5 Chemotherapy Care Tips
Last updated: June 2023
An implantable port
1. I was offered the option to have an implantable port placed. The procedure is relatively simple the doctor came in and explained the procedure, showed me what the port device looked like and what to expect during and after the procedure is over. The port was placed just under the skin in my right upper chest. If you are going to through several weeks of chemotherapy, I would suggest talking with your doctor about having an implantable port.
No IV bruises
2. The other advantage is no IV bruises. I remember before having a port placed sometimes the nurses would have to stick me more than once to find a suitable vein. Being stuck several times would leave me with bruises and can be painful.
Avoiding more needle sticks
3. Having a port will make life more comfortable in the long run because it will eliminate you getting stuck with a needle many times. During chemotherapy days you should only get stuck with a needle once accessing the port. The nurses can draw blood from the port if needed for lab work or another test that may need to be done on therapy days.
Take a deep breath
4. A tip that I learned while the nurse is accessing your port is just before the needle stick, take a deep breath and during the stick let the breath out. Doing this helped not to feel the needle stick, and sometimes I never felt the stick at all. You should be provided with lidocaine to numb the port area that you can also use if needed.
Other advantages of a port
5. The other advantage to having a port placed is the port can stay in for as long as you need treatment. You can still bathe, swim, and perform activities you are well enough to do.
The last thing is to make sure you stay hydrated. I made sure to drink lots of water before, during and after treatment to flush the chemotherapy out of my body. I hope these tips and suggestions help during chemotherapy treatment and always consult with your doctor when making a thought-out decision.
Editor’s Note: With heavy hearts, we regret to inform readers that on February 27, 2021, Curtis passed away from stage IV bladder cancer. Curtis’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to impact many. He will be deeply missed.
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