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    It's been a little bit over a year and my little one still has fear and anxiety getting accessed. The doctor prescribed Lidocaine cream to number the area where her port is located, but she still fights and gets anxious. What can I try to do or the staff to assure her it will be okay?

  • #2
    This was also an issue for my daughter Alex despite fighting her cancer for years, she always disliked getting accessed..
    We were able to come up with some ways to ease her anxiety over it.
    First we would make sure we put the lidocaine cream on way in advance. For her, 2 hours before accessing was optimal so it would be really numb. I am guessing every child is different and maybe it took so long because she had been accessed so many times it was a bit scarred. So, I would play around with the timing but try putting it on earlier than you currently are for starters to see if it helps.

    Second, she always had a certain treat when she was accessed. For Alex it was a See's Candy lollipop. I think it helped with the taste she sometimes got when they accessed it and gave her something to look forward to. If candy is not something that would distract your daughter, maybe try having a special prize box or activity she can do before she gets accessed. A lot of people reward afterwards also, but I found that giving her something before she was accessed worked better for Alex.

    Finally, and this can be tough depending upon your hospital, she had certain nurses that she felt "did a better job" and she had confidence in; if there is someone your daughter is most comfortable with, I would not be afraid to ask if they could access it whenever possible.

    It is hard because she may still have anxiety, but I think letting her know that you understand and want to make it as easy as possible is the way to go. I personally would not tell her that it won't hurt or try to convince her that it is not a big deal; when I tried that with Alex I found she seemed to fear it more-- maybe thinking that I did not understand her discomfort made it worse for her.
    If all else fails, just hold her hand and reassure her that you are there for her
    Hopefully others may have some strategies that have worked for them. I do think every child is different for sure!

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    • #3
      ^ That is such great advice!^ I recently watched a TED talk that was pretty fascinating. A doctor studied pain and fear in children in hospital settings. Her findings were not only really interesting to me, but she gave really practical advice on how to reduce fear and distract from pain. I used her tips on my daughter, who is horribly afraid of needles, and it definitely helped. She still freaked out, but it wasn't nearly as long or as extreme.
      This doctor also developed a cool device to help kids with port pain after her study. Here's the You Tube link to her talk. If you google her name, her device should pop up.
      Sending lots of good thoughts to you and your little one!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_IWhJvu0jU

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