There’s something about the giant, sterile, surgical light that hovers above you in the surgery room. Whether it’s minor surgery or major, it doesn’t matter. Seeing that lamp sent me into a panic.

I was fine when I checked in to have my port removed. Fine sitting there as the nurse came and checked my vital signs and then escorted me into the room where minor surgery is performed. My surgeon, “Dr. D”, went about preparing what he needed to open me up and literally cut out my chemotherapy port-a-cath.

Immediately after my port was removed. Trying to fight back tears of joy long enough to take a "post port removal" selfie :)
Immediately after my port was removed. Trying to fight back tears of joy long enough to take a “post port removal” selfie 🙂

I started breathing heavy, hot tears flushed down my face…and I had just laid back onto the surgical bed. The nurse took my hand as Dr. D started prepping my skin, adding the dressing to the area that isolated the spot where he needed to remove good old “Penny”. He hadn’t even applied local anesthetic and I was quickly losing my composure.

Thank goodness my surgeon is the smartass that he is. The first needle was nothing. I’ve had blood draws taken that were far worse. I didn’t know he was going to inject about four or five more (possibly more, I lost count after the fourth injection).

It felt like someone was digging around, underneath my skin, with a miniature hot poker. Dr. D says to the nurse “Would you call that a whine or a whimper?” And when I wasn’t laughing he told me it was time to start manning up! Believe it or not, his sarcasm put me at ease.

Dr. D isn’t the type of doctor to coddle his patients. Tough love maybe but it’s the kind of attitude I grew up with and the reason why I probably got through my cancer treatments with such an optimistic attitude. It’s the “suck it up buttercup” mentality that allowed me to say “Okay, I’ve got cancer, what do I have to do to kick its’ ass ad move on with my life?”

He got me to calm down, that and a combination of the local anesthetic kicking in. I started taking slow, deep breaths and made small talk about my munchkins with the nurse.

I was done about ten minutes after Dr. D opened up the port site.

245b6a3786bfe4aaf8a939164f3d1bf5On the way out, the nurse asked me if I wanted to give a single finger salute. I said “What? No, I really like Dr. D” After bursting into laughter, she said “I didn’t mean to Dr. D, I was talking about your port!”

I looked over toward my surgeon and saw it there on the counter next to him. In a little plastic, specimen collection jar was my chemotherapy port.

That part of my life, for the most part,is over now.

A new journey begins…


2 thoughts on “Arrivederci!

  1. Congratulations, Amber. Being a nurse, I have worked with people in similar situations/diagnosis. It is not all that often that I would see someone who had your courage, strength, attitude and your outlook. So often when people get a certain diagnosis, it can really send one into a tailspin, and sometimes people do not recover from that. You on the other hand were quite the exception. You are truly an inspiration not only for those dealing with a cancer diagnosis, but also for those who really have any kind of event that alters what ever a person’s “normal” happens to be. I have enjoyed reading all about your journey and I wish you nothing but the best.

    1. Thank you so much Lisa for your kind words and emotional support 🙂 Staying as optimistic as possible was (and still is) so important to me. Two little (very important) humans were my greatest motivating factors; I wanted them to know that “Mom” was going to be okay. But more than anything I didn’t ever want THEIR quality of life to change just because mine had. It wasn’t easy by any means. There were some days when I would start to feel my emotions and the chemo get the best of me. Thinking there was no way I could stand another treatment, I wasn’t strong enough to sit up in my own bed and so many other little moments of an “almost defeat.” But then one of my kiddos would come into my room and kiss me on the forehead while I was resting or pull the corner of a blanket up over my shoulder or snuggle up next to me in my bed just because they wanted to. Those moments were my heart songs. It’s both strange and beautiful how such a simple moment can give the human soul enough courage to say “there’s no way in hell I’m going anywhere.” But it did every single time. Their love was the food my soul needed to flourish. Thank you again, so much, for following my cancer journey Lisa! When someone such as yourself comments, it really means a lot to me. If I can help someone out there in the Cancer community or like you said, anyone out there facing obstacles, then having cancer will have been worth every moment of hardship. Thank you again Lisa

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