A woman with a port on her chest

Chest Port Deets

The little piece of material that lies just underneath the skin in your chest was very helpful to me during my chemo treatments. I didn’t even hesitate when my oncologist advised I have the port installed because I was so tired of nurses pricking me trying to find a vein in my arm.

A time before my chest port

The subtype of ovarian cancer that I had presented as a very dangerous symptom. I wound up in the ER because I couldn’t breathe. A chest CT found that both lungs were full of blood clots and I had to be admitted to the hospital to get them treated right away with Heparin as well as a strong antibiotic as I also had pneumonia in 1 lung.

I had an IV in each arm for 3 days and the nurses informed me my blood would get very thin and they apologized each time they had to draw blood to check the heparin level. It was tough for the nurse to find a vein that would give blood every 4 hours. I learned real quick that I felt such compassion for people with diabetes who have to check their glucose multiple times a day.

Blood draws and drug infusions became less painful

When I found out that I would have 1 needle stick (to access the port) each time I went in for chemotherapy I was elated. I said SIGN ME UP.

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It was such a pleasure to have blood drawn and drugs infused right through the port each time I showed up at the clinic. All the nurse has to do is line up the needle to the port (which they palpate and it's very easy to find) and BAM, immediate access. There is no “missing” the port like trying to start an IV in your arm.

What is it like getting a port?

The surgical procedure to put it in was painless. You are 100% awake but are a touch loopy with the drugs they give you to relax you. It took less than 10 minutes from the time the surgeon started to when it was finished.

There is a period of 2 days after the procedure where you feel as though there is this “thing” sticking out of your chest. Your body is learning to adjust to this “thing” and then all of sudden you wake up one day and you don’t even notice it’s there.

The benefits of a port were a game-changer

The benefit of not having to worry about starting an IV was a game-changer for me. You want something during your cancer journey to create ease in your life and not stress. The chest port provided that for me. I lost count after it was accessed over 10 times. I just felt so grateful that no one had to hunt for a vein in my arm while I was on a blood thinner.

From the time it was put in to when it was taken out was exactly 1 year. The procedure to take it out was also 100% painless. You just felt pressure and “tugging” while they gently removed it.

In summary, I am a huge fan of the chest port. The feeling of not worrying about an IV in my arm caused such relief to me.

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