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Mon Aug 22, 2016, 11:21 PM

Today I had surgery to have a port put into my chest.

This is where all the chemo goes in, and blood can be drawn for tests. Apparently lots of tests happen during chemo.
So no more needle sticks, no more chances of blown veins.

I must admit I had no idea it was such a complicated procedure.
To reduce stress, I don't peer too far into future appointments, so waited till last nght to read about ports.

"Twilight anesthesia" they said.

As usual no food or "clear liquid" 12 hours before the procedure. Other sources say 6-8 hours.
Then they said it was ok to take my morning BP pill "with a small sip of water"
Damn pill is not small...I gulped water.

As far as I was concerned, it was a pretty dark twilight, cause I went out for the count, woke an hour later, they gave me enough morphine so I could be plopped into the car and driven home.

Then the morphine wore off. Yikes! Luckily, my doc is real good at pain management, none of the skimping on opioids, and I had a script, so pain pills went home with me, and I napped for a few hours, waking only when a loud and heavy thunderstorm hit.

So now, I have a rather sore and stiff left arm/side from the mastectomy last month, and a very painful upper right chest and shoulder from today's port surgery, and not allowed to really do much wtth right hand/arm for the next 3 days, just in tme for the CAT scan Thursday when BOTH arms will be raised above my head, supposedly.
Yeah...good luck with that....I feel like a T. Rex.....those arms have very limited range of motion right now.

Just when I thought life was getting placid and predictable.........

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Reply Today I had surgery to have a port put into my chest. (Original post)
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 OP
uppityperson Aug 2016 #1
Solly Mack Aug 2016 #2
alfredo Aug 2016 #5
Solly Mack Aug 2016 #7
applegrove Aug 2016 #3
alfredo Aug 2016 #4
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 #9
alfredo Aug 2016 #12
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 #13
alfredo Sep 2016 #27
slipslidingaway Aug 2016 #6
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 #11
slipslidingaway Aug 2016 #22
PennyK Aug 2016 #8
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 #10
auntAgonist Aug 2016 #14
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 #15
auntAgonist Aug 2016 #16
auntAgonist Aug 2016 #17
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 #18
PennyK Aug 2016 #19
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 #21
auntAgonist Aug 2016 #20
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2016 #25
auntAgonist Sep 2016 #26
Stuart G Sep 2016 #28
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2016 #29
onethatcares Aug 2016 #23
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2016 #24

Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Mon Aug 22, 2016, 11:28 PM

1. May you heal quickly with enough pain meds to manage. Best wishes being sent your way.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Mon Aug 22, 2016, 11:32 PM

2. Toss predictability out.

and placid.

Didn't get a port. Should have, according to all my chemo nurses. Veins grew smaller and smaller each week - for them. Blood woman got it each and every time with just one stick.

Keep your humor - you'll need it, and it really is a life-saver.

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 12:06 AM

5. Tig Notaro kept her sense of humor and has made it part of her comedy routine.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 01:37 AM

7. It's part of mine now too. :)

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Mon Aug 22, 2016, 11:48 PM

3. Best wishes for your health.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 12:02 AM

4. The fun never stops. How long will you have that hole in your chest?

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Response to alfredo (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 12:09 PM

9. right now, plan is 3 months or more

Even more interesting, I came home to a packet from the oncology dept. which contains info on several chemo drugs, which I assume are the ones I will be getting .

One of them is Paclitaxel, which they describe as "a plant alkaloid"...the plant being....a Pacific Yew tree!
I now recall reading about the use of the yew for cancer drugs quite some time ago.

Apparently there are several cancer drugs made from plants.
I like that idea.


( but reading the list of side effects, esp. the long term onset of some effects, is quite scary).

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 05:04 PM

12. Chemo nearly put me in the hospital.

I had to wear a mask for a week to guard against infection.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #12)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 10:54 PM

13. I am so lucky in that I am retired and do not have to be anywhere

except for medical visits.
The rest of the time I can be nicely tucked away in my house.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 9, 2016, 11:59 AM

27. Same here. It's been very convenient if we want to beg off family commitments. :)

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 12:54 AM

6. Being hit on both sides cannot be comfortable but ...

Last edited Tue Aug 23, 2016, 01:45 AM - Edit history (1)

my husband has had three Hickman lines inserted each with three lines to administer chemo, fluids, drugs etc. Hopefully once you get past the initial discomfort it will make things easier, that being said he was always hospitalized while he had the lines in place so he always had staff to look after him. It was so much easier to draw blood plus the needed chemo needed a larger line.

Hang in there, my husband's first transplant doc said they have lots of drugs to get through the more difficult times, wise words I do believe, use whatever you need to get through this bumpy road.







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Response to slipslidingaway (Reply #6)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 12:36 PM

11. Ya know, 20 years ago I would be much more tolerant of stuff like this

but now my body is not, and I am getting real good as asking for anything that gives me comfort.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #11)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 12:55 AM

22. Can we have those 20 years back, we felt and looked wonderful back then, did we not?

Hang in there, I can only say this as a caregiver, do whatever you need to do to come out the other side. Be curious, but not too curious, put on movie, go to movie, take a walk, distractions are wonderful. Look when you feel you can during tests, look away when you cannot. We met a 23 year old refugee from Kosovo who had a haplo/double cord transplant and is now looking forward to a wedding next year, we'll all be celebrating.

Easy for me to say, just a bystander here, have not asked her if she still has her port, but I know she dreaded the bone marrow biopsies.

Use whatever you can to move forward!






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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 09:54 AM

8. Port surgery isn't THAT bad.

You should be able to get past this part relatively smoothly. Make sure you have a scrip for numbing cream; you'll use that every time they access the port.
Having this thing in my chest makes me feel like a Borg.
Here's to a smooth transition to the next phase...and on the chance that your chemo might wreak havoc with your taste buds, enjoy some yummy food before you get into it. I just made chocolate mousse for myself; this was something I waited months to enjoy!

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Response to PennyK (Reply #8)

Tue Aug 23, 2016, 12:15 PM

10. Port surgery was fine, I was out for it.

Tis the post surgery pain that really hurts.
Happily, the doc is generous with the pain meds, I managed several 4 and 6 hour sleep periods in the last 24 hours.

thanks for the info. about numbing cream, will make a note of it to ask.

any and all tips welcome.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #10)

Wed Aug 24, 2016, 09:56 AM

14. I had a port placed about 7 months ago. It was painful following surgery but I have to say

it has been good to have.
I have really thready veins, IVs blow out, PICC lines don't last etc ...
My hematologist/oncologist recommended a medi-port and I'm so glad she did.
I don't use/need have never been offered a numbing cream.
At present my port is accessed 24/7. I'm on TPN therapy (total parenteral nutrition) 12 hours a day. It was 18 hours but they just reduced it
Anyway, my nurse comes on Mondays and removes the access needle, cleans the site and re-accesses the port. He puts a new clean dressing on and I'm good to go.
The ONLY hassle is protecting it in the shower "it" being the dressing. When the port isn't accessed there's nothing visible but a bump in my chest.
I have a product called Hydra-Seal. It's a clear plastic 7" x 7" piece that adheres to the area and keeps the dressing dry.

edited to add: I have all my blood draws done via the port. WAY better than having the nurses poke and pain me looking for a vein that won't give up any blood.

My port is placed to stay there permanently.

best wishes to you.

aA
kesha

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Response to auntAgonist (Reply #14)

Wed Aug 24, 2016, 10:25 AM

15. Thank you for that information....

First use of the port will be tomorrow for CAT scan,when they inject the iodine.

Since I just had it put in Monday, it still has that seal dressing, which now is driving me nutz...it wrinkles up and really is irritating my skin. itches like mad.
Doc said I could take it off today, and that will be the first time I can get a look at what the area looks like.
but will have to use a mirror, I can't see it very by by just looking down at it.
Thank god Mr. Dixie is not squeamish about helping with things like that.

The oncology unit here uses them pretty much as standard protocol, cause of all the IV in/blood draw out -they do on patients.

To clarify, you have a dressing over the port and the clear seal thing over that????

I am really hoping I won't have to wear that plastic seal, it is uncomfortable. Or maybe it is just uncomfortable now because I am still tender...
guess I will find out with time.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #15)

Wed Aug 24, 2016, 10:41 AM

16. I have a needle accessing the port and ONLY the clear dressing over that.

It keeps the site clean and protects the needle.

I only ever have the clear dressing when I have the port accessed.

When I'm not receiving treatment the skin is bare.

When you take YOUR dressing off you should just have a straight line maybe 2" in horizontal length where they
slid the port in.

My port is completely under the skin.

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Response to auntAgonist (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 24, 2016, 10:59 AM

17. This is how mine looks when it's not accessed. (not my picture) 2nd is accessed w/needle

This is what mine looks like accessed and not accessed. The dressing/protections sometimes gets itchy but for the most part it's not a problem.

I wear a sports bra when I'm accessed because bra straps



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Response to auntAgonist (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 24, 2016, 11:50 AM

18. I am confused right now

I just took off the clear tape/dressing, and it has actually taken the top layer of my skin off in 2 places....hurts like hell. THAT was the hurting I was feeling most of the past 2 days. So no more of that on my skin.
So what I am looking at is a raised lump where the port is, but since everything is UNDER the skin, how the hell do they get a needle in there without sticking me?
I thought the whole point of the port was " no more needle sticks", unquote.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #18)

Wed Aug 24, 2016, 01:44 PM

19. Well, they DO stick the needle in

The nurse will tell me to take a deep breath right as she's doing it. Even with a less-than-terrific job, it hurts a tiny bit for a second. It's still easier than looking for a vein. And I did the same as you with the dressing. I didn't realize I had written instructions on how to remove them, involving soaking, etc., so I ended up with a gross-looking scar that took a while to heal. Sorry!
Surprised to see that the numbing cream, Lidocaine/Prilocaine, isn't used by everyone. I put a dab on an hour before my appointment and cover it with plastic wrap. You'll notice other people in the waiting room with the plastic wrap hanging out of their shirts! Make sure to wear something with a loose or low neck, so they can easily get in there.
Trust me, the port thing makes everything a lot simpler...although I do feel like I should be communicating with Locutis of Borg!

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Response to PennyK (Reply #19)

Wed Aug 24, 2016, 06:52 PM

21. I am really bummed out.

I thought the port would be one of those tube things that had maybe a plastic tip opening that they could stick the needle in ....in fact, the CAT scan guy said tht is why I have to go to oncology to morrow first, so they can put something in/on the port so HE can inject the iodine thru it..
Something about a needle "thing" that they use to put stuff into the body
and then he said I had to go back to oncology to have it removed.
Now, I know they can't do anything that would let air into the port, but in my perhaps pain medicine fueled mind, I seem to have gotten the idea the port meant
no more needle sticks.
Oh, I know where I got the idea.....somone there TOLD me that.

As for the plastic dressing, it was burning up my skin for the past 3 days, the removal part was easy and did not cause the problem.

I am gonna take my prescribed pain med, whatever it is, and ask them for that cream plus pick some up at the druggist on the way home.
thanks for telling me about that.

Right now, at the moment, I am not in a good mood, so will put on a movie or something.
I can't even run away from home, there is a thunderstorm outside.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #18)

Wed Aug 24, 2016, 04:09 PM

20. The port is SO close to the skin you barely feel the access needle going in to it,

Please trust me. This is 100% better than trying to do everything through veins in your arms etc.

My accesses don't hurt at all and I don't use any lidocain creams.

aA
kesha

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Response to auntAgonist (Reply #20)

Sat Sep 3, 2016, 01:58 PM

25. Just commenting at this late date that you are so right

I did have the port used, the needle was a teeny pinch, even on my then very sore port area.

It is Sept. 3 and the area feels ever so mildly tender, nothing I can't ignore now.

Thank you so much for all of your information and advice, it was so helpful.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #25)

Sun Sep 4, 2016, 07:18 PM

26. Oh I'm so glad everything worked out alright for you.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #25)

Sun Sep 25, 2016, 07:51 AM

28. I wish you the very best...today and every day..

Had cancer, 3 surgeries ....a long time ago (more than 5 years)...still here...don't ask me why,..............
I am just going to say hi

.

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #28)

Sun Sep 25, 2016, 09:57 AM

29. Stuart, thank you!

It IS very helpful to hear from people who have gone thru successful treatment, I appreciate your comments very much.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Original post)

Wed Aug 31, 2016, 03:53 PM

23. Dixiegrrrrl, I

have not been posting on this sub forum in a long time and this is the first chance I have. I wish you the best of all things in your fight with cancer. I have no other words to say except you will be in my thoughts for a long, long time. Peace, OTC.

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Response to onethatcares (Reply #23)

Wed Aug 31, 2016, 04:17 PM

24. wow....thank you very much.

I have been very surprised at how many people have told me of their support.
Thank you for being one of them.

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