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Picc Line Dilema

Picc Line Dilema

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jul 8, 2017 12:45 am

I had my first Taxol treatment last Tuesday and my 2nd one will be this coming Monday.  I didn't opt for a picc line yet but the nurse inserted the IV in my hand rather harshly compared to the A/C treatments.  It hardly bothered me before.  I also noticed a little red bruise on my hand afterwards, which has not healed yet - looks like a blood blister.  Anyway, I am wondering if I should request the picc line for the rest of the treatments.  I have 11 to go and don't want to leave marks on my hand from the IV,  Is the picc line worth doing? Anyone have any issues with it? Does it hurt to get it inserted?  Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 1:01 am

scaredysquirrel‍, I always hated having the IV inserted into my wrist...one time the nurse inserted it into my hand on top and I asked her not to do it on my hand...she said it had to be at a certain spot...IV will not leave marks on the wrist, etc.

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jul 8, 2017 11:58 am

I meant to say it was inserted in my wrist not my hand...

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by beach boy on Jul 9, 2017 7:47 am

Hi Scaredysquirrel, I've had my pic line in for 4 months now  and when she put it in I thought this was going to be awful. In fact it didn't' hurt going in and it hasn't' caused any pain at all. It is so much easier getting treatments. When I see others getting stuck every time and I just get my line hooked up like a garden hose...lol. the only thing that is a little problem is getting a shower but they give you a sleeve to put over it and you get use to it. Also you have to go in  every week to get the dressing changed. I just look at it as a time out to chat with my nurses..lol....Good Luck...beach boyyes

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by Addie on Jul 9, 2017 12:57 pm

Dear scaredysquirrel‍ - I had a picc line for my chemo treatments . It didn't hurt at all being installed and was a big relief. I only had two or three viens that were comfortable poking, and it was stressful keeping them unused for further poking. It also made inserting the dye for my scans easier and faster. 
I had a PSW come in once a week to flush and change the gauze, and got Wayne to wrap it in saran wrap before my shower. The advantage of having it outweighed not having it.

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by dino on Jul 9, 2017 5:04 pm

YES!!! Get the PICC line! By all means... go get it! Do not hesitate!
As you can see, I fully support putting one in. I never liked needles, never liked getting poked. I had six months of chemo to look forward to. I wasn't going to let them poke me every single time. Plus regular bloodwork on top of that, I don't think so. I had a choice whether to put one in. It always seemed that when they wanted to take a blood sample, my good veins would go and hide. I wrestled with it for a few days. Went back to my oncologist and told them to just go ahead and do it. They just froze the area in my upper arm, took five minutes to feed the line in. Sure didn't take me long to realize that I had made the right choice. So convenient for regular blood draws and super easy to maintain! I hope this helps in your overall decision! It's all for the good! wink

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jul 9, 2017 6:34 pm

Thanks everyone! I'm going to talk to the nurses this Monday.  It sounds like it might be a good idea since I will be getting 11 more chemo treatments.  I don't know if the old wrist is up to that many pokes! 


Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by ChristineH on Dec 8, 2018 10:11 am

Oh I’m happy this topic was here as it made me feel a bit better. I’m getting a PICC installed within the next 9 days and I’m worried about it. My veins like to roll and hide, so I have visions of being poked with a garden hose and that my veins are just saying “nope” to it! 
“Never a horse, always a zebra”

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by MrsBH on Dec 9, 2018 1:36 pm

I also am thankful for this post as I have just gotten my picc line put in and chemo starts on Monday.  I have had lots of problems in the past getting IV's put in.  Difficulty finding veins, IV coming out, bruising etc. I was not given an option to have a picc or port so I did not even know what a port was!

After my research, I think my oncologist has made the right choice for me.

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by Essjay on Dec 9, 2018 1:50 pm

Hi ChristineH‍  And MrsBH‍ I think we are about at the same stage of treatment. I wasn’t given the option of a PICC line. My nurse and medical oncologist made the decision for me based on how active I am. My port goes in on 17th. I could potentially have my first cycle of chemo before it goes in, but realistically with everything else going on I think I will be asking to start chemo once the port is in. All will become clear this week...

I have a few things to finish off at work this week, but I’ve started packing my ‘chemo bag’ with things friends with experience have suggested - puzzle book, colouring book, music, book, slippers, shawl/wrap, chemical free hand cream, lipsalve, mints (to take the taste away), snacks, drink, iPad, notebook...

Hope it all goes well for you both - keep posting 

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by ChristineH on Dec 9, 2018 3:53 pm

Hi Essjay‍ and MrsBH‍! 

Nice to have company on this trip. My first day of chemo is the 17th. Where are you being treated? I’m at Juravinski in Hamilton. 

I’m getting both a PICC and a Port. Chemo needs to start ASAP and the wait time for the port is too long. So the PICC is going in no later than next Monday morning, and the Port as soon as there’s a spot available. I’m also too active for a long term PICC.

I’m going to be emptying my work bag this week and turn it into my chemo bag. My list looks like yours Essjay‍.

Hope all goes well with you two, and yes, keep posting!

“Never a horse, always a zebra”

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by MrsBH on Dec 9, 2018 7:48 pm

Nice to have company on this trip for sure!

I am being treated in North Bay and Sudbury.  The chemo round I am starting right now is in North Bay.

Funny I was just thinking I have to get my chemo bag together too! Some great suggestions Essjay!

Wishing you both the best of luck as well.


Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by Essjay on Dec 10, 2018 7:31 am

I live in Manitoba. My treatment is spread between different centres: Steinbach for chemo (close to home), Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg for radiation, and my oncologist logs appointments are at St Boniface. The care so far has been awesome!

best wishes for getting started!

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Dec 10, 2018 2:36 pm

Hi, everyone,

I have nothing substantial to add here, but I wanted to let you all know that I admire your approach to this and wish all of you the very best with your treatments!

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by BAE1 on Dec 11, 2018 6:43 am

Hi, A number of years ago, had a picc line, not for chemo, but nutrition,  The IV had been irritating my hand.  It was MUCH more comfortable after the PICC was started. 

Best wishes!

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by princessmaura on Dec 11, 2018 9:03 am

I don't know what a PICC line is but I want to say that I never liked having the IV inserted on the top of my hand when receiving chemo...the skin on top of my hand is thin and it was uncomfortable having the IV inserted there, so I would ask the nurse to move the IV insertion position further down toward my wrist...

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by MrsBH on Feb 11, 2019 10:57 am

A PICC line is a way that some of us get chemo. The picc line is kind of like an IV. The difference is that the picc line stays inserted for several months during chemo. Part of the picc is a tiny tube that gets inserted into your arm and goes across to just above your heart. (Mine is 40cm) Getting it put in does not hurt any more than a normal IV. I don't even know it's there most of the time except for a lot of itching under the dressing. I have the same difficulty with IV's so I'm happy with the picc line. The major inconvenience with the picc is that you cannot get the dressing wet and have to cover it when showering. Cheers!, Nancy

Re: Picc Line versus port dilemma

Posted by luvcurling on Apr 7, 2019 1:36 pm

Happy Sunday morning everyone!

​​​​​​​The sun is shining here in Alberta which makes it a great day here in Edmonton.

So, I've just finished the first three cycles of FEC. Because of having node dissection in the right arm, they can only access the veins in the left arm, which aren't great at the best of times. Now, the one good vein is no longer useable. After the second cycle, which was burning and hurting something fierce while chemo was being injected, the vein continued to be painful and has turned brown and hurts even with movement. (I made the nurse check multiple times that we still had good blood return which we did, finally a warm blanket was applied which did help - I strongly recommend this with this type of chemo.) 

During my pre-chemo visit to review how I was doing, etc. I pointed out this to first the nurse and then my NP who were concerned that the nurses would be able to find a useable vein for the third cycle slated for the next day. I'm glad to report, that it only took a couple of pokes to find a useable vein, but it was beside the bone on the outer part of the wrist, a truly miserable place, but I was willing to move forward. The patience of this nurse was fantastic as she pushed the drugs through as slowly as possible and kept warmth on the arm the entire time. When I asked for their opinion about getting a port - I felt the nurse avoided answering directly - the Docetaxel isn't as harsh on the veins, but there's not a lot of veins to choose from and she was worried about the stress accessing a vein was causing me - I had already drank 9 cups of water and arrived with a warm towel on my arm and had already looked for viable veins, what can I say, always a nurse. 

Even though I only have 3 cycles left to go, I'm thinking I'll go ahead with the port - reading through everyone's posts above, reassures me that it may be a better option, than fussing about getting a vein, as long as extravasation doesn't happen, that is. I do seem to be the complication queen, but will focus on the positives.... I have to walk my little dogs at least 3 times daily which helps me too, by the way, so the NP thought a PICC line wouldn't be the best option for me - too active.

Anyway, I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Hope you all have a nice Sunday and that it's sunny wherever you are.
luv curling - Colleen 😎🥌​​​​​​​


Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by Essjay on Apr 7, 2019 1:53 pm

I have a portacath and it has worked really well for me, both for blood tests and chemo.

Nursing staff love it too - makes their life easier.

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by ChristineH on Apr 8, 2019 10:03 am

Hi luvcurling‍! Either PICC or port will be better for you than straight IV. The “E” in FEC stands for Epirubicin which is a vesicant. Extravasion of vesicants are extremely dangerous, as I can attest to. That’s why it was burning so much in the other vein.

I’ve had a PICC while waiting for the port appointment (there’s a 3 to 6 weeks wait list here), and you’re absolutely right that if you’re more active, you do want a port. When my “accident” is done healing, I want another port even if what happened happened. 

Keep us updated on how things go!
“Never a horse, always a zebra”

Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by luvcurling on Apr 20, 2019 1:12 pm


My IVAD (port) is in place; I had it inserted Tuesday afternoon; I'm so pleased they were able to fit me into their hectic schedule.

I am having some discomfort in the port area, as every arm movement pulls on the incision over the port, but it seems to be decreasing each day. 

My question for everyone is: should I buy some of the cream that numbs the area and apply it prior to my next chemo or is the needle prick tolerable?
Thanks for giving me your thoughts.


Re: Picc Line Dilema

Posted by ashcon on Apr 21, 2019 9:49 am

Hi luvcurling
Congrats on your port insertion! 
I had heard of some people using that cream that numbs the area of skin, but then I read an article on the dangers of the chemical(s) in that cream getting into your bloodstream. So given that the port needle is accessing the bloodstream directly, I decided to 'suck it up' and deal with the pain of the needle prick. 
I personally didn't find it that bad. 

All the best to you in your remaining chemo treatments!