Blog / Random thoughts and musings.


  • on April 5, 2007 -
  • cancer
  • |
  • Comments Off on Cannot connect to port: Access denied

Cannot connect to port: Access denied

Had chemo #10 a day early (Tuesday) since my usual day was booked. Turns out Tuesday was overbooked already though, so all the chairs (16 or so) in the infusion room were taken. They put me and one other person into the SCT (stem cell transplant) room because they had the space there and an SCT nurse who wasn’t busy. Was hoping things would go really fast this time – one nurse for the two of us, vs. four nurses for the 16 patients in the main room – but that turned out not to be the case.

We could not get my infusion port to work yesterday. After “accessing the port” with the special needle/connector, they usually start with a saline and a heparin injection into the port, then “draw back” on the syringe to get a blood return from the artery, so they know the port is still in the artery. No matter what they did, they couldn’t get any blood return. They had me in all sorts of weird positions, arms over head, leaning forward, lying in a bed, twisting in different directions, but nothing worked. We went through several more salines, heparins, and even de-accessed and re-accessed the port, but no luck. They can’t proceed with the chemo unless they’re 100% sure that the port is still connected to the subclavial artery, since if the chemo drugs leak into the rest of the body they will do major damage to the tissues.

In the end, they had to order TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) from the pharmacy and inject that into the port… it’s a high-power clot buster used during heart attacks or strokes. Once they got the delivery, they injected it into the port (just a couple milliliters), waited 15 minutes, and then everything started working just fine! Unfortunately, we wasted at least an hour dealing with all that.

The rest of the treatment was pretty straightforward… now to deal with side effects for the next 5 days or so and then only 2 more treatments left!! Then I get to go for regular PET/CT scans for a few years to be sure all the cancer’s gone and doesn’t return.



Comments are closed.