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Anyone doing chemo get a port-a-cath? Anyone doing chemo get a port-a-cath?

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Unread 07-31-2002, 05:05 AM
Anyone doing chemo get a port-a-cath?

Hi all!!

Thanks for all the support for my new treatment. My first day went ok, other than the IV decadron (steriod anti-nausea) that gave VERY nasty heart flutters!

I was told yesterday that I have bad veins for chemo and they want to install a port-a-cath and I am wondering if anyone here has had one and can tell me if it was worth it. I have only 5 treatments left but they are really pusing me to get one.

My biggest concern is that I am not really put under anesthesia. The doc I met with yesterday said light sedation which leaves me semi-awake.

Any information would really be appreciated!!!

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Unread 07-31-2002, 05:39 AM
Anyone doing chemo get a port-a-cath?

s Lynette

I'm glad your first day of treatment went off without a hitch.
I have an infusaport. It is in my left upper chest. It was inserted under conscious sedation. You are really asleep and don't remember anything. I'm sure this what your doc means by light sedation. And the procedure is over very quickly. I had chemo via the port on the same day the port was inserted. My shoulder was a little sore for about three days. I finished chemo last Oct. and still have my port. I get it flushed every three months when they draw blood through it for the ca 125. There is an anesthetic cream you can purchase to put on your skin before the port is accessed. I never bothered with it. It barely hurts when they put the needle in the port.
My onc feels it is bad luck to remove the ports, hence my port is still with me.
And really just like another part of my body. I would highly recommend having one. Chemo is quite toxic to veins and the surrounding area.
The only drawback for me is that I now avoid any amusement rides where a shoulder harness is used. I'm afraid the port may crack. So I have had to retire from the thrill ride part of my life.
Not everyone has had such an easy time with their port as I. I still say GET IT!!

Unread 07-31-2002, 07:11 AM
Anyone doing chemo get a port-a-cath?

Hi Lynette!

I had a port as well but mine was inserted into my arm instead of my chest. It was put in with just a local and while my arm hurt for a few days, mine as well was used for chemo the same day it was inserted.

The veins do take a beating during chemo, mine lasted just fine throughout my first round which was every three weeks but couldn't hold up during the second round which had the treatments every day for a week, soooo I went ahead with the port. I kept the port for about 6months after completing the treatments, so I've had it out almost a year now.

It really was a whole lot easier to get hooked up and get the treatments without having to get a set up inserted each time you went.

I wish you thebest for your treatments and hope that you will have minimal side effects, easily managed.


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Unread 07-31-2002, 11:01 AM
I have one

They are wonderful in that you don't have to get the blasted IV stuck in a hand/arm all the time and while you sit there getting the chemo, both hands are free for reading, writing, or whatever. They do it under a local--I know, I don't like being put under either and as this was the first local I was rather skeptical. However, it was more like being "out" in that I didn't recall a thing (except the surgeon, whom I really like and she did part of my original surgery, has rotten taste in music--sort of Country-Western which I'm not fond of). They did say if I felt anything it would not be pain--would be like a pressure--and to groan or whatever and they'd up some of the stuff. I thought, great--so I'll be awake the whole time and it'll be bad--well, only once did I feel pressure (NO pain) and I remembered to groan and... Then I was back in the room (this was before my first chemo and where I go they do the first one-maybe just taxols-in the hospital on the oncology floor) and I felt so good I even ate lunch (uh, maybe I still was wacky from the anesthetic--I mean, lunch was good?) and really did not have pain--once all the numbing wore off, it didn't hurt, just itched a bit for a couple days. I have bad veins that blow and collapse so this has been good, especially since I have to start again. One piece of advice--while I do think that overall the port is more comfortable, I've noticed it seems to hurt more when the needle first goes in. Ask for EMLA cream--it numbs the area over the port and supposedly does a very good job. I can't say pain--more pressure again and mine is very very low in breast tissue. Overall--I recommend a port. I think you will be happy with it. Do get it flushed out with saline on schedule and don't bump where it is--you won't damage it, but it smarts!
Unread 07-31-2002, 03:08 PM
Anyone doing chemo get a port-a-cath?

My mom got one. She said it was worth it. She had two treatments of Chemo. They keep it in for 6 months after the final treatment. I don't know why maybe in case she needs another dosage or for blood work...
Unread 07-31-2002, 09:49 PM
Anyone doing chemo get a port-a-cath?

Hi Lynnette....... My mother had a port-a-cath put in when she was diagnosed with breast cancer......... I used to work in surgery and we implanted them all the time and I have patients now with them......I dont know if your MD showed you a pic of one or not..... but I will try to create a mental pic to help.............

Picture a bottle off of a 20 oz soda bottle....... they are about that size...... made out of either stainless or titanium.....and they are very light weight....... they have a small rubber stopper in the center of it.......... on the sides they have what looks like 2 tiny wings with small holes in it....... the holes are used to stitch the port into place............... on one side they have a "tube" that is inserted into the vein that runs right under your collar bone......... when the port is not in use it has a valve that shuts it off to blood flow...............

If you have bad veins and are having to take chemo even though you only have 5 more left.......... the port-a-cath is the way to go...... Chemo is a very bad drug and can do extensive damage to your tissues if your vein collapses for some reason.......

When they access it....... sometimes they use a spray (my mom called it freon....... cause it was but it numbs the skin around the port........ or some use the EMLA cream......... the spray works within 5 min or so......... sometimes the cream may take 45 min to work........ the needle looks like a bent needle cuz it is bent 45 degrees...... it is inserted to the "stopper" in the port...........

My mom kept hers in for 3 yrs............ anytime you have to have blood drawn, chemo treatments or even IVs at the long as you have it......they will use the port........ Its easier on you, because you wont have repeated sticks with needles if your veins are hard to stick.....

Hope all this helped.......... Hope you do great with the remaining treatments and best of luck to you

Unread 08-01-2002, 01:52 PM
Anyone doing chemo get a port-a-cath?

Hey all!!

Thank you for all of the information. I have scheduled my "surgery" for Monday morning.

I am still a bit concerned but you have all made it much more understandable and I know that I will do ok with it.

Thanks again for being here!!!!! And I will let you know how it goes Monday afternoon!


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