• To port or not to port, that is the question

    Asked by BuckeyeShelby on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

    To port or not to port, that is the question

    Ok, I've had a recurrence, and I'll either be doing the same Taxol/Carboplatin I did last time or a clinical trial with those 2 drugs with immunotherapy added. First time around, I did IV in the arm, not a port. Wasn't offered a port. Didn't know about ports then. Did have a Taxol leak back then resulting in a nasty chemical burn. I am afraid my veins are kinda shot. I'm thinking port, but right now I have a wound vac. I know they are VERY different devices, but part of me is thinking that I'm not sure I want yet about thang invasive in my body. So.... thoughts? Should I get a port? I probably won't be starting chemo for another couple months as I still have a healing wound, and he won't start until I'm done healing.

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • JaneA's Avatar

      Port - I've had mine almost six years - they still use it for blood draws and scan contrasts. I don't believe that you will have any regrets about getting a port. I'm so sorry that you're facing this again.

      5 months ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar

      I'm all for the port. One reason is it's easily inserted and removed. Hope you get into the trial, don't you? I'm sorry you are going thru' this again. I hope we can all be here for you like you always are with us.

      5 months ago
    • Bengal's Avatar

      I would say, yes, definitely get the port. It makes those infusions so much easier if you don't have to deal with the IV and trying to find a good vein every time. Especially if your veins are "kinda shot". My insertion was easy, a little pain for a couple days and removal was simple.

      5 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      Port. Port. PORT!!!!!! I didn't get one either when I got carboplatin, Avastin and Alimta - like your experience, none was offered and I wasn't smart enough to request one (in fact, I saw people in infusion with them and thought they must be a lot sicker than my stage IV lung cancer...). Instead, they had a much more compassionate doctor who recommended that they not ruin their veins. In hindsight, I think my oncologist didn't expect me to live long enough for it to matter what method we used to get the chemo into me.

      Anyway, the port is a piece of cake and makes your life so.much.easier when you go for treatments. One stick and done. Except right after you have it put in, there's no worry whatsoever about showers or swimming or anything else. It does make an ugly and visible bump on your chest - that took me a while to adjust to and I still do try to wear clothes that cover it up. It screams "cancer" to me but most people would probably have no idea what it was. You also might have some issues with seat belts, but mine is on the right side and since I usually drive, it rarely bothers me. There are 'port pillows' that can be put on the seat belt if it bothers you.

      Once you stop treatment and if you keep the port, you have to get it flushed regularly. They used to say every 6 weeks, but I went 6 months (due to COVID) and I will never follow the 6 weeks schedule again - no reason why it can't be flushed when I am already at the clinic for a scan. (There was absolutely no problem with it after not being flushed in 6 months. That's probably too long but I think 3 months is just fine ... of course, I am definitely not a doctor)

      You will be oh.so.happy to have the ease of the port!!!!

      5 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      Any port in a storm. I've had two and there was zero trouble with the Bard Power Port over seven years. The Vortex port (for ECP) gave sign that it was expiring only at the end of my treatment, so the timing was right.

      5 months ago
    • Kp2018's Avatar

      I'd take the port invading my body any day. I can understand your concern about inviting another wound involved in placing the port, given the awful experience you've had with your current wound, but I'm guessing the port will make your life a lot easier during chemo.

      Can you find out what's involved in placing the kind of port you'll need? Maybe knowing about the procedure will put your mind at rest. My best to you as you face this decision.

      5 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      I would get one. They can do more than just put chemo into the port. It can be used for blood draws and tests when they need to inject dye. It really saves your veins. I was able to cover it with just wearing higher neck lines. And it was only about a half inch bump. My nurses had a cooling spray that they sprayed on it and inserted the needle. I didn't even feel the needle stick.
      The only time I was self-conscious was for my daughter's wedding. My first dress was too low so I found another dress that worked out great.
      Mine was a power port by Bard. I was just with a local anesthesia and I didn't feel a thing. My daughter had just become engaged so I talked the entire time with the nurse about weddings. It was great!
      I fully believe in them and found it to be a blessing. My doctor had not told me about it and I found it doing research. I asked him about it and they scheduled the installation. I had TCH chemo which meant a whole entire year of treatment and I was so glad to have a port.
      I am definitely Pro-Port!

      5 months ago
    • andreacha's Avatar

      BuckeyeShelby - Well, it looks like you'll be having a port! If my next chemo is not oral, I will insist upon getting one. My veins have been terrible for a long time. It was quite a chore to have blood drawn every week. You've got the whole peanut gallery here behind you. Keep us posted.

      5 months ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      See, unlike Clinda, last time I was in the chair 6 times over 18 weeks instead of a year's worth. Not sure how many I'm looking at this time.

      5 months ago
    • centered1's Avatar

      Buckeye, mine was 6 times over 18 weeks like yours. I got the port. Best thing ever. I kept mine for quite some time after chemo was over...wish I still had it. Wish you didn't even have to ask this question, but you've got this...praying.

      5 months ago
    • JustForToday's Avatar

      One thing I learned after having my port removed and just went in for tests: different sized needles cause multiple sticks on same day. With port: one stick, blood drawn and then CT scan (one stick for the day). Without port: one stick, blood drawn. Second stick, CT scan with dye. The needle used for blood draw is smaller than one used for CT dye. They were kind enough to accommodate my request for one stick. Meant I had to go to CT scan department, have them put in the larger needle and leave it. Then I went for blood draw. Then I went back for CT scan. Much more time involved and would not request it again. Port really streamlines everything.

      5 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I have had so many disasters trying to get a stick for blood draws, scans, etc. that I have told them that when the time came for more treatment, just plan on it. I'll be there for it. I've already been in the hospital twice and no telling how many times I was stuck. So yeah.....go with the port!!!

      5 months ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar

      Have to strongly echo the advice of many others here and say port. I had my port inserted seven years ago under twilight sleep in the radiology department of the hospital where I had my chemo treatments. It is a Power Port and I have had it now for over seven years. Basically it has been trouble free. I have it flushed every five weeks and over the years it is now slightly tipped. No device is 100% guaranteed to be problem free, but the feedback from those who have had chemo and have had ports is overwhelming pro port. . If you choose the have a port, take into consideration your sleeping habits. I sleep mainly on my left side , for example , so my port is in my right chest area.

      4 months ago

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