Saturday, 21 September 2013

Bye-Bye Port-A-Cath, Forever?

Well, so much for that Port-A-Cath. After only ten months, my Port-A-Cath abscessed and had to be removed. Apparently this usually happens in patients with little extra fat. I guess I just got lucky, not thin.

The removal surgery, two weeks ago, was fairly straightforward. It was done with local anaesthetic and dissolvable sutures. I needed to be careful not to lift too much, which is hard with a new puppy who isn't confident on the stairs. Afterwards, I had to have my Herceptin and Pamidronate by IV, which went well.

Next Thursday, I am scheduled to have a new port inserted on the right side, just in time for my next treatment. But I am having second thoughts. I have been off chemo nearly a year. The Tamoxifen is keeping my tumours stable. I get Herceptin and Pamidronate every three weeks. If I understand right, they aren't as hard on the veins as chemo is. I don't know if I have mentioned it before but I form keloid scars -- scary scars that keep growing for years, long after an injury has healed. Did my skin's nature play a role in my port's abscess and erosion?

I could really use some advice. Do I really need to get a new port put in? Should I just wait until the day when I need chemo again? Or should I be protecting my veins from the Herceptin? What do you guys think?


  1. Hi Kate… I have only had experience with a port-a-cath during stage III, prior to my stage IV dx. I had the port version prior to the power port. In typical fashion, my body started to reject it and they had to remove it. Something wonky happened in the artery the tube was in, we feared a clot but it wasn't that. The area has been strange since.

    I had a PICC line prior to the port-a-cath. The PICC was great, except for the fiddly nature of it, weekly visits from home care nurse to clean it etc… It was less invasive than the port and I didn't mind it a bit, wondering if that wouldn't be best for the rest of your Herceptin, leaving the good side of your chest for another port down the road if needed for further chemo.

    I finished my initial Herceptin treatments with IV's, which were difficult as I had one arm to use… and of course the vein's were in bad shape... but that was prior to any thought about needed the veins again so soon.

    much love...

  2. First of all, congratulations on your new puppy! No matter what I am sure the puppy is keeping you very busy and juggling not lifting can be difficult. My friend was able to have her port be on the inside of her arm where they run a line from the artery and they are able to have the port in a different place than the chest. She's had no problems with it and my friend that had it in her chest had all sorts of issues.
    Anyway I just wanted to make sure that you knew about this since I went with my friend when she had it put in so I knew what the doctor did since he demonstrated on me.
    I think you have to follow your instincts about whether to get one now especially balancing the needs of you and your puppy. I don't know if this info was helpful but I figured I'd tell what I know. Hugs and xoxo - Susan

    1. Thank you, Susan. I have been asking about the arm possibility. No one was able to tell me if they will do it that way here. I've made a decision. I'll post again soon.

  3. I had a picc.... it worked.... I didn't like the bruising that I saw in patients that weren't candidates for a picc or port.... I don't know about you though, another port or a picc.... I can't advise. Sorry. Hugs.

    1. Thanks, Lucia. I am leaning towards a PICC next time I need chemo. See this evening's post for my decision. ~Kate