The Portacath

When I started this blog, I had three intentions.

  1. Update friends and family on my status so I wouldn’t have to answer questions constantly.
  2. Blog it out – to have an outlet in which I could express all my joys and frustrations with this cancer monster, and hopefully about life in general when this is all over.
  3. Chronicle my experiences in the event that some woman, somewhere stumbles across my blog in her cancer journey and finds it informative, helpful, or even just feels a little less alone by reading it.

This post is mostly for reason #3.

When I found out I should/was going to have chemo, I initially thought I would not need a portacath (aka port, portable catheter, power port). When I was told I would, I panicked a little. I did not want another surgery or another scar. I googled around for images and of course saw some that did not make me feel better. So here is my port.


As you can see, it’s really NBD.

Surgery was easy, but recovery was a little harder than expected. I actually had more pain from this than from the lumpectomy. My neck and shoulder hurt a lot the first couple days, then the pain moved to the incision. Within a few days after that, though, the site was only a little sore and that was it.

The site has remained a little sore, and my surgeon told me it probably will stay that way until the port is removed. There is zero fat on my body there, so no cushion, which makes it a little tough on the area. That said, again, NBD – it only hurts if I bump it or roll the wrong way. Sitting here typing I could forget it’s even there. Also, my surgeon says they’ll take it out as soon as chemo’s done, right in his office, under local anesthetic. So not another major operation!

The plus side: I was hospitalized for four days over Christmas with neutropenic fever, and they used my port for all the antibiotics and blood draws, so only ONE stick and I had both arms free the whole time, which came in really handy while lying in bed since I was quarantined to my room. Okay but actually it did come in handy for things like sleeping, going to the bathroom, etc. Additionally, when I get my chemo, they numb it with lidocaine first so I don’t even FEEL the big stick, and then, again, for the hours I am there, full use of my arms.

When I was googling this bad boy, before I had it inserted, I came across a post that said that the port would be my best friend, and it totally is. I am so glad my arms aren’t getting brutalized by sticks, and after that 4-day hospital stay, if I could have kissed my port, I would have.

So if you have to get a port, don’t be scared! It’s fairly fast recovery, a small scar, and a godsend when it comes to IVs.

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