Colon2007 wrote:My husband finished chemo last December and has had his port in since. The doctor says they prefer to keep it in for 1 year for you know God forbid the just in cases. My husbands white & red blood cells are taking a while to come back up so we thinking maybe thats why.
My port was placed on May 3, 2004 and I've still got it. I'm a stage IV, and will likely not have it removed unless it becomes infected or there's some type of trauma that causes it to stop working. I've been on chemo infusions roughly half of the time since it was put in--not consecutive time, off and on--and it's done exactly as it was supposed to do, preserve my veins by diverting things like infusions and routine blood draws to a locked access vein. Duiring those times when I haven't been on treatment, or on followups with blood draws that happen every 8 weeks or so, I have it flushed with heparin. It'll be used again for a blood draw on Monday, and a 48 hour infusion, then flushed and deaccessed for another two weeks.
Chemoports, the kind that are placed under the skin and have no open access point, but which must be accessed with a special needle, do not need to be kept dry or keep you from showering/swimming/hot tubbing unless they are currently accessed (needle in for an infusion.) During infusions and when it's been accessed because I've been in the hospital, I just cover the port with a waterproof dressing. No problem showering at all (well--at least no problems from the port!) Other types of accesses can't ever get wet, but if there's no needle in the port, there's no issue at all with getting it wet. MadamJoJo, did you have some type of port which was continually accessed, or a continuous treatment regimen? That would be the only reason (continuously accessed) that you would have to always use waterproof bandages to prevent the port's contamination.
Chemoports, depending on type and site of implantation, are rated for as long as 10 years' use with careful maintenance and no trauma to the site which could damage the area. They do not have to be removed unless they stop working, are a potential infection site, or are a source of infection. Many people have them in for years without incident. Monica, I know you are trying to figure out why your husband's counts are low, but if the low counts were a result of an infection caused by the port, the white counts would be up (because of the infection) and the red counts and platelets wouldn't be low. The port site might also be inflamed and have its own extra touch sensitivity. The low blood counts are probably not in any way related to your husband's port--have you asked the oncologist why in your opinion they are less concerned about this than you'd prefer them to be?