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Portacath experiences?

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Portacath experiences?

Lola, I had EXACTLY the same experience as you when I too was admitted to hospital after REC 3.
Not one person at the hospital I was admitted to had been trained to use the Portcath and they were scrabbling around playing 'search the vein'! In the end I had the needle inserted into a vein in my foot - the most agonising experience ever! 😞 I am more vigilant than ever now, absolutely intent on avoiding a further hospital stay at all costs!
The Portocath is used by the chemo unit staff, primarily to administer treatment through it - but they also occasionally take bloods from it too. It is the best decision I made to have it fitted.
The chemo unit normally take bloods from a vein in my hand for standard blood tests to avoid infection, but will use the portocath on the morning of treatment too in the event that blood tests need to be repeated prior to treatment taking place (this has happened a couple of times with me when bloods were a bit lower than they wanted) xx

Re: Portacath experiences?

Just as an addition to what Vercors said. I have my bloods taken by the District Nurse at home. Last time she came she said the nurses had been to the chemo unit for training on how to use the portacath and that she could now do this. She then said she hadn't actually done one, and I would be the first. I immediately said "no thankyou". Once every few weeks I can manage to have bloods taken from my arm, and my veins are quite good. I have never seen anyone more relieved than that nurse!!!! She was petrified of getting it wrong and damaging the port, not to mention me!

I was also hospitalised on my first cycle for 3 nights, with constant blood checks and a cannula for the antibiotic drip. None of the nurses on the Medical Assessment Unit or the ward I was incarcerated in were trained to use it, and there was no way they were getting anywhere near it as far as I was concerned! I was quite happy to have the tests and antibiotics done the old fashioned way!

The chemo nurses use it for everything, and it is brilliant.

Re: Portacath experiences?

I had mine fitted under general anaestetic, last September, and I love it. My hands are now free from bruises. As already said by Mejane and Lola, it will heal quickly. It sometimes dig into my when I sleep on my side; I just need to shift a bit and ai am OK.
Being able to swim and shower, really allow to have a more normal life. There is only one tiny drawback, whick I only found out after having it fitted. This is the fact that phlebotomist can't take blood from a portacath because they are not nurses. In my case it means a trip to the hospital if I want to get blood taken as none of the nurses are trained at my GP's surgery.
good luck with your treatment ladies.

Re: Portacath experiences?

Namaste - I endorse everything Lola says, you will be bruised for a few days but will soon just feel the port itself, which is hard and a raised up, but the pain from bruising should completely disappear. You will just be aware of the plastic port itself just under the skin, which will be painless.
I also had my portocath done under local and although it was an uncomfortable experience, weeks down the line I would say that it was the best decision I made to have it! It makes treatment much easier all round, there is no dancing around searching for non- exist ant veins - and you also avoid bruising to your hands/arms and also avoid pain in your veins from the point at which the needle goes in.
I think after a while you will be very pleased to have the port. Another plus is that it needs minimal maintenance of your part, just a three weekly flush which the nurses do - and that's it. Once it's healed, you can shower, bath and do everything you normally do without having to worry about covering it up/ getting it wet etc.
I hope your bruising clears up soon. Very best of luck with your treatment - and your Portocath! 😉 xxx

Re: Portacath experiences?

Thanks very much for your reply. Seems I was panicking a bit 🙂 but now I know what the lump is I'm ok with it! I'm sure I must have been told what the portacath would be like but there's been so much info I just didn't take it in.
It's great this site is here so I can ask questions without feeling too silly!

Re: Portacath experiences?

Hi Namaste,

It is the actual port that you can feel. This sits just underneath the skin so is "hidden" but needs to be able to be found by the nurses when you have your treatment, hence you can feel it. It is a plastic drum type of contraption. It takes a bit of pushing and shoving to get the port and the attached tubes in place,so you will be bruised for a couple of weeks but this should die down eventually. I had mine fitted under local anaesthetic and within a few days I couldn't feel any pain, just bruising. I was able to sleep on that side almost immediately. I can feel the port under my skin (the hard lump) and it it can be seen protruding through some of my tops.
However, it is my new best friend, and I am sure you will find the same. Not many chemo patients are lucky enough to have one fitted.

All you need to watch out fo in addition to a raised temp is redness round the whole area.


Good luck xxx

Portacath experiences?

Hi all..... I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with TN breast cancer. I had an umbilical hernia op booked already so it was decided to have the hernia repair and at the same time have a sentinal node biopsy and a portacath fitted. All was done on Weds (1/5) so still early days.
I don't know if I'm being paranoid or overly cautious or what because I just don't know how this is supposed to feel.
I'm very bruised and sore all over but the portacath site has a hard lump. Is this normal? Is it part of the bruising that will go down eventually?
I'm not asking for medical advice just other experiences.... after all, we're all so different and we all react differently to treatments. I know about temperature for infection etc but I don't want to cause a fuss if a swelling is on the range of acceptable at least at first. 🙂