope you all have an excellent day!


abita's picture
Posts: 1019
Joined: Dec 2017


Posts: 403
Joined: Apr 2018

Wow is right!  Was your port in your left upper arm or left chest?  Dude I thought I had port horror stories but this is unbelievable, my port woes were from suture abcesses and blood clots. Thomas  have one mighty  guardian angel!!  Thank goodness you were ok!!!

ThomasH's picture
Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2016

And yes, I'm the luckiest person I know! I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I have a whole TEAM of guardian angels. And they are all very very tired. :)

Posts: 403
Joined: Apr 2018

I can only imagine the complete panic of the medical staff when they saw your Xray. That was some divine intervention right there! 

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5453
Joined: Jan 2013

What a story!  And you are around to tell it, which I think is quite a blessing. 

But, in all seriousness, I am so gla that you are all sorted out. And, let this be a lesson to anyone reading, if you're two years NED you don't need a port.  My Oncologist got mine out pronto, because of just such horror stories.  

May you continue forever NED and port free.


SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1176
Joined: Apr 2017

Gadzooks, what an experience!  Thanks goodness it turned out okay.  I never allowed them to use a port, I did the oral capecitabine, and this is another reason that makes me glad I did.  Crazy!

Canadian Sandy's picture
Canadian Sandy
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2016

I also did the oral capecitabine.....did not want a port. You are very blessed Thomas.

suzycruise76's picture
Posts: 146
Joined: Mar 2019

Hi Sandy,I was wondering how had you decided to choose Capecitabine instead of a port. Had you been asked to make a choice? Had you been previously educated on those both possibilities? I am Canadian as well,and none of my doctors asked me to make a choice of my treatments. I need to say,that until now I am pretty satisfied with the way my doctors's team works with me.It never occured to me,that I could have a choice. 

I just finished 5 weeks chemoradiation,being on Capecitabine/Xenoda with some mostly managable side effects. The next step is going to be surgery of my rectocolon tumor.

Thank you for answering me,


Canadian Sandy's picture
Canadian Sandy
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2016

Hi Suzy. I had a choice as I was stage 11 colon cancer. I did not like the idea of having a port and just took capecitabine as i am older and figured quality of life was more important than having oxiplaton. It turned out that I had one dose of irinotecan as they at first thought I had lymph node metastisis. Irinotecan put me in the cancer hospital as I could not tolerate it. All my scans have been clear since then and they now figure the lymph nodes were enlarged from surgery........hmmmm! did not have much trouble with 3 treatments of capecitabine.

i groped around on google and this site which has been really helpful I have Been very positive throughout my journey which has really helped. Keep the faith!

Kazenmax's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Feb 2016

Talk about a good news bad news situation! So glad you are NED and port free. Sorry you had to do it the hard way!


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6706
Joined: Feb 2009

I've never had problems with my port but there have been several on here that have.  It's a good thing that your doctor was on top of things.  If you are NED you don't need that port anyway - good way to get rid of it.  Hope that your heart goes back to normal and you feel better soon.  Doesn't it feel so good to have that thing removed?  Yup.


JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Good heavens, that's scary!! Wow! I'm so glad you felt it and they were able to figure out what was going on before things went badly. Creepy! 

So do you have 8 lives left now?


ThomasH's picture
Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2016

I'm not positive, but I think I might be down to 7 or 6 at this point. I don't remember doing it, but I really feel that at some point I must have paid extra for the "Bonus Life Experiences" package. I'm definitely getting my money's worth!

beaumontdave's picture
Posts: 1146
Joined: Aug 2013

When they put my port in my chest, they stated I could do anything, but some golfers had sheared the line off, a couple did it twice. I wasn't golfing much at that point, but the darn port clogged anyway, so up the groin with some tool to strip the tip, and I definitly felt the movements inside. After that, no big issues. I'm glad they caught your issue in time, and got things fixed. You are fortunate it went the way it did.......................................................Dave

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