Portocath - blood test appointments

  • 20 replies
  • 47 subscribers
  • 841 views

UPDATE - Thank you for your supportive comments. I have been feeling down and so l really appreciate it. Especially knowing you all have your cancer problems but still make time for others. I eventually got an appointment after phoning the Macmillan nurses again. Staff at the chemo unit were lovely to me today and have sorted out all my appointments, did my blood test, review etc. Made me a cup of tea and biscuits. I saw my Macmillan nurse there also and she has told me to phone them straight away in future and they will book my blood tests.

l have an implanted port. I have had it for about 18 months. It is ok but my problem is trying to get blood tests. The phlebotomists aren’t trained to access blood via a port and they are unable to get blood from my veins. You can’t make an online appointment for a blood test via a port. I usually go to the chemo unit and ask them to do it for me but they don’t like me attending without an appointment. I have phoned them and left a message on their answer phone but they haven’t returned my call. 
Does anyone know what is the correct procedure for getting a blood test if you have a port? 

  • Hi Onk, It is a while since I've seen you post and I was a bit concerned! I'm so pleased, like me, you are still here to tell the tale. I don't have a Port but I am sure others who have will be along to let you know what their team do!

    When the phlebotomist sees me coming, she runs! My veins don't like being prodded and keep moving when they think they have it...then realise they don't! I even missed my slot in theatre for surgery because even the anaesthetist couldn't find a vein! What they do now is use a hand held ultrasound to pinpoint the vein and it is a lot less stressful! Surely there is something in place for people with ports! I look forward to reading what it is.

    Take care,

    Love Annette x

    Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift!!!
  • Hi Annette - thanks for replying. Since radiotherapy, l have been struggling a bit… Sorry to hear that you have the same problem. I would normally recommend a port - it is brilliant but the problem is that it is difficult to get a blood test and you have to make special arrangements for a scan too. Not enough nurses are trained to use a port. It looks pretty simple to me. Wish l could do it myself! I usually have a schedule but this is supposed to have been delayed in the post!!! Xxx

  • Yes, I have heard of this problem for port users.    It's a shame you are feeling a reluctance from your day unit.  Surely it's their job?  Agree with more port training, simples!!  

    Shouldn't the unit be booking your bloods?  I did my bookings for a while when I had them done at the GP (my choice).  But then I realised it was simpler to get them done at my local hospital ( treatment/chemo place) because the unit would book them for me.  

  • Hi  

    I would have thought that if the bloods are needed for chemo and you've got a port, then it's the chemo unit that needs to do them. I would try ringing again and if they are reluctant to make an appointment, ask them where would they suggest. If you can't get through, I would ring your oncologists secretary and explain the trouble you're having. The whole point of a port is to make access for bloods etc easier for you not harder. Good luck.

    A x

    What is a Community Champion?

    I am a Macmillan volunteer. 

    Macmillan Support Helpline

    0808 808 00 00 

    7 days a week between 8am -8pm

  • I don’t know what’s going on to be honest. I was supposed to have a nurse’s review on Tuesday. I could have asked her to book a blood test for me but nobody phoned either on Tuesday or today. Perhaps she’ll phone tomorrow… 

  • Thank you but l have had this problem for months and months. I did email my oncologist’s secretary about 3 months ago and then she did put blood test appointments on my schedule. But this year l haven’t had a printed schedule at all. I phoned the nurses who told me my appointments and they asked me to phone the chemo unit to make blood test appointments for this week and next month. I left a message on the chemo units answer phone. I left  my hospital number, date of birth, NHS number and my phone number but nobody has called me. I don’t know why they don’t think it is important. I was supposed to have a nurses review by phone on Tuesday but nobody bothered to phone. If l call anyone about it now, l know l will burst into floods of tears. So l’m just going to leave it. I have enough chemo drugs to keep me going for a few weeks…

  • Hi  

    I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you're having. I can understand how you feel because I get upset when I am frustrated and annoyed. If you're not in a good place to call, email the oncologists secretary again, also if you can, email the chemo unit. At least then you have a paper trail to to show that no one is answering you. Keep going onk, you've got through worse than this. Big hugs to you.

    A x

    What is a Community Champion?

    I am a Macmillan volunteer. 

    Macmillan Support Helpline

    0808 808 00 00 

    7 days a week between 8am -8pm

  • Thank you very much for your encouragement and advice. I phoned my Macmillan nurses again this morning (they are so wonderful!) They phoned back when l was out but left a message with my husband to say l have a blood test appointment for tomorrow 9.00am at the chemo unit. Thank goodness. I am going to try to have a good chat if l can with the receptionist/nurses and try to formulate a plan so l don’t have to go through this stress again. 
    l have been looking at your own story. You have been through so much and done amazingly well! X

  • Hi Onk, I'm so pleased you got your appointment sorted and I agree you should explain the problem while you are there in the morning! Getting blood taken should be one of the easier appointments but unfortunately nothing seems easy these days.

    I do hope you get these appointments sorted out and get them onto a schedule so this won't happen again! Good luck!

    Ive to get a full blood count next week, so fingers crossed but I have a rule, if they don't get it by the 3rd try, they have to get someone else to do it. My rule is " 3 strikes and you are out!" X

    Love Annette x

    Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift!!!
  • Thanks Annette. Good luck with your blood tests. You never know your luck, they might get in there first go!