On Friday, the hospital called to confirm my appointment for port removal on Monday. They told me that I would be able to eat breakfast, take all my meds, etc. in the morning because I was only going to get a local anesthetic. Yeah… I did not like the sound of that. So, I took advantage of some leftovers and popped .5 of lorazepam just before leaving the house this morning. Oh how I love lorazepam!
Hubs drove me to the hospital and waited while I went to get this thing taken out. I was so happy they let me keep my posse (all of my “beat cancer” bracelets from friends and fam) on my wrist. I have to say, I was feeling quite nice with my lorazepam on board. I floated after the nurse into the Interventional Radiology (IR), made the requisite pit stop, and changed into my oh, so pretty hospital gown, and settled in to wait my turn. I had my iPhone, so I was going to do some mobile blogging, but these folks were right on time.
My nurse, Carol came to go over my stats. She happened to be there when I had the port installed. In fact, she’s the one who pushed the good meds (versed and fentanyl) that time. Oh, and the attending doc was Dr. Farrell, the Dubliner who performed both of my lung needle bibbopsies. It was like Old Home Week. Anyway, she started asking the usual questions (when did I last eat or drink, take meds, etc.), and I answered most before she even asked – that’s how it is when you’re a professional patient. Still, even in my floaty state, I was pretty sharp. Impressive, if I do say so myself.
Next, Heather came in. She’s the PA (Physician’s Assistant) who was going to perform the procedure. She talked me through the whole thing, so I was able to let go of my fear that pulling the catheter out would result in a torn vein and me bleeding out. Next thing I knew, I was given my pretty hat and mask (gotta be sterile) and they wheeled me into the procedure room, which looked exactly like the one where I had my second lung needle bibbopsy, minus the CT scanner. On the way in, I was greeted by Dave, who usually focuses on the specialized radiology, but here, he was just an extra hand to help out. Port installation is done with radiology guidance, but removal requires no imaging. But, since these are the guys and gals who put them in, they take them out as well.
Once in the room, I scooted over from my rolling bed to the one for the procedure, and they started prepping me: drapes, swabs chit chat, and then came the worst part, which wasn’t even so awful. The pinch & burn of the local anesthetic. Heather gave me LOTS of it, and it was quite ouchy until it started kicking in. Then, I felt nearly nothing. Just a little bit of pushing and tugging. And then, I felt the moment it was out… Aaaaahhhhhhhh. Not that it really bothered me to have the port in, but all of a sudden, I felt like I was finally, truly free of the whole cancer ordeal. I know my checkups will feel like visits catching up with friends, not anything remotely cancer-y.
But, back to the procedure room… we all chatted about various things – like when Dr. Warner was talking me through the procedure of installing the poart and he repeatedly called me “a big girl” when he was explaining that he was going to stitch the port in extra well so it wouldn’t flip due to gravitational pull. I get that perhaps he didn’t want to specifically point out my ginormous ta tas, but “big girl?” Really? I’d rather he talk directly about my boobage, thank you very much.
While Heather closed me up (internal absorbable stitches and medical superglue), Carol took a photo of my port for me:
It takes a few minutes for the glue to dry, so Dave came over to check it. I said, “Don’t get stuck to me now.” He kind of chuckled. Then, I said (as if speaking to Hubs), “Oh, honey, this is Dave. He’s going to be with us for a while.” We all cracked up.
Then, I was ready to roll. They sat me up a bit, handed me the port and catheter for me to hold up for one more selfie:
I went back to the bay where I started, put my clothes back on and Hubs and I left, saying our fond farewells. It was a great day for all. Not just me, but for the staff too. They probably only get to remove about half the ports that they put in. Either patients don’t make it, or their treatment is over so many years that the port and catheter become so embedded in the patient’s tissues that removal poses too great a risk of bleeding out, infection, etc. So, when someone like me comes in for deportation (props to my MIL, Cecilia, for the terminology of the day), it makes the whole IR staff happy.
Before signing off, I want to remind you to subscribe to email updates for this blog, if you haven’t already. You know I’ll post whenever I check in with Alla. And, you’ll be privy to my delicious (if I do say so myself) recipes that I occasionally post on here.
Finally, I did promise a hair update. Here you go:
Besides the flippy sideburns, I’m developing a poodle coat on the back of my head. Time for a trim! My first haircut is scheduled for the 23rd, which I think might warrant a brief post, don’t you?*Addendum 12-15-15*