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Thread: Chemo port access shirt-diy?

  1. #1
    Super Member jillmc's Avatar
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    Chemo port access shirt-diy?

    My best friend will start chemo next week, and she has asked me to put zippers in the front of her shirt for easier port access. I have googled and searched, and cannot find a tutorial. This picture is what she has in mind. Will it work to just slit the shirt and put in the zippers? Do I need to finish the edges of the shirt where I cut it?

    https://pin.it/of3b3psxoyoijs

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I think it would be her preference as to finishing the edges. That is a nice shirt and a nice thing you are doing.
    Nancy in western NY
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  3. #3
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    The shirt in the photo looks like a knit, and knits don't really ravel. If you use a knit shirt, like a T shirt, you could cut and then insert invisible zippers without worrying about the edges. Sew a scant seam when you put the zipper in... like 1/8" if you can.

    Don't see why she needed two zippers. I'd just make one where the port is.
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  4. #4
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    This is a lovely thing you are willing to try for your friend. I think I would take an old shirt of my own and try a couple of techniques to see which would work better. Good luck.

    Added--I would definitely put two lines of stay stitching where the zipper will be going, before slitting the fabric.
    Last edited by GingerK; 01-07-2019 at 06:10 PM.
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  5. #5
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    Why does she need to put a zipper in? My husband has a port and he never had a problem with them accessing it. He wears a regular button front shirt and they simply unbutton a couple buttons and have easy access. As long as he has a button front shirt he does not have to worry. If you put zippers in a shirt as you have described she will be wearing the same shirt or shirts day in and day out. The placement of the port is usually near enough to the neck area so it causes no problem being able to access it. I have never seen anyone with one of these shirts with zippers. If this is what the lady wants that is fine but I see no need to go to all this work unless you are sure this is what she really needs. After starting the chemo she may find that such a shirt is entirely unnecessary.

  6. #6
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    I had a port when I had chemo after surgery for breast cancer. Had a blouse with buttons in the center front from my neck down to the bottom of the blouse. Un-buttoned a couple of the buttons and everything was fine. My chemo was scheduled for one day of a week -- every Tuesday at 10 o'clock for me. My port location did not create any problems with my undergarment -- bra.
    Last edited by mjkgquilt; 01-07-2019 at 07:31 PM. Reason: clarify

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    I will ask my friend about her shirts. I know she used more than one, when she was going through chemo. I know she's not a front button shirt kind of gal...neither am I for that matter! She used athletic type shirts, should be fairly easy. Comfort is critical, and lovely thing to do for your friend.

  8. #8
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    Well heck!! This might be the time to dip into her hubby's closet for a couple of shirts. Sure would be easier than cutting up her tees. Plus guy's shirts are super comfy (and cute on a gal-no matter the situation)
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

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    I'm a two time survivor and I've never had any problems with the port and chemo. I wore button front shirts, V-necks, and scoop neck or boat top neck. No need for a zipper top, in fact I wouldn't advise it. After several rounds of chemo things change, skin gets dry and itchy. I would not want the zippers on my skin. Chemo is tiring, if she has a t-shirt on she can go home and crash without changing her top.

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    Just thinking, if you use a shirt with raglan sleeves, maybe you could just use a seam ripper to take stitches to the length you want. Then, put in the zipper.

  11. #11
    Super Member citruscountyquilter's Avatar
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    I have a port and had chemo many times. Just had my port flushed yesterday. I just wear a shirt with a lower neckline and there's not a problem accessing it. Like others said too wear something with buttons and all it takes is a couple buttons undone to get to the port.
    Being told you need chemo is scary and the unknown makes it seem more complicated than it actually is. I have never seen anyone at any infusion room I've been to have or need special clothing.
    I do recommend blankets/quilts as handy to take. Some friends made me a quilt which I used every time. It kept my body and soul oh so comfy.

  12. #12
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I have not had chemo, and never thought of how or where it would enter the body. I guess I expected it would be through the arm. The picture made me gasp. I am so sorry that any of you have had to undergo that, and yet so happy that it apparently has been successful for you. Best of luck to your friend.

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    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindyb View Post
    Just thinking, if you use a shirt with raglan sleeves, maybe you could just use a seam ripper to take stitches to the length you want. Then, put in the zipper.
    Yes, this was my idea too from that picture. I would definitely try to make one, if that is what your friend would like, anything to try to help her face this treatment with as much "caring" from you.

  14. #14
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    Having a port installed was not bad/difficult for me. Using the port made it easier for me to receive chemo. Would have an interesting book to read, get comfortable and settle into for relaxing time. The six months I had chemo went quickly.

  15. #15
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    How nice of you to try to help your friend with shirts for her chemo. We had a friend who went through chemo last year & he didn't have a problem with the port & his shirts. After his port was removed I came across little pillows that are called Chemo Port Pillows that you can make & wear while driving to keep the seat belt from pressing in on the port area. I wish I had known about these earlier so I could have made him some. If you do a web search on "chemo port pillow tutorials" you will find several different types that can be made.

    http://www.abbieandeveline.com/2014/...acath-pillows/

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    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    My dad spent his last year on dialysis. I made a port access on his sweat shirt. I cut it from just off center on the neckline diagonally to just under the arm hole. Then I added a placket like on a long sleeve at the cuff and stitched velcro on it. The nurses thought it was wonderful and it made getting to his port very easy and he was warmer during dialysis. I did the same to a couple tee shirts for warmer weather. This may work for your friend.

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    chemo top

    [QUOTE=rjwilder;8188871]I'm a two time survivor and I've never had any problems with the port and chemo. I wore button front shirts, V-necks, and scoop neck or boat top neck. No need for a zipper top, in fact I wouldn't advise it. After several rounds of chemo things change, skin gets dry and itchy. I would not want the zippers on my skin. Chemo is tiring, if she has a t-shirt on she can go home and crash without changing her top.[/QUOTE


    This is s true I tried to wear tops that had buttons or scoop neck and I crashed before I got home, did not want anything up against my skin to irritate it anymore than I already was

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    Much easier to get a few button up shirts. I had chemo 12 yrs ago and have to have an antibody infusion every three weeks, I think the zippers would be uncomfortable plus my port is down lower and more to the side.
    aka Gale

  19. #19
    Super Member jillmc's Avatar
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    Thank you for all of your replies...and I am so thankful that so many of you are on the other side of this journey.

    My friend has asked me to do this for her...and she may find that after her first treatment, she doesn’t even like the zippers....but I am willing to go to the ends of the earth for her, and this will be a quick project. I will practice on an old t shirt first-she has a long sleeved comfy shirt that she wants to wear for treatments. Thank you for the other suggestions...I will pass them along if she finds this does not work for her.

  20. #20
    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    I have on a half zip from light fleece top. It would allow plenty of access to a port and be cozy, too. My surgery was today, but I am pretty sure I'm not going to need chemo. Clear margins, no lymph node involvement here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishrose2 View Post
    I have on a half zip from light fleece top. It would allow plenty of access to a port and be cozy, too. My surgery was today, but I am pretty sure I'm not going to need chemo. Clear margins, no lymph node involvement here.
    Irishrose2, hope you will not need chemo. If you have radiation, it takes more time for you to disrobe and dress afterward than to get settled for the radiation. I scheduled radiation at 8:15 a.m. and enjoyed the rest of the day to do whatever I wanted to do. My thoughts are with you.

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    Here's an option. No zipper; just velcro at the shoulder.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAIPMnW45ks

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  24. #24
    Super Member tuckyquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jillmc View Post
    My best friend will start chemo next week, and she has asked me to put zippers in the front of her shirt for easier port access. I have googled and searched, and cannot find a tutorial. This picture is what she has in mind. Will it work to just slit the shirt and put in the zippers? Do I need to finish the edges of the shirt where I cut it?

    https://pin.it/of3b3psxoyoijs
    You gave me an idea.. Maybe I should have some hats etc made up and ready to go.. along with some Port Adaptable tops. We all seem to know someone who is having chemo or such. Thank you for the reminder that there is something I can do to make their life easier.
    Jackie
    Lover of Scrappy, Chocolate and Wine

  25. #25
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    That is a perfect shirt for port-a-cath access. After accessing patients' ports for over 20 years, you'd think I had already seen this somewhere. But nope, now that I've retired, this shirt come to light. Wish I'd have thought of it. You're a great friend to do this for her. Thank you.

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