This Get The Piccture feature written by guest blogger Victoria Faling
Hi, I’m Victoria! I live with a host of chronic illnesses mostly stemming from Lyme disease and tick born infections. I’ve had both a picc line and port (currently living with a port) and it’s been a love-hate relationship with both. When I first got a picc line it was for IV antibiotics to treat chronic Lyme. I was doing infusions twice a day for 7 months! At first, I was excited to get it, honestly, because it meant treatment and hopefully feeling better. I was really thankful to be able to have the line and receive treatment for my illness. But, it wasn’t always easy.
Having a picc meant being accessed all the time, itchy skin from the dressing, and not being able to use my right arm. It meant being attached to IV medications for a lot of hours in the day. It was a huge celebration when I finally got it removed because I was free to use that arm and shower and swim! I was so ready for it to come out and so tired of hardcore treatment. A couple years later, I decided to get a port placed so that I could receive extensive alternative IV treatments for a still lingering chronic Lyme infection. My veins were shot and, again, I just wanted to get better! I feel blessed to have my port and, again, have access to IV treatments. Although being sick and having to have a central line sucks, I’m grateful that I’m able to have it if I have to be sick and receive IV treatment. It makes IV’s so much easier and less painful. It allows me to do treatment in the comfort of my home. It gives me a lot more control over my treatment. I prefer my port over my picc line because I can de-access my port to shower, swim, or workout. I’m easily able to access it again when I need to do treatment, though. I also love that my port can last up to 10 years. It means that even if I reach remission, I can leave it in in case I relapse or in case of emergency. It’s like a little back-up plan implanted in my chest. Of course, having a central line comes with its issues.
I’ve had an infection in my port which was scary and makes me a little nervous all the time now. I’m constantly checking it for signs of infection when I never used to worry. It also hinders some daily activities and I have to be careful knowing it is there so that I don’t injure the port itself or myself! And it’s a constant reminder that I have health issues, which can make me really sad at times and just want to get it removed. But in the end, I’m really thankful for Ivy (my port) and the treatments she has allowed to receive.