Iron Woman

19 Mar

The holidays this past year went by all too fast- with yet another surgery looming around the corner they seemed to past by so quickly. The Tuesday after Christmas I was scheduled to have a port put in my chest. A port. What in the shit was a port? I pictured myself hand in hand with Robert Downey Jr. as the ultimate superhero duo. How was I to function with a gaping hole in my chest? What would the protruding object coming out of my chest look like? Could I get it wet? What about showering? These were all questions I had before I finally called a nurse at the cancer center to be sure I was making the right decision about having a port surgically implanted. She informed me that I would not be Downey Jr’s better half and that the port went under my skin, between my muscles and that it is accessed by a needle, that no kind of droid would be gaping out of my chest suggesting I may have come from another galaxy. Phew. That was a relief. I about bitch slapped Lisa for feeding me false info about the procedure but held back on account of her delicate and oh-so-lovely face, she didn’t need an imprint of my hand compromising her looks.

I was feeling better about the surgery, especially because I was told that receiving chemo through an IV in the arm is extremely hard on the veins, which tend to burn or sometimes explode. Blaaahhhh. Exploding veins. Now I can’t feel my legs. Anyway, after the holiday and before the surgery Lisa, my dad, my sister and I checked into a hotel downtown since Lisa’s new apartment was ready to move into yet. I will always remember that week in the hotel. The four of us and our two dogs. What a cluster cuss. The port surgery was scheduled early in the morning and having already gone through the removal of the golf ball I knew the ropes for same day surgery. Lisa didn’t come back with me in the patient waiting room this time- since I was a pro I figured I could handle this one on my own. I went through the anesthesia drill again and they wheeled me into surgery- I saw the giant light on the ceiling and drifted off to sleep…

Waking up from the golf ball was so exciting and pretty much painless- not this time. This time I felt like I had taken a bullet in the chest from a sawed off shotgun. I woke up in so much pain I couldn’t stand it. I could barely move my right arm and the entire right side of my chest was aching. I could barely get dressed- Lisa helped me out of my gown and into my clothes and we went back to the hotel. All I wanted to do was sleep but lying down was so uncomfortable- like a body builder was ripping my arm out of the socket and at the same time world’s largest elephant was making itself comfortable on my chest. It was the sickest circus act ever. I tried to propping my arm up on a pillow and boosting myself up with a blanket, but nothing seemed to help. Bless Olivia’s little teen heart for putting up with that madness, I was a miserable piece of work and yet she kept me entertained and continued to bunk with me.

I really didn’t know if I could handle the port, live with it everyday or ever be able to sleep again. I remember being so envious of everyone when they went to bed, I wanted so badly a solid slumber. While I was glad I wasn’t a fembot and knew it would be beneficial during chemo, that surgery and the days following were no picnic. They were some of the hardest days I have ever lived in fact- definitely the worst during this ordeal. I almost think being a product of Stark Industries would have been easier.

The port has since settled in- kinda. I still struggle with it time to time. I notice it at times when I’m sleeping on my right side. The scar and the small bump on my chest remind me everyday that its there- I hate looking at it but I do have to admit that it is a small price to pay for the convenience during chemo.

Below is a picture of what I had implanted in my chest (but its actually under my skin).

This is how the nurse accesses my port. Once I’m done receiving treatment they remove the tube.


2 Responses to “Iron Woman”

  1. Angela and Phil March 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    I think it really would have upped your readership if you had showed just a little nip.

  2. Annie Booton March 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    to say that i’ve been inspired by you in an understatement. i think the amount of people who have had scares are numerous, but you are a force to be reckoned with. my parents told me about one of their best friends who had hodgkin’s right after college, and he is a successful attorney in KC. never have i doubted your health, your passion, your strength. never in my life have a had more hope or faith in someone, and that applies to people whose daily lives just involve getting through class, DVRs and sleep cycles. you may not realize it, but i pray for you everyday. sometimes people say– oh whatever, prayers can only do so much– but I believe in the physical power of prayer, in affecting change and in the power of human thought. love you, always have… bootsie.

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