Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Loss of a Good Friend

Last week was, well a little overwhelming.  After a little more than 2 years I lost what had became my best friend.  No, I didn’t lose an actual real live friend, but I did lose something that had become very important to me – my port.  

Shortly after my mastectomy I received a power port prior to my chemo treatments.  I was horribly anxious about the procedure.  Even afterwards, I could simply think of the thing and physically get ill.  It seemed so strange and foreign - this small thing just under my skin that protruded up like a tracking device.  I remember the disturbing way it felt when I would put lotion on – I would hurry so as not to feel the little nubs. 

I never forgot it was there because with every shower, every change of clothes, or car ride it would inevitably get bumped, touched, or rubbed on.  But somehow the weirdness faded and I truly came to appreciate it as a precious gift. 
 This became the blessed spot for all my chemo injections, blood draws, die injections, anything that needed to come out or go in me for tests or treatments went via my port.  No more pricks and pokes trying to find a good vein.  No more bruised arms (or should I say arm, as I can only use my left arm for such things).  No more cold sweats trying not to pass out as the tech was trying to insert a small catheter in my arm.  (I do not have cooperative veins – at all!) Not to mention I had numbing cream to put on my skin – beautiful!  If anything was a blessing to me – this port was.

 But alas, last week I went in for some routine tests and my doctors discovered I had developed a blood clot at the end of my port catheter.  Needless to say, they scheduled surgery to have it removed immediately.  The next day I laid in the hospital using my port for the very last time as I had a blood thinner run through for two hours.  With a very kind surgeon (and Ativan and lots of Lidocaine), 5 hours later, my port was sitting on the table beside me.  I was all good to go – no additional blood thinners needed.

Now I have to adjust to being just normal (as you were treated very special by the chemo nurses who were the only ones allowed to access your port) and going to the general lab for blood draws.  Praying my veins will be cooperative, wondering if I can completely cover my arm in numbing cream, and trying to be brave for my upcoming scans.

I will admit, after the initial sadness, there is a part of me that feels like I have hit another milestone with the removal of my port.  For that I am happy.  Now if I can just get through September with what feels like a month full of tests and scans – all alone.

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