Sunday, March 28, 2010

03/24/10 - Chemo Chest Port

Posted 03/29. I almost forgot about this - again (you'll figure out the "again" when you read further). When I was at Moffitt on 03/23, my chemo port was "accessed" (basically a needle was stuck in my chest to easily attach intravenous (IV) connections) for multiple tests. Again, since my MRIs showed tumor growth, Avastin wasn't administered after my appointment with my neuro-oncologist when I would normally have my port de-accessed. As a result, my port was going to be de-accessed in the neuro-oncology clinic.

When Laura and I met with my neuro-oncologist's assistant, she told us about the negative MRI results and rushed (it was near the end of the day) to contact my radiation oncologist via phone. She returned and said that he made an appointment for me the next day, and checked to see if we had any more questions (which she had gone through previously), we said,"No" and left...

After we had dinner and drove home it was near 7:30pm. I just temporarily laid-back on my bed, and my cat Karl jumped onto my chest. As I pet him, I felt strange objects on my chest and immediately realized my port was still accessed! Laura, myself, and my doctors had all forgotten about it. At least it wasn't just me!

My port, accessed. Note tape to help hold some of the attached plumbing.

From previous experience, I knew my accessed port would be fine overnight. Luckily, the next day I called my radiation oncologist and he has (at least) two nurses, Linda and Laura. Linda prepared to remove my port at my 1PM appointment (it needs to be "flushed" with Heparin before removal, so she obtained some). The Heparin prevents clotting of blood in the port.

The needle, tubing, and IV accesses that were attached to my port

After Linda de-accessed my port (see removed "plumbing" above), I asked if I could keep the removed hardware. She really didn't want me to and Laura was strongly against bringing home my "biohazardous waste." So, I just took a few pictures of it. :(

A close-up of the needle that sticks into my chest port

I had the chemo port implanted into my chest early November of 2006, a few weeks after my brain tumor surgery. Kind of funny to post about the port now, but I went through how it is accessed, and to be complete, I guess I'll add a short description of the port itself next...

Parts and placement of the port

Basically, the port is implanted in my chest, a few inches below my right collar bone (clavicle). The port has a catheter (tube) that goes into my subclavian vein, as shown in the X-Ray (not an x-ray of me). My port is just below my skin, so I can feel it (with a finger) as well as its catheter. The port itself has a round area of thick silicon (likely?) into which a needle is inserted to access it and deliver medicines, blood transfusions, or draw blood for testing. It is more convenient than accessing a vein on your arm over and over, which can also physically damage the vein and some chemo drugs also damage smaller veins.

My port, days after surgery.

TMI(Too Much Information), but hopefully it will help another patient out there...


Blogger Big Monkey said...

It's a good thing you didn't bring that "hardware" home because I would have been on the phone to that show "Hoarders."

3/30/2010 5:35 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm NOT a hoarder!

People say that denial is the first sign of a problem or an addiction...

I'm NOT a hoarder!

3/30/2010 10:02 AM  
Blogger Big Monkey said...

(Humors the hoarder) Oh I see, I must have been mistaken. It's not biohazardous waste but a valuable medical souvenir.

(Cough Cough) Hoarder! (Cough Cough)

3/30/2010 7:34 PM  

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