My port, not hedging my bet & Me
Posted December 8, 2010on:
I have been working on what words to use to announce the removal of my portacath (port) today. This device under my skin was connected to a vein by a catheter. It was handy to deliver chemotherapy in 2009 and since then to draw blood for tests.
It could have stayed in forever, but that would mean going to the clinic each month to have it flushed with heparin to make sure it did not clog up.
Because of my double mastectomy in 2009, my arms are avoided for blood tests, which means it is trickier to get blood from this turnip. The concern is an infection in my arms could lead to lymphedema. This condition involves an obstruction of the lymph nodes, through which fluid drains from tissues around the body and allows immune cells to travel where they are needed. It can be a chronic problem that includes pain and swelling.
So there was a decision to be made about keeping the port. Some folks might want it to remain just in case the cancer came back.
In some ways having the port is like an umbrella. If you carry it with you, it won’t rain. But if you don’t have it, it will rain. I don’t carry an umbrella for a couple of reasons, mostly because I never seem to have it when it is raining. Or I leave it behind wherever I am.
I decided I wanted the port out because keeping it in case the cancer comes back feels like betting against myself. If I need it in the future, they’ll re-implant the port. But let’s not go there.
So this morning I was at the hospital at 6 a.m. to have it removed. My surgeon likes to do it in the operating room just in case of a complication. It’s done with local anesthetic not general, which means I wouldn’t care what they did to me or feel it but would not be asleep.
The nurse anesthetist tried to start an IV in each of my feet but had no luck. Instead, it was in my hand for the brief procedure that began just before 8 a.m. I was home by 9 a.m. and writing this blog post by 9:45 a.m.
As is my way, I wanted to have a word play with the term port. I thought of getting de-ported, but that is too emotionally-charged term in other contexts.
So I was un-ported or a–ported.
Sailors may have a woman in every port, but this woman has no port in her.