Hey Check Out My Port! (part 1)

be-kind-for-everyone-you-meet-is-fighting-a-battle-you-know-nothing-about-drkehres

Warm weather is finally here in New England! I don’t dare mention the “s” word. You know–that white, fluffy stuff that comes from the sky. Enough of it was moved about in Boston, this past winter, to “fill Gillette stadium 90 times” according to Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker. You know what I’m talking about. Even though it’s May, I’m not going into detail about it because after all this is New England. If it could sn– eh hem, get really cold again in May when it shouldn’t…this is where it would happen.

Warmer weather means less layers and more skin. Let’s keep this rated PG you dirty bird, get your mind out of the gutter…not THAT much skin. I’m talking tank tops, capris, sleeveless tanks. And one more thing for me, for other cancer patients…clear port visibility.

The area that my port was placed in makes it very, very visible. At Victoria’s Secret, one employee in particular always remembers me.  She gives me that “you look so familiar but I don’t want to offend you, so I’ll just ask if you need assistance instead” look. Until she helps me with something in the fitting room.  Then she’s all smiles and says “Oh that’s right! I remember you now from the…” At a loss for words, she touches her shoulder just below her clavicle–where my port is.

There’s also some concerned, elderly, female cashiers at one of the grocery stores I frequent. I can think of two or three of them off hand. This is the part that always gets me. They make conversation with me, idle chit chat, speaking to my kids or asking how they’re doing if they’re not with me. Eyes shift to my shoulder, in a passing glance but get fixated (momentarily) on my port. The next time their eyes meet mine, it’s this look of…I don’t know, pain? It’s a look I’ve gotten to know so well. The look of someone who, by some means, recognizes my port. “My God, how does someone so young have cancer? How could this happen to her?” THAT look.

You’d think with as many times as I’ve seen it, I’d be conditioned to not feel what I do when it happens. But I do. And every damn time someone gives me that look, it makes me want to burst into tears.

Not because I feel weak or think I’m too young to have had cancer. It pulls on my emotions because of the genuine element of human compassion behind it. Because I have never seen so much empathy, love and genuine concern from both people I know and total strangers in my entire life.

I’ve seen men as big as Sasquatch look like they’re about to cry when they hear I had cancer. Journalists, who are tough as nails in the field, look at me with such endearment because of what I endured.

There are still kindhearted, loving and sincerely good people on this earth.

It gives me hope.

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2 thoughts on “Hey Check Out My Port! (part 1)

  1. I’m 41 years old and was just diagnosed with colon cancer on March 16. Completed my 4th round of chemo and totally understand that feeling of complete strangers feeling so deeply towards you…and they have never met me. Especially so when I am with my 7 year old daughter and 3 year old son!! F***ing surreal. I’m enjoying your posts and I relate to you, feels good to hear your story. Thank you!

    1. Thank YOU so much for sharing your own personal story with me here and also for reading about mine. You go get em mama! Kick that cancer’s ass, pun intended! My children are roughly the same age as yours (9 and 4) and I know exactly what you mean. Cancer is becoming more and more predominant in younger generations, it’s unfortunate but one of life’s truths. Congrats to you on completing round 4, keep trucking through and you’ll do it. Sometimes it seems like it will never end, but eventually that last session will come and you’ll be amazed that treatment is finally over. I wish you ALL the best with your treatments, journey and everything in between. There’s nothing like connecting with someone who knows exactly what you went through/are going through. So thank you again for sharing your journey as well, stay strong!

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