Ready To Have Your Chemo Port Removed? Relax. It Wasn’t So Bad.

Are you getting ready to have your chemo port removed? Wondering what surgery is really like? The anxiety that can come with any upcoming cancer treatment or doctor appointment can many times turn out to be worse than the actual procedure. Hopefully, sharing my experience with you can help relieve some of that for you.  This is a procedure that is quick and usually quite simple. Of course, as with all surgeries there can be complications.

I chose to make a video of the procedure to help others on their journey.  Mostly due to the fact that as a patient ready to have this surgery, I could not find a similar situation with a port removal video.  My surgeon’s office kindly recorded this for me on my IPad knowing that it would be released to help educate other patients. I was blessed with an amazing team of compassionate surgeons.

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This is me during my TCH treatment on a “good” day.  Here, you can clearly see my port in place.

 

My port-a-cath was in place for over 13 months.  I was able to keep it free of infection without any issues throughout my treatment.  I elected to have it removed immediately after my last infusion since I had already decided that I would never be using it again, no matter what may lie ahead.   It was large for my body size and quite uncomfortable from the time it was placed. It protruded from my chest so much that I often bumped against it accidentally.  The area is still an itchy reminder of having a port in place.  There is a visible depression into my chest where it once was. Having said all of this, I am so grateful that I had a port in place for my infusions. I could not imagine what the different chemotherapies would have done to my arm and veins. If you choose to have chemo, I highly recommend a port if you require long term infusions. Some chemo or immunotherapy is taken for a much shorter duration, and some are not as toxic to the body. For these situations, a port is not always necessary.

I initially refused chemo, but then learned of my unique diagnosis and aggressiveness of these cancers. I now really wish I would have known more prior to treatment.  I would have not taken Taxotere or Carboplatin. For personal and medical reasons. These were “preventative” chemotherapies.  I sometimes think I should have stuck to my guns and done nothing at all besides the cannabis oil and healthy living, but the immunotherapy drug Herceptin may, or may not have helped saved my life.  These infusions happen over the course of about a year, so the port was definitely worth it.  Although Herceptin appears to have possibly caused damage to my heart.  I will never know what exactly has “worked” or “not worked”.  I do know that I am beyond thrilled to still be alive 4 years out from diagnosis with no evidence of active disease.  So I will keep on doing what works for me.

This is the live video of my port being removed shortly after I completed chemotherapy for my bi-lateral breast cancers.  I chose to have it done in the surgeon’s office, with a local anesthetic.  Besides the small irritation of the local injections, it was pretty comfortable. Post-operatively, it was a very easy recovery.  Ice Packs were applied as directed.  No pain meds were necessary.  After surgery the area immediately felt less irritated and inflamed.  If you are ready to have your port removed, chances are this is not the most difficult part of your breast cancer journey.  Take a breath and pat yourself on the back for being the amazing person that you are.  You’ve come a long way, warrior!

 

WARNING: The following contains graphic footage of my port removal surgery.  If you are sensitive to this type of material, you may not want to view the video.  Watch at your own discretion.

During the video, you will hear my surgeon describe what he is doing as he is operating.  I hope this can help you shed some of the fears or anxiety that you may have had in regards to your port removal.

I do not own the rights to the music that happened to be playing in the background.

This is my personal experience and opinions expressed in this article.  As always, everyone has a different situation that they may be dealing with. Please be sure to work with your doctor, and research what is the right path for you.

Sending love and blessings to everyone on their journey.

XOXO

Dawn Ann

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