tests and surgery

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 12/29/2004 8:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey everybody
I'm having some tests done this week.  I had a pet scan today.  It wasn't that bad.  This coming Monday, I'm having a bone scan, chest xray, blood work, and ekg.  Then Tuesday morning I'm having the lumpectomy and they are going to check my lymph nodes to see if it has spread.  I'm facing radiation and chemo for about 6 months.  I need to ask you guys opinion.  My doc wants me to have a port put in for my chemo.  I'm only having the chemo every 3 weeks.  My best friend, whose husband also has cancer, says a port is not a good idea because it can get infected and have to be taken out and moved and all that.  What is the best thing for me to do? 
I really appreciate all you guys' encouraging words and prayers.  I'll let you know more as I know.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 12/29/2004 8:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh where is Jo-Ann tonight? She is in GA visiting her son, but she is the leading advocate for a port on this board. She still has hers years later, and will not part with it. True some do have problems now and then, but using a port saves veins from blowing in your arm. If lymph nodes are removed from your arm, then you should not have IVs or blood pressure taken in that arm again. So saving veins is important. I'm sure you will hear from others. I had no experience with chemo or a port, but I did have a PIC line which is similar when I had to have IV antibiotics over a long period of time. That worked great. Hugs MK

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 741
   Posted 12/29/2004 9:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I started without a port and only had one treatment before insisting that one be put in. It really makes the process easier. Like anything, there can be unusual problems, but I think it would be worth it.
Good luck,
Do not go gentle into that goodnight,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
~Dylan Thomas

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 12/29/2004 9:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I had no port, but had only 4 chemo treatments (AC), 3 weeks apart. When I asked my nurse about it, she suggested that I wait to see how I tolerated without it, since I had only 4 to worry about. I had great veins before chemo and definitely they are not great anymore. It usually took a couple sticks to get the IV in right, but that was ok with me. Blood draws now are not as easy as before, but they can still get me on the first stick.

Like everything else, this is such an individual decision. All of us have different side effects and reactions, that there is no one right answer for us all. In my case, I am glad I did not have a port. But those who had one, usually are very happy with it.

How many chemo's will you have? In my day, it was usually (not always) 4 chemos (AC) if node negative and 8 (AC + T) if node positive. That may impact your choice.
Good luck with the tests, and be sure to ask for copies of your results, you may wish to start a file.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 702
   Posted 12/29/2004 11:01 PM (GMT -7)   

I LOVE my port. I have horrible veins and the port has made my life so much easier. Besides treatment, they do all my blood work from the port, They access my port before any tests that need injections and most importantly, I have had numerous surgeries due to my bone mets and the Anesthesiologist uses the port ...It is wonderful.

The surgery to have it put in is an easy one. You are sore for a few days but no big deal. I went to work the next day.

Good luck on whatever decision you make.



Sometimes it is a slender thread, Sometimes a strong,
stout rope; She clings to one end, I the other;
She calls it friendship; I call it hope....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1090
   Posted 12/30/2004 4:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Well as one of the idiots that listened to people tell me I did not need a port.... I consider this the only really dumb decision I made. Now I have to qualify that statment with (as far as my treatment decisions go) I handled three treatments each one getting slower and slower. It was harder and harder to keep it in my vein. Seems after so much chemo your veins can not support the needle. I remember how many hours the last treatment took before I waved the white flag. I admit I am with Jo-Ann. I got my port and it was love at first treatment. The veins in my arm now live just below the surface and have turned a very dark color. If you were here, I would be glad to show you my arm and I would not have to type a word. You would run not walk for a port. I know if I ever need chemo again I will. I got my port in and went and had a Pats Cheese steak. When I had it removed I celebrated at Pats again. I mean even if it is a painless procedure, no sense telling anyone. Get them to treat you to your favorite something. Good luck. Joyce
People are like tea bags, you have to put them in hot water to see how  strong they are!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1294
   Posted 12/30/2004 5:38 AM (GMT -7)   
I did not have to make that decision so I am not an expert. I do know one thing though, I trust my friends here and always seriously consider their decisions and results.

I wish you good luck in any decision you make. I will have you in my prayers.

Love and hugs,


Many Blessings for the New Year



Life may not be the party

 we hoped for,

but while we are here we might as

well dance.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 700
   Posted 12/30/2004 6:03 AM (GMT -7)   
I did not have a port, I had 4 rounds of AC, but by the third treatment my veins were fighting back. They could only use one arm and it got extremely hard to find that vein. The fourth one they had to actually use my wrist. I wish I had know about a port and this board at that time. Things would have been much easier. Good luck with your decision, we are here for you.

Sara Dearing
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 829
   Posted 12/30/2004 6:38 AM (GMT -7)   
I LOVE my port. It will be 9 years old next month and it's like a Timex, takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Since it was put in, I have had two mastectomies, developed lymphedema in one arm and won't let them touch the other.
I was in the hospital last month, on some strong antibiotics for 8 days, and my port saved the day. In fact, when I had my second mastectomy, the side that the port was on, my main concern with my surgeon was that he save my port.
The port took several weeks to settle down but once it did, it has been a Godsend. I urge you to have the port put in and keep it until you see where this miserable disease is going. Damage to the veins could be permanent from chemo among other substances you will be injected with. It's just not worth chancing it.
Hugs, Jo-Ann
Now sing with me, ladies: Zippity Do Dah, Zippity A, Love my port each and every day.
A good friend will bail you out of jail...
but a true friend will be sitting
next to you saying,
"Dâmn... that was fun!".

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 12/30/2004 12:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Adding my two cents. Even though you are having chemo only every three weeks, you will have blood drawn much more often than that. A port can really save your veins all that trauma. Even before chemo started it was getting difficult to get blood from my one good arm just from all of the tests. Getting the port in was a piece of cake. True, it was a little annoying at first because of that unacustomed lump on my chest but after a while it became part of the territory. I was prescribed a small amount of blood thiner to prevent any problems with clotting, etc. and a tube of Emla cream to put on the port before it is accessed. The Emla numbs the skin and takes most of the ouch out of the procedure. In any case it's only one ouch, not ouch, ouch, ouch while they dig around for a vein they can use. About six months after I finished radiation my oncologist encouraged me to get the port taken out which I did. I'm coming up on my five year anniversary and haven't had any problems (knock wood) and my veins are in good enough shape to take blood the old fashioned way. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have been the case if I hadn't had the port. If you do decide to get one, try to get it done when you have your lumpectomy. That was you will save yourself a procedure. Good luck, Carole
In All Things, Give Thanks

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 12/30/2004 6:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Boy are you going to get lots of opinions on ports! I'll keep my story short (or try to). I didn't want one, no way no how. After 3 rounds of chemo and they couldn't tap my vein anymore they said 'oh we've blown your vein why don't you get a port'... I VERY RELUCTANTLY did, and even under the twilight anesthesia they said I kept asking the Dr. questions as he was putting it in (what an annoying patient I am ! heehee).

Anyway, it was THE BEST thing I ever did. It took about 2 weeks to settle in (ie. not feel funny/sore anymore) after that I was fine. I would put emla cream over it with a bandage 1-hour before my appt. and I didn't even feel them stick me AT ALL. It was SO EASY. As a mattter of fact, I had it in 17 months but I had to have it out, against my wishes. I didn't get an infection, but where the tube tied into my jugular it was red, like a hickey mark, and my onc didn't like it....so since we were done with chemo (& Herceptin I had weekly for 1 year), we took it out. I miss it!! Now whenI go they have to Tap Tap Tap my arm for the one good vein, and then they can't hit it and they have to use the one on the back of my hand, and that one HURTS! And I still have the red hickey mark, which I have to cover up with DermaBlend cream everyday, go figure!

So I would vote YES on the port!! That;s my .02.....good luck with your decision.
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 1/3/2005 9:05 PM (GMT -7)   
To Port or not to Port - that is the question.  I have had cancer twice.  First time, no port.  Second time - port.  I have to say that the port has been a life saver for ME.  My veins aren't much good and it makes things a lot easier, but you should go with your heart.  I didn't want a port but am so thankful for it now.  My surgeon also says it can be taken out in the office now with a medication to numb the area.  I think I'll keep it a while longer.
None of us can make your decision for you but give our opinions only.  My opinion is stick with the port.  I had it put in at time of surgery and have not been sorry yet but I'm not you and my situation is not yours.  Good luck with your decision.
Will be praying for good test results.  I think waiting for the test results is the hardest part of the disease.  Surgery, chemo, etc is DOING SOMETHING but test results involves a lot of waiting and wondering and that's hard!   Remember lymph node involvement or not, there is a lot that doctor's can do these days.  My first time I had three lymph nodes and I went eight years doing very well.  This time I only had one out of eleven.  Still doing good after all the crap that you have to go thru.  Don't ever give up, BC is not going to get the BEST OF ANY OF US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Teresa King

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 1/3/2005 9:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Guess I was a little late with my response.  Sorry, I've been busy having "twins"!  Starting to feel better and can't wait to see the final result!

Teresa King

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


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