21 Apr

I can’t take credit for the punny title – a friend wittier than myself though of it. But it’s true! I have been exported! As in my little port friend has been surgically removed. They even let me take it home (oh, don’t act so shocked that I wanted to).

i should stop biting my nails, huh?

The procedure didn’t take long but it was a little more involved than I thought it would be.  I only needed some local numbing stuff, but I was in operating room and they had to do a lot of draping with sterile blue blanky thingies, limiting my field of vision down to just my friend and hand holder they kindly let accompany me.  I guess there was quite a bit of scar tissue type stuff to free the port from and at one point they even used a cauterizing cutting thing – which means I got to smell my flesh burning.  Which was fun.  I looked like this for a while…

But am essentially back to normal now.

Getting rid of my port was more emotional than I thought it would be and I’ve reacted in unanticipated ways.  People kept telling me it was a finish line.  I guess it is.  It feels more like a leap of faith to me.  Breath held, eyes closed, step off the edge.  It’s scary and since the removal, the frequency of my psychosomatic twitches, tingles, urgencies and twinges has definitely increased.  As though cancer was just waiting for me to look the other way so it could kudzu vine all over my abdominal cavity.  I haven’t anxiously poked myself in the belly this much since the tail end of chemo.  I’ve been tempted every day, more than once a day, to call my doctor and unreasonably demand a daily CT scan and MRI.  People get very superstitious about their ports.  It’s not just me.  It feels daring, bold, reckless to take it out.  Like I’m taunting cancer, provoking it.

I used to fidget with my port.  I never had a pacifier or blanky as kid, but my port was something like that.  One of the oncologists here told me that everyone regresses when they get sick – the cancer kid in me didn’t need a teddy bear though, just the comfort of tapping the rubber stopper under my skin or poking the little trampoline of tubing crossing my collar bone.  I just went to go feel for that with my left hand now – it’s not there.  I miss it.  It had been my intimate and steadfast friend these long months.

It does feel finish-line-ish in some ways to be portless.  I can pack away my hurt from some of the things that happened while I had that port like packing away little, sharp, glassy Christmas ornaments.  I can put some pieces of pain to bed now.  Cover them with white sheets and close the shutters on the room in my mind.  Those closed, dusty, dark rooms are still there, full of bulky and edgy furniture pieces of pain covered in white sheets; but since it’s not pain season anymore we’ve moved to another other home for the time being and have no need for off season furnishings.




2 Responses to “Exported”

  1. Liza Kerrigan April 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    There was an article in NYT this morning about cancer patients who’ve “beat” cancer but having similar feelings. Your not alone, it seems. But, I agree, in order to move beyond all of this, you do need to move towards other places/things in your life. Other issues of living can fill ones life till there is no room to worry about the bad stuff. Moving forward, helps to move forward leaving this room as a distant, dusty, cobwebbed memory.

  2. Pleads the Fifth April 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    My Bonnie lies over the ocean, my Bonnie……..

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