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Veins repairing following IV chemo?
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Veins repairing following IV chemo?

I have had 5 rounds of Carbo/Taxol, and have been having real problems with my veins. My left arm is all but useless so 4 rounds have been in my right and the last 2 in my wrist as my elbow veins are now not behaving. I am really worried about the last (6th) cycle and whether they will find a suitable vein to cannulate. I know wish that I had a port put in. (If/ when I deal witha recurrence I will definitely get one).
I now have very prominant veins showing from wrist to shoulder on my right arm which the nurse said is from irritation of the vein by the chemo. It gets worse when hot (often due to hot flushes!) where they are bright blue under the skin and obvious for others to look at (not just to me).
Will the veins repair/ get better or is this it now-permanent? I'm only 31 so I am thinking of all the years of difficult bloodwork ahead if this is as good as they will get?
Is there anythin I can do to improve things? Any advice is appreciated.
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10 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Was in the hospital 2 weekends ago.. needed 3 blood transfusions... in 12 hours I had 8 IVs inserted and my veins all collapsed... They finally found an obscure vein above my elbow..
I was told that veins take years to repair and told my Oncologist that next time I will have either a port or a pic line...Chemo is like acid on the inside of your veins...
I feel for you and and all the other women who have to go thru this... I also was told that warming it did no good... and they tried.... Ronni
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Avatar_m_tn
Any punture of the vein results in 'scars' which will always be there, so there is 'healing' to a point.  What you should really get if treatment is going to go beyond your initial 6 carbo/taxol is a PICC line or port-a-catch...both are central lines but have different features.  Now a PICC line is best if the treatment is temporary or even a little extended.  They do an outpatient operation and insert the tube in one of your arms.  This allows two (or three) ports to be used for chemo or other IV drugs and blood draws.

Same with the port, yet this is surgically put into your chest and allows something like 1,000 needle punctures.  Definetley safter from infection than the PICC and you won't really see it but a little bulge over the skin.  The PICC is pretty common though, yet the port is a 'long term' option.  Both have risks and benefits you can discuss with the oncologist.
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158061_tn?1202681926
Why don't you have a Port put in?  A PICC is a temperary line, needs to be changed every 2 weeks. Alan is correct on the PICC, higher risk for infections also.   I've had my port for close to 2 years now, and have grown attached to the bump on my chest wall.  I would not have done chemo without it.  This stuff is too toxic for the environment, much less our veins.  
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167426_tn?1254089835
Leslee gets her infusions in the veins in her hands,  they change hands each month, 11 infusions so far and no problems with vein damage.  Mayo will not use the ports because of the high infection rates.  
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158061_tn?1202681926
Mayo's take is interesting, it must be institution related.  A retrospective study looking at infections rates in 376 patients with cancer and ports found 2 infections of the pocket where the port is placed and 3 patients had a systemic infection related to the port (treated with antibiotics).  What they do find, in the most recent study's of hospital complications overall,  is they are realted to decreased numbers of registered nurses that are employed by a hospital and how they are utilized.  So I say, having vein problems have a port. If they need a vein in an emergency and they are all burned out, they would have problems getting the necessary drugs in you.  Worth a slight risk of infection.  Any one of us, if our counts are low, are at risk for an infection.  

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Avatar_m_tn
Not necessarily, mom has had hers in for about 4 months now...while risk of infection is greater, safe practices can mitigate it.  Port is obviouslly better though.
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167426_tn?1254089835
I agree with you totally  if it were me I would definitally chose the port.  Mainly because I hate needles, don't mind giving them, but when it comes to me, no way. Leslee gets all her infusions at a onocolgy clinic, it is a satilite of Mayo in Rochester, as long as she goes there she has to follow their protocol.  These nurses are all very good at getting into the veins cause that is just about all they do there.  If it were me and I was doing chemo I would ask for IP.  Sounds like the best avenue for getting the chemo where it will be most effective. At least in the abdomen.  I am a big chicken when I am sick, so I stay well.  ha ha ha
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135691_tn?1271100723
I find it odd that Mayo doesn't recommend ports...I was under the impression that they were invented specifically for people with cancer. I would think that accessing a port and poking a vein would run the same risk for infection...I don't see how one is worse than the other.
Interesting to hear - they must have their reasons...
Becky
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your comments. As I am Stage 3C MSPC, I think they hoped this will be it for chemo when they started and just assumed that I would not have vein trouble. So the options for other vein access were not even described to me before I started.  As i had ascites, a patch of miliary(?) seeding on peroteneal wall, 10 invasive implants throughout omentum, on lining of bowel & around appendix plus 2 primary ovarian tumours and 1 other tumour elsewhere, I'm not feeling all that confident that this will be it for me. I feel it will be just a matter of time before I will have a recurrence.
I hope (at at my most positive-plan) to have a long remission!

I am hoping that they can find 1 more vein for the 6th vein, but will definitely go for a Port in future (if needed). Thanks for the advice/comments.
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry. Meant 6th cycle. I'll blame chemo/steroid/insomnia brain!
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