Port and breathlessness et al........

Hi - I had a port fitted under general 10 days ago - the day before my 3rd EC. I fully appreciate I now have a foreign body in my chest and things will feel different but according to the consultant (who I last saw 5 days post op) I shouldn’t be having the symptoms I was describing at the time and which I still have: A feeling of permanent pressure in the port area and difficulty taking a proper deep breath, breathlessness on doing the simplest of tasks, silly little cough caused by tight chest, sleeping isn’t easy … given the law of gravity the port exerts pressure on ‘whatever it shouldn’t be’ when I lie down so have to sleep sitting practically vertically, and I also get the occasional shooting pain through the area. I went to the chemo unit with these symptoms 4 days post op and they took another chest x-ray and as far as they are concerned it is clear and the lungs were not damaged during the insertion. (However, they did discover a blod clot in my shoulder as I was complaining of a very sore arm so it is daily Tinzaparin injections for me for the forseeable future… just what I needed!). The area still looks very bruised and I am hoping it is something that will clear with time and may be due to internal bruising, swelling… I’m loathe to go back to the consultant as I assume if he thinks I am that unhappy with it he will suggest removal… I just want to know what is the ‘norm’ - if there is such a thing, and wonderied if anyone has or has not had a similar experience with their ports?? Thanks Sophie x

Hi Sophie,

I had my port fitted under local anaesthetic on 3rd April (a little under 3 weeks ago). I had 3 stitches removed from my neck scar a week later, and will have the stitches removed from the port site on Wednesday. I had my first chemo with it 5 days after insertion.

So far so good. The area was quite bruised for a while and was tender when touched, but this disappeared fairly quickly. I never needed a painkiller. I have slept on that side normally. I have had no real pain, certainly no chest pain or pressure pains. I honestly forget it’s there.
The worst bit has been the neck wound. For a couple of nights it felt like I had something stuck in my throat when I swallowed when I was in bed, but that soon went, although the scar itself is a bit sore. It is red and angy looking. All the various nurses and doctors that have looked at it have said it isn’t infected. I wouldn’t say it is a problem.

I think you should pursue your concerns because it really should have settled down by now. Hope all goes well, Sophie, because in the end it will become your best friend. Linda xx

Hi sophie
I had my port fitted at the same time as my lumpectomy last December. I had a bit of discomfort and tightness to start off with and when I removed the steri strips I got an infection at the port site. Strong antibiotics and all cleared up. I can honestly say that I am glad it is there and your body should get used to it over time . I sleep on the side that it is in with no problems. Probably it is the problems of the clot, so hopefully things should settle down once clot dispersed. Remember as you are having chemo all your healing time will take a little longer due to low blood counts etc.
just keep an eye on things and try not to worry .
i know easier said than done!
karen :slight_smile:

Thanks Linda - Distict Nurse and BCN also don’t think it is the norm so am pursuing the consultant… it is just getting that balance between not wanting to overreact but equally not wantng to ignore something that may not be quite right… Glad all going well for you. Sophie x

Karen - thanks for your post and glad your port settled down eventually - chemo seems a doddle this time round as have been so focussed on this port lark! All the best - Sophie x

Hi Ciccia, ask your consultant whether your current chemo regime might be causing these problems. I had a VERY unusual reaction to chemo which involved breathlessness and a dry cough (much worse when I had been at all active, like standing up). Although the xray was clear I had a CT scan which showed pneumonitis which was the cause of my problems. Steroids & antibiotics cleared it up. I believe I started having symptoms in FEC number 3 but not diagnosed for about 9 weeks.

I had a blood cot in my leg, which threw off pieces that lodged in my lungs, ie multiple small pulmonary emboli. That was the cause of my shortness of breath, but I had to have a spiral CT scan to show it.

Likewise a clot in the arm could possibly do the same thing. Did they start you on anticoagulants after your arm clot? If so, there might be no real urgency, but for me it was nice to know that was the cause of my feeling so grim!

Thanks for last 2 posts - interesting to hear other possible to causes - I will see what consultant says, if I ever hear back from him…

CT scan today - shows no PE - which is good news, but still no explanation for breathlessness… see what Onc says tonight.

Just to finish off my story… Port discomfort completely disappeared after they accessed it for the first time (11 days after insertion) for a blood test… (it had been used for chemo on the day after insertion but the surgeon had left in a line for use by the chemo nurses)…a bit of prodding, pushing and flushing must have dislodged something. As for the breathlessness…finally someone looked at my HGB levels and discovered I was very anaemic … so had a blood transfusion and feel much better, still a little breathless but that is probably due becoming rather unfit over the last 3 months! Sophie xx

Hooray! :smiley:

So glad to hear you are feeling better my friend! xxx