Chemotherapy by Port Catheter
My Oncologist left me with a choice of either having a port catheter or have 5 months of chemotherapy injected directly into my veins. I choose the port catheter and I’m glad I did. When I had this decision to make I didn’t know anything about port catheters. I had to research and ask people.
Implanting the Port
Here is what the port looks like outside of the body. The device has a long tube leading into a small round port. This device is implanted under the skin. Mine was implanted at the top of the right breast. It is implanted on the opposite side from cancer. The tube then ran up under the skin to the collarbone and then inserted into the artery leading to the heart. The tube is pushed down the artery to about 1/2″ away from the entrance to the heart. I know it sounds scary! After a couple of weeks, I didn’t even notice the port under my skin at all.
The port has a plastic covering over what looks like small plastic pebbles in the center. The nurses used a needle called a bumblebee needle. It has wings that once folded down look like a yellow bee. The port allows for many blood draws and chemo drips.
Here is the scar incision for the port. The scar measures about a 1″. The second scar up by my collarbone is where they insert the tube into the artery down toward my heart. That scar is barely visible. It measures less than 1/4″. They are starting to lighten and go away.
The purpose of the port catheter is to push the chemo drugs directly into the bloodstream. My understanding was, if I choose the vein method the multiple chemo sessions using vein drips would eventually ruin my veins. The veins are too small to use like that. The artery is bigger and better. The smaller veins would at some point “fry my veins” according to the nurse. If you are only having a few chemo sessions this method would be okay but if you are like me where I had 5 months of chemo that was too many sessions for my veins to handle.
I must admit, I was a little scared to have the port catheter implanted. In the long run, I was glad I did. It worked out better for me personally. This may not be your best choice but at least the option is out there. I can’t tell you what is best for you. The only thing I can do is tell you what I did.
Read more about port catheters Here.
****DISCLAIMER**** I am not a doctor and do not pretend to be. The only thing I can do is express my thoughts and experiences. I am not giving medical advice. Your body belongs to you and you are the one to decide what is right for you.