TO PORT OR NOT TO PORT?

Hi there, I am just about to start chemotherapy for Stage 2 HER2+ Breast Cancer and I would like a little bit of advice from you lovely people. 

The Oncologist suggested having a port fitted as she said it may make things easier for all drugs I'll need, but I don't really fancy it at all. I have think I pretty good veins for blood tests and its obviously my choice.  I'm worried it may dislodge it or it get infected as I do a lot of manual handling for my disabled Daughter who cannot stand, walk or do anything for herself. So I hoist and have to turn her to get her dressed, showered, etc, she is as tall as me and heavy.

I am a single parent so have to do this as I'm the only one to do it. What is your experience of a port or canula please? 

  • Hi Emma

    I haven't had chemotherapy, so don't have the experience you're looking for, but thought I'd suggest that you also post this question in the breast cancer group as it's far more active than this one and so you're more likely to get replies.

    The breast cancer group also has a dedicated monthly chemotherapy thread, so you might like to post directly into that thread.

    If you'd like to do any of this then clicking on the links I've created will take you directly there.

    All the best with whatever you decide to do.

    x

  • Thank you so much latchbrook I've copied it to the breast cancer group now.

    I'm quite new here and didn't realise the chemo group wasn't as active as the breast cancer group.

    Much appreciated 

  • No problem at all Emma. 

    x

  • Hi , I think it’s a good idea asking in the Breast group as some will be on the same drug and treatment regime. My cannula experience is from immunotherapy once every 3 weeks for a year and then a gap and then once every 3 weeks for 18 months. Blood tests prior to treatment sometimes took a couple of goes, (one particular chap), and cannulas a few days later for treatment sometimes first attempt 50%, and other times 2nd and occasionally 3rd attempt. Once for a scan they had 4 attempts and then I had to go to the vascular unit to have a temporary line put in for that occasion. My treatment only lasts 30 mins plus saline so I’m only in for 60 to 90 mins. Some chemo regimes are for hours during every day and for a few weeks and then a repeat. 

    I started to dread the cannulas going in, I did ensure that I was well hydrated and kept a bottle of water with me. I think in the past some people are better at putting the cannulas in than others, some are more experienced, and they have to let the novices try as these are teaching hospitals, in these Covid times I’m not sure any novices are there. I’m a bit squeamish and don’t look, but sometimes the cannulas go in and I don’t feel them sometimes they go in and the nurses seem to dig around in the vein and it hurts and then they have to give up. I can see the advantage of having of having a port put in, but others might tell you of maintenance to keep it clean maybe. I’ve  never had a port and not been offered one. 

    If you are in for a long time you will want to do other activities, and with a cannula in my right hand or arm I find it hard to write and I like doing code words when I’m in. Turning the pages when reading with my other hand of course is easy. I always wear 3/4 length sleeves to give my team access to as many veins as possible, but I understand my immunotherapy can go in lots of places, I think some chemo they are told to use certain veins, I’m gleaning this only from overheard conversations a while back. 

    So when making up your mind take into account hurt factors and convenience, you make a good point about caring for your daughter and as I’ve not had a port others will be able to say if that’s relevant. You may need extra help if your chemo takes things out of you. I was thinking I feel at half pace for a few days after my treatment.

    Good luck with your treatment, I hope telling it as it sometimes is, is not to awkward for people.

    Take care

  • Thanks KaTHome that gives me alot to consider.  Thank you for your reply.

  • Hello I had a port put in on the 17th June. It definetely helped with my chemo it is a lot faster and less painful when the drugs are put in. Day to day I barely notice it. However for about a week after I had a lot of pressure in my neck and it was very sore which may not be bearable whilst lifting. I don't think it would be dislodged though as I sleep on it with no issues.