In early October of 2008, I underwent a minor surgery to install a mediport. These ingenious little devices let nurses access major arteries (or is it veins?) to draw blood or administer chemotherapy or push dye through for scans, etc. Because I would receive so much chemo, the chemo (or the needles?) could possibly blow out my veins. Bad visual. So, the mediport was placed below my collarbone on the right side of my damaged body. It was my lifeline. It was my portal of hope. It was an obnoxious bump under my skin. It reminded me that I was ill. It made me feel like a cyborg. But, there it was.
For fifteen months, the port and I cohabitated. It was a beneficial sort of parasite. Chemo ended, but I still needed blood tests. I had to go to the cancer center for blood tests because “regular” phlebotomists don’t deal with ports. Even if I didn’t need blood drawn, I’d need to have the port flushed out to stave off infections once a month. So I did. Have you ever put Purell on your hands and then eaten something with your hands and gotten a taste of the disinfectant? That’s the taste that goes through your mouth every time your port is flushed. Your port is flushed every time it’s used. Yum!
After fourteen months of this pleasure, I asked if the port could be taken out. This was a bold move. When the port was placed, I was told I’d have it in forever. This meant, seemingly, that I’d never be off chemo long enough to be without the port. What a great way to spend the rest of your days on earth. Ugghhh. Well, what’s a girl to do? The girl decides to do what she can, of course. And, thankfully, for now it is working. So, the girl asks to be deported. And her wish is granted.
On January 8, 2010, I was deported from the world I just described. First, no more chemo for now. Hallelujah! I am keenly aware that it is likely to enter my life again later. Second, no more cancer centers for blood work. I simply drive down the street to a center that is a mere 15 minutes away. Third, no more stopping into the cancer center before each scan to have the port accessed…and then after the scan to have the port flushed. This saves, probably, thirty minutes each time I’m scanned. Yes, now I’m being needled repeatedly in the same vein (artery?) in my arm. So far it is holding up just fine.
Now, when I look in the mirror, I don’t see an ill woman staring back at me. Ok, I still have BC mets. Whatever. I see no signs of this. I have my hair back. In fact, it is growing at a ferocious speed in all the places I don’t want it. 🙂 I must say, this makes me grin from ear to ear. I have no cyborg button. Instead, I have a scar. Scars remind you of pains that used to be. They themselves are not painful at all. In fact, scar tissue is incredibly strong. And so, you can think, is your spirit.
Over the weekend, esp on Saturday, think of me for just a minute. Think of all the people that have entered the portal world. Be thankful, if you could, for all of us that crawled out of the portal world and became the faithfully deported. I believe I have more than the doctors to thank for this. There is, of course, you. There is, of course, John and my kids. They are always the focus for pushing on. There is also, I believe, a competent woman in Utah watching for abnormalities in my system that would allow cancer growth. Finally, I believe, there is a God. And so it is that I have been faithfully deported. Through the grace of God, meds, herbs, and strong relationships. I wish for everyone to be this lucky.
As the band Fort Minor said, “This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain”….and I’m happy, happy, happy to still be in the game!