Should I get a port/ PICC or just hold off? - My Ovacome

My Ovacome

14,498 members17,027 posts

Should I get a port/ PICC or just hold off?

SASSY196
SASSY196

Hi Lovely Ladies,

I have just started second line chemotherapy ( carboplatin/ caelyx) after a rather short remission. My veins are now described as "shy' and it can be a bit of battle to get cannula in, but one I can cope with( and so far they've always managed). For some reason I have an anxiety about getting a PICC/ Port, think I see it as a step further from my previous normality and also don't know why but am concerned about side effects. Ladies, your advice is always so calming and helpful. What are your experiences? Would you hold out or go for it? Of course I know it will probably become non optional at some point.

Thank you in advance

All my love to each of you,

Sara xxxxxxxxxxxx

35 Replies

Hi SaraI can totally understand your reluctance to get a PICC or a port but in my experience you wouldn't regret it.

I was diagnosed a year ago with ovarian/primary peritoneal stage 4. I went through about 5 months of chemo just using one vein on right arm which eventually of course became damaged.

I then had a PICC in upper right bingo wing area which was great. Treatment then ceased as I had developed a left breast cancer and needed surgery (mastectomy) pretty quick. I took this break in treatment as a chance to get the PICC taken out as it is a bit dangly and you have to have it flushed weekly.

After my mastectomy in January I pushed to get a portacath fitted into right upper chest. The procedure is painless as they give you a sedative and I healed well. I'm back on chemo for both cancers now and the port is brilliant... I just put a numbing cream on an hour before I go to my unit for the chemo.

Without the removal of the PICC from my right arm I wouldn't have had an arm to do blood pressures on as my left arm is now not use able for any medical reasons because of possible lymphodoema and/or infection risks.

I'm glad I had my port and possibly would insist on a port from the onset.

Go for it... Its a lot better than you imagine and makes any vein accessing so straight forward now.

Good luck and big hugs whatever you decide upon.

Linda xxxxx

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to pants22

Thank you so much for your advice which is very reassuring. Life really has given you a kicking recently, I am so sorry and hoping your complicated treatment plan is going well xxx

Hi Sara, I have a port since 2019 & after having some bruising after having it fitted I have had no problems. I finished maintenance early Sept but unfortunately recurred 2 weeks later & am back on chemo again. When I come in for my chemo infusions I don't have to queue to have my bloods taken from my arm by the phlebotonist the nurses take it from my port & you don't need to cover the port when showering or swimming but I think you might have to with the picc line, some of the other ladies on here might be able to tell you if that is correct. Best of luck with whatever you decide & with your treatment 🌸X

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to Tulips66

Thank you so much for this, I think for me a port will be better option than picc as I love being in water. I'm so sorry about your recurrence after such a short time, hoping treatment going well xxx

During my first two chemo infusions, it had many pokes resulting in less than optimal veins which had to be monitored very closely. I then got a port installed in my left arm and it was wonderful for blood draws, infusions and fluid IVs. I did have it removed after frontline treatment as it had to be flushed every three weeks and I am 1 1/2 hour commute from the hospital. My doctor assured me that when I need further treatment I could have it reinstalled. I don't even have a visible scar from where it was, though that was the least of my worries.

I'll be thinking of you and wishing you the best of luck in you continuing treatment. This is a tough road we are all on but there are many moments of joy along the way, especially with the restrictions we have been living under being lifted.

Hi, I have a port now and totally understand your feelings it is like another invasion of your body. However it does cut the anxiety about will they find a vein and you can shower, today will be my 3rd chemo through it and I’m getting used to it. Best wishes I hope it works for you x

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to magicgirl7

Hi, yes that's part of the resistance, an invasion but it does make me anxious that a vein won't be found so I think it's almost port time. Thank you so much and wishing you all the best xxx

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to magicgirl7

Thank you so much. I think a port is way to go wishing you the best xxx

Port. I had it installed 68 months ago. Never a problem.

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to Ruebacelle

Thank you- that's reassuring. Wishing you the best xxx

Get it! I got mine in before my first round of chemo and like you I had a short remission and I have one more carbo/caelyx left in this round of 6. It makes it easier.Best of luck xx

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to IBouarroudj

Thank you for advice. So sorry about your short remission. Hope this treatment is doing the job. How has carbo/ caelyx been? Have you lost sense of taste? Xxx

IBouarroudj
IBouarroudj in reply to SASSY196

No, although it is slightly altered. I'm very very tired however. Only one left!! 😊 🤞

Port gets my vote too. And because I was over an hour from the hospital, my GP decided to use learning to flush it out for me as part of his 'Personal Learning Plan for that year!! The nurses were great at teaching him (much hilarity!) and he looked after mine for 5 years until it was removed because my cancer hasn't returned. Warm wishes and best of luck.

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to lesleysage

So pleased your cancer hasn't returned. I called my GP yesterday to ask if nurses would do and said no but I think I might write and suggest it's part of their learning! Would make life a bit gentler for me and am sure there are loads of other mes! Hoping cancer stays away forever for you xxxxx

I have a port but prior to that a picc, both have their different advantages, you can submerge in a bath or swimming pool with a port but not with a picc, more nurses are trained to deal with a picc, but it has to be flushed weekly whereas the port can be flushed every 4 to 6 weeks .... which is great when not on treatment.Dr google might give you more info but in my opinion both have their merits x Christine

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to Broader

Thank you. Yes I thought picc meant too many hospital trips although my husband is willing to learn. I'm a water baby so think port is way forward. Wishing you all the best xxx

Hi Sara

I felt exactly like you and declined either Picc line or a Port for both first and second line treatment. I just didn't want a permanent reminder that I had cancer , silly really as I was completely bald first time round 😂

Nevertheless I got through 12 rounds without one. The last couple of treatments were a bit difficult . I didnt regret my decision and if God forbid I have to have any further treatments I will try to get by without one.

It’s just my preference and how I deal with this disease but I know other women love their Picc/Port.

Good luck

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to K95m

Thank you for different perspective. I had weekly treatment for first line so veins been battered a lot but I think I am going to leave it for next treatment and see how goes, then go for port if needed. Also need to find out if treatment working ( although it *****y better be!). Hoping cancer leaves you alone forever xxx

My port has been absolutely wonderful. I had it put in under sedation and it was a doddle. Bit sore for a few days afterwards. Needle insertion is generally quick and trouble free.

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to Neona

Thankyou, all the best xxx

I felt the same about getting a PICC line, but when I finally admitted defeat after a whole morning spent in the chemo unit with heat packs, hot water and attempts at getting a vein in both arms, getting more and more upset, it worked out fine. I was lucky to be able to have the line done there and then, and when I recurred the following year, went straight for the line. I had it at my daughter's wedding - and no one noticed. I just bought a larger size jacket to give me looser sleeves. The second time round I got a much better protective cover which made showering and bathing much easier. I know a line has to be flushed and redressed weekly, and I had to go to a hospital quite a few miles away, but I made an outing out of it - buying myself a nice M&S lunch afterwards and going to the beach to eat it ( it was summer both times). Unfortunately my veins managed to get the better of the line and worked it out of place and it had to be replaced for my final chemo. The actual process is done under local anesthetic, and was much less traumatic than I'd originally imagined. The nurses said I'd have to have a port next time - and it looks like 'next time' is almost here 4 years on. All the best with your treatment. x

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to Numi

Oh I am so sorry that you are nearly at next tme. Thankyou for advice/info. Wishung you all the best xxx

Best thing I ever got. Wish I still had something similar so they could get bloods out of me easily and pain free. One poor nurse had 11 goes at getting blood and then ran away and got a colleague. It doesn't worry me when they have to treat me like a pincushion but I feel I have to keep apologising to the nurses. When I had the picc line I had to sleep with a cushion to support my lower arm but that was the only problem x

11 goes !!! I thought theres was a threshold of 2-3 ; thats rubbsh. I did have 3 anaethaestists tryng to get a line in after surgery, was rubbish- went on and on . Thankyou for advce/ info and wishing you well xxx

To be fair to her, I kept telling her not to worry and to try again. It did not really bother me but I feel so bad for the nurses who struggle with my veins x

Hi, I had my port put in of October 2019. It saves your veins. Donna xx

Thankyou, wishng you well xxx

Hi, Sara. I had a Power Port (manufactured by Bard) installed in July 2020, after my debulking surgery and before my first chemo. I won’t repeat the advantages mentioned by others, but I want to add that all my bloodwork is drawn through my port and contrast for my CT scans is injected though by port. Having a Power Port means agents can be injected rapidly such as by a CT scanner. Also my port need only be flushed every 90 days. That’s right, folks, just every three months. I am currently off chemo. I have my quarterly bloodwork though my port. Only thing, port can only be accessed by port/certified nurse. So I return to chemo nurses before I have a CT scan, so I can have them access my port, then I have to drive to another building for my CT scan. After the CT staff is finished, I return to chemo nurse who closes the port. A Power Port will have three little bumps on it, which in my case can be seen and felt through the thin layer of flesh that covers my port. Vain me is looking for a swimsuit that will cover my port. I am very glad I agreed to have port installed. So far, so good. No painful digging in my arms hunting for invisible veins. Best wishes from Louisiana, Sara. Sashay

Photo of Bard Power Port
SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to Sashay2020

wow - that sounds impressive, are you UK? Thankyou so much - I intend to ry to get anythng I do go for (but am going to try exercises first) compatble with CT Scan -Im at cancer specialist hospital so hoing thats possble

Sashay2020
Sashay2020 in reply to SASSY196

I’m on the US. I still have to drink the dye and then they run a line from the CT machine’s reservoir to my port and the contrast is injected at the right time. Heck, it could be the contrast that I drink and the dye that is injected. Not sure. 🙄 anyway, hope all goes smoothly for you!Sashay

Hi prior to second line chemo i was hesitating to take the port when the onco nurse recommended me to some exercise for the nerves to strengthen them .. she gave me a ball (kind of a stress ball which was yellow color n smile on it.) she asked me to press it when I sit in leisure.. alternating it in both palms .. which I did for the six months duration of 6 chemo .. surely it helped me .. finding the veins was an easy task n no poking n pricking.. hope this exercise helps you too 🤗

SASSY196
SASSY196 in reply to Guds

fabulous - gog to get one and try it. Thankyou

Hi sassyI started out with a PICC after my veins went shy in September 2018 during first round of chemo. Had it taken out in Feb 2019 when chemo finished as it was nothing but problems blockages weekly flushes gets caught in clothes. When I started on Avastin I had a port put in. So pleased I did it's under the skin has never blocked always flows well. I forget its even there. Now on second round of chemo and it's still working well. Would definitely go for a port every time. Good luck with your treatment.

HI SARA,

ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT I HAD A PORT PUT IN APRIL OF 2016. IT WAS THE BEST DECISION I COULD HAVE MADE AND IT HAS BEEN MY "BEST FRIEND". EVEN AFTER YOUR CHEMO YOU WILL BE HAVING PERIODIC BLOOD WORK AND THE PORT SAVES YOUR VEINS AND IS PRETTY PAINLESS WHEN ACCESSED. I WOULD SAY GO FOR IT!

BEST OF LUCK!

LEE

You may also like...