The Next Step.

IBEATCANCER

Within my first week of chemotherapy I got a port implanted in my chest. This would save the veins in my arm which was a good thing because, as I discovered on my second day of chemo, one of the drugs in my cocktail could not go through the same vein two days in a row without feeling like my arm had been dipped in gasoline and set on fire. The port also meant I wouldn’t come out of chemo looking like a drug-addled rock star which is kind of a downside..

The surgery to implant the port was done in July 2014 and was one of the easiest parts of my trip with cancer. The doctors gave me a local anesthetic which knocked me completely unconscious, the whole procedure took less than half an hour, and I woke up reciting lyrics from Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.

I then got stuck in the recovery room for a couple of hours waiting for someone to tell me I was good to go while a man in the bed next to me kept demanding beer, but that’s another story.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

For some reason using the port was also less painful than being stuck in the arm, and easier for the nurses who wouldn’t have to hunt for a vein. They’d just take the big needle and aim for the lump.

Even after I was done with chemo I still had to get the port flushed at least once every six weeks to prevent blood from clotting in it. And this wasn’t a big deal. It meant sticking a needle through skin so it did sting a little and then they’d pump saline through it and I’d get a cool salty taste in my mouth.

It was a reminder of what I’d been through but I didn’t need it. Several times I told the nurses I thought it was time to get it removed. One nurse told me, “There’s a woman I see sometimes who’s had her port in for twenty years.”

I hope that was a matter of choice rather than necessity. Or maybe, like me, she just kept putting it off.

I’m not putting it off any longer. If you’re reading this today, December 12, 2016, this is the day I’m getting my port removed.

It’s not the end. It’s merely another step. As the saying goes the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but after that first step there’s another and another and another, unless you have freakishly long legs.

I’m still on a journey and hope to go many thousands of miles more.

Update: Thank you for all the well-wishes. I’ve been successfully de-ported.

 

18 Comments

  1. Paula

    Thanks for sharing. Prayers for a long happy-ever-after.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you–and it’s kind of funny. This time I didn’t even fall asleep during the surgery and when the surgeon was done I said, “Was that it?”

      Reply
  2. Mila

    And who’s the bad ass now. Wish you well, man.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Am I a bad ass now? Don’t let it get out. I don’t want to ruin my reputation as a scrawny weakling. Well, a weakling anyway.

      Reply
  3. Frank Versnick

    Hope this is the step to complete recovery, nephew. You have 8 days to your next birthday, I have 9 (you were supposed to wait until Dec 21st but were in
    a hurry to get started not realizing that this crazy world has so many twists
    and turns, but we’re survivors!) I can’t believe I’ll be 82,well past both my
    parents and older brother. I’ve had several health issues the latest is a
    little skin cancer on top of my head, and I was the wimp on the beach when in
    FL who always had to have an umbrella and never golfed without a cap! Have a
    very Happy Birthday Chris, enjoy a good beer even with cake, I will too!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you so much, Uncle Frank! We definitely are survivors in this crazy, twisty-turny world. I’ll definitely have cake and I’ll not only have my beer but drink it too.

      Reply
  4. Arionis

    Hope all goes well! You’ll be in my thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thanks so much–everything went well and it went so fast I didn’t even get a chance to joke with the surgeon. At one point he told me not to be nervous. Then he left. I kind of wish he’d asked me if I was nervous because, well…

      Reply
  5. M. Firpi

    Hi Chris, I wish you well and I imagine this is a step forward, as I imagine a port could get infected in the long run. So glad you’re feeling better and you sure look like you lost a lot of weight.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Hi Maria–thank you so much. I hope you’re doing well too. Yes, ports sometimes do get infected which was one of many reasons I wanted to get mine taken out.

      Reply
  6. Moonwatcher51

    Wishing you well on the eve of a Supermoon. It’s great to move on and put bad stuff behind you. Here’s to a healthy future.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you so much–the Supermoon is icing on the cake. Last night when I looked up the Moon had an amazing ring around it. Some people take that as a bad sign but I always like seeing a ring.

      Reply
  7. Ann Koplow

    I found this post one hour after the end of this very im-port-ant day. I feel honored to witness your journey, Chris. All the best to you.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you for your thoughts and for being a witness. We’re both on remarkable journeys.

      Reply
  8. Gilly Maddison

    What good news! So pleased for you. Am thinking all the very best for continued good health and a billion more steps forward. Am writing this watching my dad going up and down, backwards and forwards in his new recliner/lifter chair because he is playing with the controls 😀.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It sounds like your father is having a great time. Here’s wishing him a billion ups and downs in his new recliner/lifter chair!

      Reply
  9. Michelle

    I am so glad you are port free!!!!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you! It’s a huge relief to no longer have to worry about any storm in a port.

      Reply

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