Tag Archives: Chemo

Check Out My Port! (part 2)

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Between cooking Chicken Marsala (I’m just saying, it’s kind of a big deal. If I could marry my marsala, it would be on like Donkey Kong) and the weather becoming much warmer–I quickly changed into a tank top as the kitchen started heating up tonight. 

Looking at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, seeing my bare shoulders in a tank top again, with that protruding triangular shaped mound just sitting there; really got me thinking. My surgeon has given the go ahead for port removal; it’s been in place for 15 months now. I’m already 7 months out from completing treatment…7 months!

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Change is the evolution of life right? But I’ve become attached to my port. It’s just as much a part of me as my hair or skin. What’s it going to feel like when I don’t have a port anymore?  What will it be like looking in the mirror to see a fading scar where an obvious prominence used to be? To not have to wear my seatbelt a different way for comfort? For my daughter to say “Mommy, where did your port go?” To not get stared at in public by total strangers who don’t always know what a port even is? To not see my oncology nurses every 6 to 8 weeks for a port flush? To go to the lab for routine blood draws, instead of to the nurses in the infusion suite?

Port removal is a major milestone as a cancer patient. When your oncologist and surgeon are in agreement that it’s time to take out the port, it’s this hopeful intention that you’re going to be healthy long term. It’s their way of saying a patient is in a good place of survivorship.

Having my port removed isn’t just letting go of what was, it’s moving forward into what will be. Living my best life, one day healthier and stronger at a time.

chemo-portCheck out my port! Pretty gross and extremely fascinating at the same time. Especially when you consider that it’s sitting under my skin at this very moment. Having a port is kind of like having a tattoo, you forget that it’s there. Except, unlike a tattoo, I get reminded each time I buckle my driver’s side seat belt, get dressed in front of a mirror or get hugged way too hard. The hugging doesn’t hurt, it just gives you this feeling of “Oh hey I remember that! The chemo thing my surgeon stuck in a blood vessel X amount of months ago.”

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Gratitude, Day 26: The “Bat-Mobile”

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DAY 26:

Friday/October 3:

This was a long-awaited, much-deserved day. For the first time in nine years, I have a vehicle of my own again!

Earlier this year I began a fundraiser on GoFundMe.com (awesome website if you need to raise money for any type of reason or cause). The intention was to raise enough money to get my children and I into a brand new vehicle, a safe means of transportation for the three of us…four if you count the dog.

Up until October 3, I relied heavily on those around me for transportation. I had been using my father’s vehicle the first year I moved back home. Then my mother’s for the next two and finally a very dear friend’s mini-van for the last three or four months.

I felt frustrated being so dependent upon those around me. Once chemotherapy treatments began, it made sharing a vehicle far more difficult. I began chemo in February. If you’re not familiar with New England weather in February, let’s just say it “wicked” cold…wicked freaking cold.

One of the side effects I experienced from chemo was extreme sensitivity to cold. To the point where touching anything frozen or below room temperature felt like pins and needles pulsating through my fingers.

Because I shared a vehicle with my mom, at that time, I would have to go out at 11:30 p.m. or later to pick her up from work. Going out in freezing temperatures, plus getting my sleeping children into/out of the vehicle, was trying. I would have start it up, ten to fifteen minutes beforehand, just to warm it up.

It wasn’t until October that enough money was raised. I had been negotiating a deal all September with one dealership, when a better deal came along. It took a few days to get the paperwork in order and have the vehicle registered. But when all was said and done, it was the best feeling in the world to drive home in what my son has named “The Bat-Mobile.” A vehicle of my own choosing that gave me back my independence.

Each time I drive that SUV, I’m reminded of the power I have to beautifully manifest anything I truly desire. But more so, it’s a reminder of the love that surrounds my children and I. The Universe is constantly taking care of us, nurturing us and supporting the further advancement of our lives toward bigger and better things.

It wouldn’t have been possible (at least not for another year or two) to have this vehicle; not without the unyielding support of those around me both physically and emotionally.

Cancer didn’t just change my life. It catapulted me toward living the life of my dreams.