another op - implanted port and TACT2

Hi everyone,
This is my first message and wondered if anyone else can help me out. I went to see the chemo suite and have bloods taken today ready to start soon and I have no veins!! They are all too thin and after an hour of being warmed, patted, my arm in a bucket of hot water, calling in the expert,clenching (hand and teeth) I was very kindly told that I have no chance of getting through the treatment without an implanted port. I am quite anxious about this being put in and just having a foreign body going near my heart. Anyone got some cheery comments please. My first worry is how they do the op when they cannot get into a vein and how I will cope with chemo after an op. Secondly I just joined TACT 2, will hear soon which arm I am on unless they don’t want me now. Have I done the right thing joining this?
Hope you enjoy the long weekend everyone
Take care

Hi Lily and welcome to the forums,

You may find the following link to the Cancerbackup site useful as it provides information and illustrations which will help you to understand more about having an implanted port or ‘central line’:

Breast Cancer Care has also written a publication about clinical trials which may be of interest to you, you can access this via the following link or by calling our helpline. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-2pm on 0808 800 6000 and our team of specialist nurses are on hand to offer you support, information and a ‘listening ear’:

Best wishes

Hi Lily

I too have to have a port inserted 19th May and was a little anxious. They are inserted under a local and semi sedation. They save a lot of poking, prodding and pricking!

I am looking forward to having mine done.

As Lucy has stated - go the the cancer bacup website and put your mind at ease.


Hi Lily

Sorry to hear you have to join us and your veins aren’t so good. I have deep veins so they struggle with me too.

Just wanted to say I am TACT2 Trial along with quite a few others on this site. I am on arm 4 of the trial accelerated chemo. I am having my last Epi this week…yahoooooooo.If you type in tact2 under search you may see a few threads on it.

Good luck

All the best


Hi and thanks for your messages, very welcome.
Thanks Lucy, I will check that out too, I have been reading some books on it. Anita67, I was told it would be a general anaesthetic by the BC nurse, so very interested that yours is under a local. At present it may delay my start chemo date of 16 May. Hoping they will all do miracles and get it over with pretty quick. Expecting to hear on Tuesday.Did you have any the normal way before they planned it?
Paula43, thanks, I read that and will go back to it once I know which arm I get, so I can focus on the similar ones.I am piling through books from Amazon and it really helps to keep you on the ball with the relevant questions.

Good luck with everything Lily. I think joining the TACT2 trial is very well worth it … let us know what arm you get.


My port was put in under ‘conscious sedation’, which is intravenous sedation in the back of the hand, with local anaesthetic on the insertion site. I’ve had this a lot for dental work so knew what to expect - you are technically awake but don’t know what’s going on, and have no memory of it. I woke in my hospital room two hours after the op, had pain the first night which nurofen took care of, and was off painkillers by the following afternoon. I have bloods taken from it as well as chemo into it as my veins are hopeless, and I asked for Emla cream to take home so I can numb it before going in each time, though the prick into the port is nothing at all like a needle in the arm. It is still slightly tender and would hurt if I bumped it, and I need padding under a seatbelt. Ask to see one - the tube is long, soft and narrow, goes up to the neck where it joins the main vein leading to the superior vena cava, just above the heart. I’m delighted with it! Lyn xxx

Sorry that wasn’t clear, the tube is actually fed through that main vein and reaches to just above the heart.

Hi Lily,

I too have cr*p veins and have an implanted port. It had the op in Nov 06 done under general anaesthetic. The hospital I attend is the Royal Marsden and I was told they only ever do it this way. For years I suffered the hunt for a vein so I really appreciate having the port. It’s a hell of a lot better than hickman lines!! with all its dangly bits LOL. Hope all goes well and you get started on your treatment soon. I actually photographed mine soon after I had the op and have put a photo of it on the other site.


Which is ‘the other site’?

Thanks for all the great info. My operation has been moved to this Monday thanks to my BC nurse making it urgent, what a star. Chemo is delayed but only until 20 May so I am pleased things are moving on. I meet the vascular surgeon tomorrow so will find out more then. Anita 67 are we on the same sort of time scale? I will try to get back to tell you more when I speak to him. They are giving me a week to get it to heal it a bit before my chemo starts. Paula 43 and Gilliang - thanks , I got arm one which I didn’t want because it is the longest, time wise and I go onto half pay before it finishes and I still have radio to go after this. I started a new thread and hope some arm ones may reply too.Not looking forward to epi, did you have a cold cap or go naked!! I can see good points in this arm and the alternative was FEC so there is a difference of one drug, but I really wanted to try the capecitabine. Palomino, I have asked for Emla cream and they said yes so thanks for that tip. Your description made me go a bit wobbly but it is best to understand these things so I appreciate the info. They have already said they won’t take blood out it unless given no choice by my unhelpful veins.
Thanks everyone I will sleep better tonight thinking I will miss out on the ‘hunt a vein.’
Hope the sun shines for you tomorrow
lily x

Hi thanks for the whisper, I tried before but could not get in.
Thanks I saw the vascular consultant today and he is going through the neck, which sound bad to me and he is ‘tucking the other end in my heart’ The tube is 22 cm long apparently and I do have to have a general for it to go in. I am not sorry to miss this great event and should be out the same day if they don’t OD me this time, and have to keep me in recovery for ages. Even 2 paracetamol will knock me out so I am jelly when they get the morphine out.
One of these days, hopefully 20 May I will actually get to start chemo. It seems like a long run up to it.
Lily x