Thursday, May 21, 2009

Out with the Port

My Onc said that I could schedule my port removal at any time as he didn't think I would be needing it soon. Although it was nice to have during chemo, the claims about using it for the blood draws never panned out because a nurse is required to perform the draw if you have it done through the port. I was willing to put up with the little pokes in my arm every three weeks as I really wanted to get out quickly. If you wait for a nurse, you have no way to gauge the time required.
The port is placed just under the skin on top of the muscle. The little tube is fed upwards over the collarbone and into the jugular vein.


Before: If you pop open the image you may be able to see the tube just under my skin.

The removal was scheduled to occur at the LHCP and once again, checking in was a cinch. LHCP really have their act together. I changed into the standard issue surgery gear and hoped they would be able to find a vein for the blood draw. No problems, blood draw went off without a hitch even though the vein was tough to locate. The prep nurse entered again and explained that she would have to poke me for the IV. We discussed the fact that my veins were getting harder to find and we decided to try the back of my hand.


From my cell phone…I know, not so flattering. Laurie tells me that my frames mask the lack of eyebrow hair. I also look very swollen.

Anyway, you can see the IV line and I must say, despite the prep nurse warning me that the back of the hand is more sensitive than the inner elbow, the pain from this poke ranked up there with the bone marrow sample only it didn’t last as long. Felt like a long bee sting so I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. The site still smarts two days later. Although they used conscious sedation during the surgery, I took advantage of the legal high and drifted off blissfully. There was only one incision so I questioned how they pulled the line from my jugular vein without a spectacular internal bleeding event. Apparently direct pressure for a short period gives the jugular vein enough time to self heal. Pretty cool.

So here is the aftermath so far:


and the best part: They let me take the port home as a trophy:


I keep it in a plastic sample jar …it smells a little like rotten meat.

My lower left leg blew up a little yesterday afternoon and I have been feeling some pain along the inside of my knee. I called LHCP just before 5pm to see if I should be worried and they suggested that I go to ER in case I may have developed a blood clot. I had been experiencing this edema since the Fall before my diagnosis so an evening in the ER only to have them say, “lay off the salt for a few days,” wasn’t on my shortlist so I’m monitoring the situation today. I know, I know…when did I get my medical license?

Still waiting for the Cancer WellFit course to start.

Next up, more healing.


  1. I had a CVC ... central line on my chest for 8 months that finally got infected. I now have a PICC line on my left arm ... because I am on chemo indefinitely, I will likely move to the port next.

    Thanks for sharing that information and the pictures too.

  2. "I keep it in a plastic jar smells like rotten meat."

    I would expect nothing less of a quote !!!

  3. Congrats Paul! It is nice to have the bump gone isn't it? I can't believe they let you keep yours... I don't know if I would have wanted it mine tho.
    Anyway, it looks like you are doing pretty well. I am happy for you!