“How do they put the chemo in?” Fair question. If you are only having a few chemos, the doctor will sometimes just have the oncology nurses access a vein just like a normal blood draw. If you are having multiple chemos, it is much easier and less painful on the veins to have a PowerPort installed in your chest. When I had chemo directly infused into a vein in the hand (the very first time before I had my port), my hand burned and they had to keep warm compresses on it while the chemo drug worked its magic. My port is located on my right side directly beneath my collar bone, so it doesn’t interfere with the seatbelt in a car. Inserted surgically two years ago, it can remain in the body indefinitely. It can be used for blood draws, injecting MRI contrast dyes, or administering chemo. Dr. D says he usually takes them out two years post chemo. The PowerPort gives the nurses direct access to the veins. To access the port, they punch a special needle into the port. There is a cold spray that can be used, but I think the spray hurts as much as the needle, so I always go with no spray. After the chemo is complete, the port is flushed with heparin and the needle is removed. A small bandage (just like a blood draw) is put on the access point.
1. It doesn’t affect your ability to swim or take a shower.
2. It doesn’t set off metal detectors as airports.
3. They undersold the pain of insertion, but it doesn’t hurt now.
4. It can be used for regular blood draws, but the needle used is a special needle.
5. Only specially trained folks can access it.
6. It can be used within a few days of being implanted, but it will hurt few weeks.
7. On some people, you don’t notice the port, but mine pokes through the skin like an alien head. My daily life doesn’t include a lot of bikinis, so no problem there.
8. For people with bad veins, this is a life saver!
9. Only one “stick” takes care of blood draw and chemotherapy infusion.
10. There are no problems exercising with a port, so get out there!
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