Friday, October 3, 2008

Catching up on mediports...

These mediports are a piece of work. I found that out over a week ago when I needed to get mine installed. You see, this little valve gets installed into your body near the collarbone and is used to dispense chemo and draw blood. Great for someone like me whose left arm is staging a complete revolt with IVs and blood draws. Right arm blood draws aren't an option anymore because of lymph node removal.

So what do these things look like? There's a pic on the left side of the page.

These mediports are dialed into a vein and provide a stable and reliable way to give treatment. There's a plastic outline ring and in the center, a spongy-like rubber barrier that a needle is poked through. Great in concept. It really is. However, I thought my routine installation would go like a charm. It didn't. And much to the frustration of my doctor, who likened my mediport installation to requiring the use of 3rd string receivers in football, my mediport didn't want to install where he wanted it to. So it was a battle for over 2 hours to get the thing in. The doctor finally chose a neck vein for installation, thus resulting in this lovely whiplash feeling that I had for a week. Which resulted in my hair being so bloodied during surgery that they had to wash my hair.

Lucky me!

A week later, I could still feel the pain but it's lessened now. And the reason I'm adding this to the blog is simply to remind breast cancer patients that even the little "easy" procedures can sometimes get complicated. I wasn't prepared for this at all.

This difficult mediport installation delayed my chemo for a week because of pain and nausea. Given the great PET scan results, my oncologist wasn't too worried. However, fasting 2 times in one week (one for PET and one for mediport surgery) and the subsequent pain from the mediport procedure really screwed me up. Without a doubt, you need to be aware of your entire game plan for your own comfort. I wasn't.

I need to remind myself that I'm an individual and that I need to take advice that I receive with a grain of salt. Prepare for the worst type thing. So far, the advice I've received on drain removal, packing tape removal, mediport, chest pain, etc., has been entirely inaccurate. So I ain't asking anymore!!!!!

Bottom line: know what can go wrong. Because then you have something to cheer mightily about when it doesn't go wrong. See?

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