Swapping Leaky PICC for Brand New Port | Battling Bertha

Battling Bertha Blog
Merry Christmas from the Rodarte Family
Merry Christmas from the Rodarte Family

Christmas Week Wrap Up

Last week was crazy.  We discovered my PICC line was leaking and the rest of the week revolved around doctors, hospitals and Christmas.

Let’s break last week down into bite-sized, easy-to-digest chunks, shall we? I will try to keep this as brief as possible.

Ovary Pain

Awoke in the middle of the night Saturday with a very sharp pain on the right of my pelvis.  For ten years I have experienced a mild discomfort in this area when I ovulate, but never this severe.  I self-diagnosed myself with an ovarian cyst years ago.  But since we did not have health insurance, until the ACA made it possible earlier this year, I never did anything about it.  (That is an entirely different discussion that I am leaving on the table for now.)

Leaky PICC Line

Sunday night Shane, my husband, flushed my PICC lines, and we discovered that one of them was leaking.  We figured the chemo nurses could fix it.  So, Monday we went in for my appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Ellent, and while we were there I asked Kim, one of the nurses, to take a look at it.  The leak was in the line and not the connector, so my only option was to have it replaced.  We all agreed a Port-a-Cath was a better option.

I told Dr. Ellent about the sharp pain and his concern was that it might be appendicitis even though I was adamant that it was my ovary.

Mary, Dr. Ellent’s Make-It-Happen-Woman, scheduled the PICC-port swap for Wednesday, then sent me off to St. Luke’s that very same day for an ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis.  Good times.

Since no one told me otherwise during the ultrasound, I assumed my appendix was okay when I left the hospital.  They would have admitted me otherwise, right?  🙂

The Swap

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Shane took me in for the procedure.  Since we are becoming old pros at this whole surgical procedure routine, he basically settled me into my room and then left to run errands.

Dr. Fang and the Intervention Radiology team at St. Lukes
Dr. Fang and the Intervention Radiology team at St. Lukes

A port placement normally takes 45 minutes.  Mine took an hour and a half.  About half way into it Dr. Fang, the Intervention Radiologist doing the procedure, declared:  “Without exaggeration, this is one of the most difficult port placements I have ever done.”  He went on to tell me he’s done thousands.  At least 2 per day.

My vein had collapsed from the PICC line and he had to insert a balloon to inflate it.   There were a few other complications but I was too drugged to comprehend what he was telling me.

They left the PICC in while placing the port so they could use it instead of an IV (hallelujah) to infuse pain meds.  Well, I was on the table so long, I ended up getting three doses!  Awake, not so alert, and happy.  I think I may have even giggled and told Dr. Fang that all these complications were my Christmas gift to him!

As Dr. Fang was finishing up, he moved the plastic surgical sheet back so he could bandage the area, and the PICC got caught in the sheet, pulling it out.  That was a very odd feeling!

Shane was waiting for me in my recovery room.  He told me he’d gone to the Asian market and picked up a jar of Kimchi for me!  What a great husband.

My poor skin had a severe allergic reaction to the adhesive on the bandages but that is a story for another blog post.

The kid liked her presents.
The kid liked her presents.

Christmas Day

There is no better excuse for taking the day off then, “I had surgery yesterday.”  So, I was basically off the hook in terms of chores on Christmas day.  We had a lovely lasagna dinner with our friend Jill and Shane’s brother, Brock, and their guests.  It was a very peaceful, stress-free holiday.

Into the Woods

Saw “Into the Woods” with the family over the weekend.  Since we are Broadway buffs, we liked it.  I think you might need to enjoy live theater to enjoy this movie.  Chris Pine was definitely channeling William Shatner as Captain Kirk as Prince Charming.  I find myself singing songs from the movie all day long.

Ultrasound Results

Went in for my appointment to review the ultrasound results with Dr. Ellent on Monday (yesterday).   Obviously I do not have appendicitis.  My suspicion of a cyst on my ovary was correct.  It measures 3.2 cm!

They also found evidence of liver disease.  Since I am not a drinker, this is puzzling.  Dr. Ellent believes the Lipitor will help.  I will be getting a 2nd opinion soon on these results since neither are in the scope of oncology.

Dr. Ellent ordered another round of labs, I’ll see those results tomorrow when I go in for chemo.

By the way, both the Tamoxifen I am taking to suppress estrogen and the Lipitor can both cause calcium deficiency.  So I am upping my Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D3 intake.

Today, most of the pain from the procedures has subsided.  I still feel the pressure on my ovary and I do have some hip discomfort that I am blaming on the drugs.  All things considered, I feel great!

The last few days, I have worked on blog and website updates for each of my businesses.  Did I mention I relaunched Handmade in Texas?  It’s a lot of fun and a great platform for a podcast.  Things are definitely percolating!

There you have it,  my Christmas week wrap up!

All is well!



1 thought on “Swapping Leaky PICC for Brand New Port | Battling Bertha”

  1. Oi. I left something out and I’m too overwhelmed with catching up to go back and add it. The reason I am taking Lipitor is because my cholesterol levels are high. I’ve never had high cholesterol until now. I blame Tamoxifen.

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