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A woman standing showing her chemo port

Port of Entry Closed

Once my treatment plan was in place, the first step was a port-a-cath. My oncologist casually mentioned that the port procedure was scheduled. I was overwhelmed by my recent diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma and the pending chemotherapy treatment so I didn’t think much about it. It sounded simple enough.

A harder procedure than expected

I was partially sedated during the procedure. I was out during my biopsy and woke up after the procedure. This one was different. I was numb, but I could feel the port being put in. They sliced open my chest and inserted this foreign object. After the procedure when the pain crept in, the site was terribly sore.

For days I couldn’t sleep on the port side. I couldn’t imagine a needle going in the tender skin. The stitches began to heal, but the tissue and skin remained sore and bruised. It was installed a few weeks before my treatments were set to begin. I had time to heal. The date came for my labs before chemo would start. I slathered on the lidocaine cream and prepared to test my port.

Putting my port to use

A nurse suggested using press n seal wrap over the lidocaine cream while the port site became numb. This trick worked quite well. The lab technician peeled off the plastic wrap and sanitized the site before inserting the needle. I could feel it go in, but more of a pinch. The blood return was good and the samples were taken. The following week I was cleared for my first chemotherapy treatment.

I heard stories about fatigue, lost hair, bone pain, and nausea. I didn’t know how my body would react. I sat in the infusion chair and my port was accessed. Once hooked up to the medicine, I didn’t really feel much of the port. I did feel a wave of nausea come over me and some back pain as the treatment coursed through me.

After that first treatment, my port was bruised and tender once again. I got pretty sick the first time. For my next treatments the anti-nausea medicines were adjusted which made things more bearable. I made it through each treatment one at a time. Each time it took a few more days to recover, but again I would return for more treatment. My neutrophils got low and my body became weak. Still the chemo kept coming and I tolerated it. I did experience all of those stories I heard for myself, but it was worth it. Over time it killed my cancer.

Saying goodbye to my port

No words could be sweeter than “complete remission”. While the installation of the port was more than I bargained for, I was ready for the removal. The port was a way to receive my medicine for which I was grateful, but removing it was meaningful. The procedure for removal was less invasive than implantation. This time the soreness was a good sign. A sign that I am well.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Ann Harper moderator
    7 months ago

    When my daughter had her port put in, she was put out. Her site was sore too, but I don’t think it was as bad as it sounds for you. She wanted her port out right away, but they wanted her to wait. Shes going to have it removed this summer. The final step of a long journey.

  • bluchs
    7 months ago

    I actually got my first port when I was first diagnosed.
    I had it removed immediately after they said I was in remission.
    The port hurt all the time, in my neck area.
    It was on my right side.
    After it was removed, my neck still hurts, now almost 4 years later it still hurts ( nerve damage, they tell me ? )
    But my remission was short lived, and I had to get another port put in.
    This time it is on my left side, it is of course still there.
    It gets used all the time.
    I will die with it still in, since I am now terminal.
    But this one, does not hurt, the fact is, unless I touch it, I do not even know it is there?
    So I guess, when the first one was put in, they screwed up??
    It beats getting an IV put in every time I need a blood transfusion or infusion of some sort.
    I am glad to have it.
    But I will admit, like you, I was very happy when the first one was removed, I wish I had had one put in sooner.
    It is so much more convenient for me, and the nurses.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    7 months ago

    @bluchs – That’s awful that you have to live with nerve damage from the first port. I’m glad they did s better job with this one.

    On another note, none of us know when our time will be up. I have heard stories if people being told they were terminal and then lived for a long time later. I believe the best thing anyone can do is to enjoy each day as best they can. I wish that for you and I will be sending prayers your way.

  • bluchs
    7 months ago

    Thank You Ann
    I actually believe in miracles.
    I am doing everything I can to live on.
    Diet, exercise, etc.
    Perhaps there will be many years ahead for me.
    Only God knows what may lay ahead for me, or any of us.
    I have not, nor will I ever give up.
    And I am trying to live every moment, to be happy.

  • Anthony Carrone moderator
    7 months ago

    @bluchs – I’m glad the port is hardly noticeable this time. I know things haven’t been all sunshine and rainbows lately, how have you been feeling? Keeping you in my thoughts 🙂

  • bluchs
    7 months ago

    Thanks for the kind words Anthony
    I am actually feeling confident?
    I had my 3rd blood test today and so far, so good.
    3 more weeks of blood tests, then we will decide about a stem cell transplant?
    I am Praying I won’t need one, and that perhaps I will have some more time as things are??
    My son is building me a small cottage on his property by his pond and woods.
    It is very quite and private there.
    About 350′ from his house.
    I will be moving there next month.
    I am very excited to be near him, so I can be close to him, if I need him.
    I am actually very Blessed.

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