inserting a hickman line

Hi, thought the following experience may be of help to someone. Four weeks ago i had a RS MX and start my chemo tomorrow. Today i had a line inserted into my left upper chest and neck area. This i was told is because i have small and difficult veins to find and will be far better for me and the hospital staff when it comes to administering my chemo or any other drugs etc.
i found it really unpleasant although it didn’t hurt and the staff were just fantastic with me. i ummed and agghed over having sedative to begin with but ended up asking for some. Thank goodness i did as it helped so much with the whole procedure. I would certainly recommend having what ever they offer you. I’m feeling uncomfortable in my neck area at the front it feels taught and this is bothering me. Has any one else had this experience? Hoping its just a tempory issue. Start Chemo tomorrow. EB

HI there just bumping this up

Hi EB,

I had my Hickman line on Friday (03/06). This was because my veins were going hard after my 2nd FEC. I found the whole procedure quick and, apart from the local anaesthetic, which smarted a lot, quite painless. It only took about 15 mins for the procedure itself, after all their faffing about with CT scans and getting me prepared. I had my FEC3 through it yesterday and the difference from having in a cannula is amazing! It came up in a reall beautiful bruise and I panicked a bit when I saw it but it was only bruising in the end and I can’t really feel it now, 4 days after having it put in. It was so quick and easy and I really wish I had had it right from the start, as you are doing. You have certainly done the right thing.

I tuck my tube into my bra during the day and then, at night I wear another, softer bra and tuck it in there. No mishaps up to press!

All the best for your future treatment.

Sue. xx

Hi EB, sorry for what you are going through. I have a hickman line too and I can honestly say that having it put in was the worst thing I have experienced throughout this whole bl00dy thing! I was (allegedly) given a sedative, they said I would feel all pleasantly woozy like I’d had a few drinks. Well I didn’t feel sedated at all, just upset and anxious so so much for that! My overriding memory is of lying on the table with tears running down my face :frowning:

I felt very uncomfortable and aware of it for the first few weeks but then it settled down. If it is bothering you then I would definitely mention it to someone when you are next at the hospital and just make sure everything is okay.

Although having it put in was horrible (and I still hate having it and how it looks) I will say that I have come to appreciate it as a necessary evil. I do feel quite relived when it is treatment time (I have finished chemo now but still on herceptin) and I don’t have to worry about needles and finding veins etc. It makes taking blood a doddle too. So there definitely are up-sides. I hope you get used to yours and your treatment goes well. Very best wishes to you xxxx

Sue, I just saw your message as I was posting this, best wishes to you too xxx

Hi EB,

I had the same experience as you, not painful as such but horribly uncomfortable and I wasn’t offered a sedative. I don’t normally consider myself a wimp but I did find this hard for some reason. That aside, because I also have difficult veins due to another illness, I was pleased that it made treatment and bloods so much easier. Mine was taught around the insertion area and a bit sore for a few days but it soon settled down.

I would add a word of advice for anyone having a line fitted - they can be prone to infection which is why they need to be flushed once a week. Mine got so badly infected that it almost carried me off (the infection that is, not the line! :D). However I am ‘the exception that proves the rule!’ :smiley:

If you experience any sort of pain or problem around the line during the course of your treatment let the staff know just in case.

On the whole it is a great idea and makes treatment so much easier and pain free, and notwithstanding the problems I had, I’d still opt for one if I had to go down this route again.

Best of luck with your treatment!

Nymeria x