Sunday, December 14, 2008

Installation of a Port Catheter

This post may be TMI (too much information) for some, but I found the whole thing pretty interesting and something I was unfamiliar with. In order not to turn me into a perma-pincushion, and because I have crummy veins according to the health care professionals, the doctors have installed a port catheter. Essentially this is a procedure where they cut a hole in my skin over my second rib (right near the center of my chest and just below the collarbone), run a wire through my aorta toward my heart and up my neck followed by guiding in a tube that will always be open and in the vein. This connects to the port, a large button-type device that is stitched in under the skin and can stay in for years, as long as its flushed with saline every 4-6 weeks. This works by giving them a vein for drawing lab work and administering medication (primarily chemotherapy) without a huge production each time, although they do still have to pierce the skin to get into the port. I happen to have a two-port catheter, so they will trade off as I get chemo week to week. Bottom line: this was a "small" procedure that is to me a big deal, and hurts almost as bad as the original surgery. I still have one more day before I can shower (sponge baths work, but man do I feel gross) so Monday I will be up early to bathe, trust me.

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