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I can weigh in on this as I had one. First, what do you know about them?
When I had mine I, personally felt that I wasn't as nauseous with my chemo treatments. Yes, you can shower etc with a port after it has undergone its healing from having it inserted initially. I used a numbing cream that I applied prior to my chemo that helped when they accessed the port. I had mine removed after I was finished my chemo but they can stay in for years as long as they get flushed monthly if you are receiving no treatment (chemo).
For me, my only con was after I went back to work, it shifted on me and was uncomfortable. If I didn't return to work so early it would have been fine and I probably would have left it in
I hope that helps.
Given the choice I would opt for the port and not a pic line but that is my view/opinion on it.
There is a cream you can get to do that before you go. I would say it stings but doesn't hurt like it does when they poke around for a vein. I was like you and my veins would collapse on them.
I preferred the port definitely over trying to access a vein.
Many procedures can be administered using the port too. I get all my treatments using it. All my blood work is done using the port as well. Some things still require an IV though....CT if they're injecting dye here has to be done through IV although someone told me in BC the type of port they use allows for more functions.
I do find it surprising how many women mention using the numbing cream. I don't find inserting the needle into the port painful at all. Just a wee prick at the most. So I don't use any. But if that ends up your preference you just dab a bit on about an hour before it's to be accessed.
As Strongwoman mentioned the port has be flushed monthly but each time it's used it's flushed as part of the process so if you're going for treatment or bloodwork monthly it's not something to be concerned about. Other the hospital will make arrangements for you based on their practice there. Flushing is not a big deal. The nurse just accesses the port and injects some saline and the solution to prevent clotting. . Since I knew I would have continual recurrences I was grateful there was a process to leave the port in me each time treatment ended.
The other huge advantage I experienced with the port was the smoothness each infusion went. Gemcitabine, one of th chemos I've had twice now is notorious for creating a burning sensation in the veins when infused. Not only does is burn, they then have to slow down the infusion to stop that issue so treatment took longer. Using the port eliminated both problems.
I would recommend the port to anyone considering it. You can sleep in any position you want, get it wet and basically do anything you normally would do.