I am writing this post for anyone out there having a port put in, and for those who are just curious. When I was about to have mine placed, I was totally freaking out and I had a hard time finding any information about what the procedure would be like and what it would feel like to have a foreign body under my skin. Now that I’ve been through the process I’ve had the opportunity to share my experience with a few others who were afraid just like I was and I thought if I share the experience here, hopefully I will be able to help a few other people through it.
So, let’s start with the basics. A port-a-cath, or “port” is used to access the blood stream of a patient who will be undergoing frequent infusions, such as chemo or my liquid gold. It is placed in the muscle tissue in the upper right part of your chest (unless you shoot a gun apparently as I was asked that before I had my surgery) and a catheter runs up from the port to the bottom of your neck then into the vein. My port is a smiths medical and looks like thisAnd here is what it looks like in me
It’s not too terribly noticeable unless it’s bruised, which happens from time to time after an infusion due to my low platelets. Honestly, I think I’m probably the only one who really notices it much. It took me a little while to get used to it showing once tank top season commenced but I’m pretty much over it now.
Out of all the medical procedures I’ve had over the last year or so, this was the one that I was the most freaked out about. It was such a foreign concept to put a piece of titanium beneath my skin and it made me so uncomfortable. And I was scared about the process of having it put in, knowing that I would be awake and be able to feel it. But in the end, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. When they put it in, they do awake sedation. In other words, they give you an amazing drug that allowed me to finally understand drug addiction. Seriously, I was deliriously happy the entire time they were cutting me open and sticking this thing in me. Considering how totally freaked out I was by the entire idea, that really says a lot for awake sedation. I could kind of feel what was going on but I didn’t care. Not one bit. And I was actually sad when it was over and I knew that the amazing floating on the clouds feeling was about to end. Well, now that I sound like a total drug addict.. Moving on.
I really struggled with all of it for about the first week after my port was placed. Maybe it was all the stupid sci-fi movies J makes me watch but I was totally grossed out by the fact that there was something under my skin that didn’t belong there. I had a hard time looking in the mirror for a little bit. And for the first week or two, I could feel the catheter in my throat which made me feel like I perpetually had a burp stuck in my throat. You’re welcome for that graphic description. But it was surprisingly a lot less painful than I had expected. I didn’t have great range of motion for a week or so but it really didn’t hurt nearly as bad as I had expected. I have learned through all my medical adventures that the body is surprisingly able to withstand the knife, much better than we ever anticipate.
It didn’t take long before I was extremely grateful for having the port put in right away. It is so much more comfortable than an iv while getting an infusion and I much prefer having my port accessed than having blood drawn from the one good vein in my arm. I sing their praises to anyone getting one. They make life with an iv pump so much more pleasant.