Ok, so I got back from San Diego on July 6, 2019. I met with Dr. Breakstone (my oncologist) and Dr. Leonard (my radiologist) on July 12. It was at that appointment that Dr. Breakstone asked if I wanted to get started with my chemo “next week.” Like a deer in headlights, I said, “uh, sure?” She said something to the effect of “great!” and then proceeded to explain the next step in the process…the port.
The purpose of a port is basically easy access to a vein. A port is a little reservoir with a tiny tube that gets threaded into a vein. They stick the needle into the reservoir and pump the meds through it. It eliminates the need for weekly needle sticks AND gives the patient the ability to take chemo home, because, yes, that’s a thing. These little ports are critical because veins blow and needles stink and take-home chemo is part of the package.
Now, my only other experience with a port was when my mother was sick and dying from a blood cancer. She had a dialysis port in her neck. Yes, you read that right. IN. HER. NECK. And it was HUGE. It was so big, in fact, that it puzzled me how someone could be alive with an intentional hole that size. But Dr. Breakstone assured me that my port would be WAY tinier than that and that I would be just fine. Isn’t it funny how when someone says, “don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” “fine” is the farthest feeling? So of course I still had a moment or two (or a million) of freak outs. And what I kept going back to was the thought of my kids having to watch their mother go through this. It is something that will forever haunt me and will forever bring me to tears.
Ok, so back to the port. So when Dr. Breakstone said how about on Wednesday, and I did what any good cancer patient does. I pushed all my emotional stuff back, WAY back, looked her in the eye, and said, “that will be just fine.”
On July 17, 2019, I went into the Miriam Hospital for the first of well over a dozen times. I got registered, and was taken to a waiting room. And actually, now that I think about it, getting the port was pretty easy. Once they came to get me, they brought me to my room, had me changed into my johnny, asked me some questions, gave me some twilight meds (so I was “awake” but wouldn’t remember or feel a thing), and then they inserted the port right below my right clavicle, and then brought me back to my room. That was it. It was truly that simple.
And It was there that my partner and I had the best toasted English muffins with peanut better possibly EVER, named the Port Peter, and then on our merry way we went. The really fun stuff was going to start two days later. And that would be chemo.
Thanks for checking in this week. Please remember that even in the darkest of times, it is totally possible to mine your light, and you, yes YOU deserve to feel that kind of love and warmth.