Words from the big chair #4

(I thought I posted this 2 weeks ago after my 5th chemo…but apparently I only saved a draft. So here is an old post that is now a new post.)

Even though this is my 5th chemo, I’m still only writing from the big chair for the 4th time. And what a week it was.

On Wednesday, I had my portocath put in my upper chest. It took quite some more time than they told it would, but the surgeons were just being cautious. My tumor is still restricting my Superior Vena Cava in my upper chest and the catheter goes right down this restricted vein, which needs a little TLC. After they got that figured out, there was some bleeding from the port site because my other veins are picking up the slack and are particularly full of blood. In the end, it was all under control and I finished up in a couple of hours.

My new buddy - Petey the Port

My new buddy - Petey the Port

It was my first time in surgery, tho. I told the nurse (my favorite nurse I’ve had during this whole process – she runs a tight ship) and her response was “Yeah, but its nice to know we are here.” True dat.

I also kept bugging them whether the port had any other functions – could I use it as a panic button? Is it in any way considered ‘bionic’? Can it help me jump over tall buildings in single bound. Alas, it is only a way to get the chemicals to my heart faster. *Yawn*

I have a small incision on my upper chest and the ‘port’ device sits in a little ‘sack’ stitched to the inside of my skin. Then the catheter runs through my vein and to my heart. This helps the drugs get into my blood flow faster (no more phlebitis in my arms!) and also helps for blood draws and takes the place of an IV. Every other cancer patient I talk to says it is a blessing to have a port put.

My 2nd happiest port day will be the day they take it out.

So, long story short – it feels like someone punched me in the upper left chest and the area is sore. But not so sore that I couldn’t go back to chemo today – hooray!

Today, I went into chemo with a different attitude than last time. Whatever happens to me over this weekend I know it is only temporary. And the war in my chest is being won by ABVD. So, although me, the chemo kid in Minnesotta, my friend Vanessa, producer Jon and everyone else I know who is going through this right now thinks it sucks – we all have to be strong together.

So chemo went well. The port worked just the way it was promised. The most uncomfortable thing was taking the tape off of my hairy chest – which sucks so bad that I might start another blog about it – Mr. and Mr. Follicle.

The nausea is starting to set in tonight. Looking forward to a long week of watching movies in my jammies and catching up on some PS3.

Nothing new to report except about a dozen super-human people installed and injected super-human technology into me for 2 days.

Me and my surgical team

Me and my surgical team


9 responses to “Words from the big chair #4

  1. It’s a shame about the follicles. It’s the curse that we male mammals have to face…

    My Mrs. did some research on the port, as I thought the tube on the x-ray was on the outside. It’s amazing that it’s all inside! What is actually visible on the surface? I’m picturing C-3PO’s restraining bolt from Star Wars, but I’m guessing you’re not sporting a robo-nipple.

    • Right now on the outside is just a yucky, half healed cut. Just like if you got about 3 inches of stitches above your left non-robo nipple. The weird part is the bump under my skin – but you wouldn’t be able to see anything unless you were looking for it.

      Maybe I’ll paint a red bullseye on it.

  2. To adapt a quote from a journalist: was there an exact time when we crossed the line between human and machine? We look back and realise that perhaps we are now cybernetic.

    Keep your head up. Your nanobots are rebuilding you, they are transmogrifying you, you will be the first six-million dollar 1st AC (or DP?).

  3. I’m surprised that they put the port in on the same side of the chest as the tumor. My surgeon stayed away from my tumor and put it in the other side. I didn’t get a copy of the x-ray like you did. I had no idea that the tubing from the port was that long!

    • Annie – My tumor takes up such a large part of my chest, that there is really nowhere else they could put it. It has shrunk down a lot so it is more centered in my chest, so I guess the doctors felt fine putting the port in where they did. They had some difficulty threading the catheter through the blood vessels because the tumor was still restricting some of them – but they got it through. Now I need this infection to go away so I can finally start using it!

  4. I just found out the other day that my tumor is 1/5 of it’s original size after 3 chemo treatments!
    It just sucks that no matter how much they shrink, we still have to go through the same amount of chemo.

    • Awesome! Staying focused on the good results helps me a lot to deal with any anxiety. It does suck that we have to go through the full regime no matter what the progress. As my doctor told me – this treatment is a recipe and as long as you follow it, you are almost guaranteed results. If you stray from the recipe, then who knows what you might end up with. Best to stick with the plan.

      How many treatments do you have – 6 or 12?

      It does start to wear on you (at least it is for me). Keep your head up. Stay strong. If you’re like me, you’re always counting down the number of treatments in your head. Every day is one more day closer to beating this thing.

      Congratulations on your great results!

  5. I am in it for 12 treatments. I feel great now though. How sick were before you were diagnosed? I was very sick before I was diagnosed and now after 2 months I feel like a new person!

  6. I was pretty sick for awhile. I was being treated for a sinus infection from October until May. If you go back in this blog, you can see how swollen my face was (SVC syndrome). When I bent over, I would get dizzy and my face would turn purple. I couldn’t sleep. I snored. I traveled and worked like this. My head swelled up so bad after getting off a flight that my friend didn’t recognize me. So, yeah, I was pretty sick.

    And, my tumor was so big that it eventually would have cut off my breathing in my chest. I found this out after looking at my before/after CT scans last month. But I didn’t have breathing problems before – to the surprise of my doctors.

    I also feel like a new person. The hardest thing for me to deal with is that this treatment has to go on for another 5 months. I wish it could just stop now. I hate the chemo. I hate not being able to work. I hate being a slave to the doctors and the treatment.

    I don’t know about you, but I have some tough days and some great days (today is a great day). I know it is all means-to-an-end…and it is wonderful not feeling sick anymore. But I count the days…oh boy, I count the days.

    I’m glad we can count the days together. My last chemo is Oct 1st (then radiation after that). When is yours?

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