How to sleep with a chemo port: Tips to reduce discomfort
Did you know that having a chemo port can lead to painful nighttime infections? It’s true, and it can make sleeping difficult, as well as cause other problems. But you don’t have to suffer in silence! Here are some tips on how to sleep with a chemo port so that you can avoid those uncomfortable side effects of cancer treatment.
Why you shouldn’t worry about your port
When sleeping, it is best to lay on your side as long as you feel comfortable and take care not to obstruct your airway. One popular option is to keep the tubing of the port under the pillow next to your face. However, be mindful that this may interfere with your partner's sleep if they're in bed with you. You can also place one or two pillows between your arm and body before laying down and crossing your arms so that they are folded up against you. If you find yourself getting uncomfortable during the night, it's fine for you to readjust how you're laying.
Is it hard to sleep with a port
Sleep is essential for many reasons, but especially if you are undergoing chemotherapy treatment. It's important that you get adequate rest and try not to stay up too late. Here are some tips on how to sleep better while your cancer treatment progresses.
- If the pump is infusing via tubing connected directly into the body (such as through an infusion needle), try elevating the head of your bed by 6 inches or so and/or using pillows under your body
- If it's through intravenous bags on poles, ask your doctor if they could be raised higher and taped more securely in place
- Let gravity take over after giving yourself time to heal
Sleeping on your back
If you plan on sleeping on your back, it can be more comfortable if you place an egg-shaped foam pillow under your knees. For some women, having your hair pulled up off the pillow can also help avoid pressure on the neck. If you are staying at home while receiving treatments, be sure that someone is always around who can help should there be an emergency.
To learn how to take care of yourself after a mastectomy and lumpectomy click here.
Sleeping on your side
Due to the location of your port, it can be tricky for you to sleep in the way that feels most comfortable. You may also find yourself trying out different positions or experiencing pain from lying on your arm or stomach. Here are some tips for getting a better night's rest: -Sleep on your side; this will help alleviate shoulder and arm pain -Invest in an orthopedic pillow that will support the arm holding up your head -Use the one-arm under body position; this will give you stability while maintaining comfort
Sleeping on your stomach
Another option is sleeping on your stomach. It is one of the few positions where you will not feel pressure on your port, but there are some other considerations. First, make sure that you aren't sleeping so close to your partner that he or she becomes uncomfortable and wakes up in the middle of the night. Second, if you have short hair it can be annoying for them when it covers their face when you're on top of them. Last, be prepared for some intimate contact with your partner and learn how they want this before going to bed (e.g., avoid light kissing or engaging in foreplay).
Chemotherapy can be tough on your health, but it doesn't have to interfere with your sleep. With these simple tricks, you can create the best possible environment for the restful slumber that is so important in healing.