I caught a glimpse of it this morning in the mirror and startled myself. An instinctive brush to the chest to get it off me only resulted in a very distinctive reminder that (fuuuuhhhh!) it isn’t going anywhere. My chest port is in and it’s staying in for a while.
Maybe the best reaction to seeing my port for the first time came from my five-year-old nephew, Drew. “Auntie! What the… What IS that?” If this five-year-old had a sailor’s vocab I think the pause may have quite rightly been an f-bomb. It would have been the cutest f-bomb accompanied by those bright eyes and rose-colored cheeks, and it was certainly warranted. Being the best Auntie I would not have gone for the soap or told his mother. Nope. Sometimes, when the seat belt hits me just right, I drop a few f-bombs, too.
“Well, it’s where Auntie keeps her super powers.”
And then he was back to rigging my doorknob with a pulley system that would close it on me with a tug from downstairs.
“Hey Auntie! C’mere!”
It’s his favorite trick.
It’s true, this foreign object that has been stuck in what little flesh I have, right where one might don their “Hello My Name Is…” sticker, is how I’m planning on taking care of business. I can’t say I’m happy it’s there. I mean there’s one unwanted lump already in my chest, but this one you can actually SEE, and it’s a constant shade of green, from the 2 inch incision, all the way up the little tube that is also under my skin, to the puncture wound in my neck. The nurses call it a “healing” bruise. I call it gross. It’s a pain in the ass to find a shirt that doesn’t rub it raw, and sleeping on my left side is out of the question. The tube that snakes it’s way over my clavicle and then down my artery to my heart is rubbing against my windpipe every time I take a breath and you betcha I can feel it. If your stomach just did a little flipparooni, I’m right there with you. Every time I catch a glimpse. Or hug someone.
It’s a handy little thing, despite how it looks or feels. They push a sewing machine-sized needle through my skin and into the port to administer the “red devil,” draw blood, pump radiated dye for CT scans, you know, that sort of thing. (What? That’s what they do!) It saves my poor arms and hands from being stabbed multiple times resulting in bruises that make me look like a rookie junkie. It saves me from begging nurses to please please please use lidocaine to set an IV. It saves me from blowing a vein when the adriamycin finally eats them away. As bizarre as it is to watch them just pin that huber needle right to my chest like a badge of honor, I am just as grateful for it. And of course, it’s coming out the same way it went in, sooooo…..
While it has put an end to my sun salutations for a bit, and kept me from sailing past the volcanoes of Montserrat this past week, that’s a small price to pay, I figure, for having super powers. And if I can lend any bit of humor to something so.not.funny., I have named the annoying little squiggle worm tube thingy I saw after this week’s CT scan, Kevin. Why would I name it Kevin? Well, because my chemo nurse’s name is Allen and I like him, and Marcel’s dog’s name is Allen and I really like him.
Wearing it proud because there is no other way.
Hello My Name Is…