A Black woman with a port on her chest

Why I Got A Port

I got my port placed in 2016 when I was participating in a clinical trial in Boston traveling back and forth from Chicago. I remember wholeheartedly that I did not want this port. I was afraid of getting an infection or even worse another blood clot.

Why I got a port

A port (or port-a-cath) is used to get medicines into your system quicker or for blood draws. There are probably other uses, but these are the things we used my port for.

We decided to have a port placed because every visit it was getting harder and harder for the nurse to do the blood draws or place an IV. I had my appointment with the oncologist and at 6 am Boston time the next morning I was getting my port placed.

Everyone's port experience is different

I had a horrible experience but please know that everyone is different and most people have an easy time. It is an outpatient procedure, so I was in and out the same day. I was in Boston and scheduled to fly home that evening but there were heavy snowstorms, and our flight was delayed. I recouped in a hotel in Boston waiting for our flight to leave the next morning. I remember being in a lot of pain physically and emotionally.

How I used my port

I would eventually heal from the port placement and used it quite often. I used it for routine blood draws and CT scans. I participated in a second clinical trial and it was used to put the drug through my system quicker.

I had come across a few hurdles with my port. When I started getting treatment again in Chicago they did not believe me it was an injectable port, so I had to get papers and documents filled out to prove that it was.

I had a few experiences where they could not get a blood return from the port, so they had me doing some crazy things. I had to sit up straight, or sometimes lean back but they always figured it out and I never had to go further than positioning issues. There is a procedure called a TPA that can help restore the functionality of the port. I was very close to getting this procedure done but before they did it they tried my port one more time and it worked.

Removing my port

In 2019 I was only using my port for blood draws and CT scans, so I requested to have it removed. I remember to this day the conversation that I had with my oncologist. I sent a message through My Chart asking if we could discuss the possibility of removing it at my next appointment. By the time my next appointment came, I had completely forgotten so it was a nice surprise when my oncologist brought up the subject and agreed that we could have it removed. I was elated!

The removal procedure was a lot easier on me than the placement. It was also an outpatient procedure and only took up about half of my day.

I was and am still very happy to not have a port. I still have CT scans and blood draws, I have found I only have a few “good” veins but it is worth not having this foreign object in my body.

Looking for more information and other experiences with ports? Read Donna's experience.

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