Is you skin particularly sensitive? Do you hate needles? Is the area over your port now really painful?
I was having a very hard time with the needles (especially into my port) until one of the nurses reminded me about Emla Cream. I had forgotten that a friend of mine used it when she was going through treatments for colon cancer some years back. Emla is a topical anesthetic for freezing that small area of skin where the needles goes in. It is often used by diabetics. The chemo nurses advised me not to use it on my hand (not sure why) but it works wonders over ports.
It is applied to the area some time before the needle is inserted so I would do it before I left home in the morning. It took me a little while to figure out the timing that worked for me – I seemed to need it on longer than recommended in order to feel nothing when the nurses did their work. You layer it on, don’t rub it in or smooth it over, and cover it with a special bandage. Make sure you get some large enough from the pharmacist.
You don’t need a prescription for it, just ask the pharmacist. It is quite expensive but well worth it if you have trouble with needles!
NOTE: I have no commercial connection with Emla – I just love it as a consumer and think others should know about it.
When I was helping my ex through her last years with colon cancer I joked that I would never be able to do what she was doing because I hate needles! This may be something I was born with but an early experience may have contributed to it.
When I was very young (under five) I did something really stupid in the garden, involving broken skin, blood and dirt. I was taken off to the hospital for a tetanus shot. I remember it was also the day of my piano lesson and I had my piano music, in its leather case, with me at the hospital. The nurse tried to put me at ease by talking about music but I could tell from the smell of the place that I didn’t want to be there. My mother and I were put into a small cubicle and moments later a doctor appeared with what looked to my young eyes like the most enormous syringe on earth. He jabbed me with it and it hurt like hell! Since that day I have had a huge phobia of needles and anything else small, pointy and sharp.
My skin is also especially sensitive and so, regardless of what anyone says, needles hurt me. One time I actually broke the skin in my palm, when squeezing my hand tight at the dentist’s office. Crazy!
After my second operation last year I was told I had to have a blood-thinner shot every day for a month!
One way I was able to handle all the needles during the last year (daily blood thinner shots for a month, blood tests, chemo) was to take a small stress ball with me – the foamy kind that used to be given away as promo by outfits like trucking companies, publishers, etc. I squeeze that in the hand of the arm that is not getting the needle. I wish I had thought of it sooner – it sure helps!