I Prefer My Ports In A Glass

Today has been a special sucky day. I think there’s starting to be a pattern with my Mondays. Maybe it will help all of you working people to read something that lets you feel like your Monday wasn’t so bad after all. If you had a worse one, let me know so I can feel better about mine.

So I actually enjoy port because secretly I am a refined 65 year old european man. I’ve been hiding this for years. I think port is a fantastic way to end the day or follow a meal. Port aka portacath not so much.

Not sure if I’ve written about what a port is (I blame the drugs) so I apologize if I’m being repetitive. You probably have something better to do. When you’re getting chemo you have to get an IV placed each time (every other week for me) and also blood drawn before the chemo to check your blood levels. I can only have blood taken on my right side now that I’ve had some lymph nodes removed on my left. Lymph nodes help clear out your blood and assist with preventing infections and if you get a needle (or even a cat scratch) on that side it can lead to infection and swelling which can lead to lymphdema which is a life long condition that sucks. So for the rest of my life no needles, tattoos, cat scratches or blood pressure cuffs on my left arm or upper quadrant (around my breast/arm pit area).

This is important because when you keep frequently getting blood drawn from the same vein areas you can end up with scaring which can cause problems too. I also have small veins which means they’re hard to stick IVs in and chemo fucks with your blood/veins so they will get even tougher. Another fun fact is that every time they try a spot it collapses that area and they have to try a new spot. You can see why being limited with my right arm could cause some issues. So today I got put in a port. A port is a device that goes under your skin near your collar bone and connects to one of the major arteries going to your heart. There will be a test later about this.

Diagram of a port

Each time I get blood drawn, a shot, or an IV they can do it in the port and they won’t have to worry about finding a vein and it will presumably be a lot less painful for me. Please note I said presumably which is a reflection on how I feel currently. It’s a same day surgery and you’re sort of awake, I don’t remember the majority of the procedure but wasn’t technically knocked out. It’s called a “twilight sleep” which is actually an option they used to offer women giving birth. Black out babies…

I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal since my other same day surgeries haven’t been super painful. A. and I found ourselves again with me on a hospital bed and him holding my hand while they stuck in an IV. We have to stop spending our dates like this. I was sitting there silently crying about how it sucks to have cancer while trying to stop crying so I didn’t dehydrate myself and make it harder for them to find a vein. This is my life. I met a physicians assistant who was great and going to be supervising the resident (it’s a simple procedure so they let the baby doctors do it). Then I become coherent towards the end of the surgery and she wasn’t there and there was a guy overseeing the resident and telling him things like “don’t clip the knot, you clipped the knot, don’t tie it so tightly” and basically making me feel extremely uncomfortable. It came to a head when the overseeing guy said “well I mean I am a perfectionist” (in a tone of voice like he was being too tough). And I pipped up and said “me too!”. The talking stopped after that and they quickly finished up. I also couldn’t see them during any of this because they had a sheet up. I had the nurse ask the physician’s assistant to come by when I was out and I let her know that it upset me that she’d left the surgery when she said she’d be there keeping an eye on things. From her perspective everything had been ok and it was just closing up and the other guy was there to supervise. She was very nice though and apologetic. Nothing to do about it but I don’t think it should have happened.

I went home after that and slept from around 11am to 3pm, until the anesthesia wore off. Turns out this really hurts once that wears off. Worse than the biopsies did, my other same day surgeries. It’s a weird hurt too, a more stressful one because it’s like I can feel the vein which makes me feel really fragile. It also sucks that my right side now feels more out of commission than my left side since that was my good side. So it’s been a bad day. I don’t have a lot of bad days, mostly I have days with some bad sprinkled in, but today as a whole has been a bad day.

Tomorrow is chemo. So if you feel like sending me a long email about life outside of cancer world please do. I’ll have about 5 hours of sitting around at the hospital tomorrow. Fun times. Also because this has come up with a few people, we can talk about hard/stressful/bad things going on with you. It’s allowed. Me having cancer does not set the richter scale of tough life things. You are allowed to have tough life things and we can totally talk about them. I am not a one up person unless it’s being sarcastic or joking. I promise that I will not respond “well at least you don’t have cancer at 30”. Unless you really deserve it.

The one shining moment was when A. and I were driving to the hospital we had on the Lithium station on my Mom’s XM and Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie” came on. For real. It was hilarious. A. was impressed/horrified that I knew every word. But then again, both of their first two CDs are still in my high school CD case in the living room downstairs.

So you can take that cookie and shove it up your….


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