Halfway through my treatment, at least according to the number of IVs I will have to endure, it became apparent that while I have the cast iron constitution of a German potato farmer, I have the veins of an anemic chicken. My internal organs are functioning perfectly and my blood cells are behaving nicely, but my veins have stopped dead in their tracks and refuse to take a single step forward; needles go in but nothing comes out. My wonderful nurse was close to tears; she knows how to do her job and certainly doesn’t want to hurt me, but the veins were obstinate.

So now I’ve got this creepy thing living in my chest.

power port

This is a port, to be specific, a PowerPort® MRI® isp Device from Bard Access Systems. (Perhaps the good folks at Bard might offer me a fee for mentioning them?) It was implanted under my skin below my right shoulder. The tail goes directly into a large vein, making for easy delivery and distribution of cytotoxins (cell poisons). It can be reused as often as necessary until no longer needed. I have mixed feelings about that. But it also means I will have no further needle jabs in my arm. This is a good thing.

Ah, my old friend irony. I project the image of a powerful warrior princess charging into battle on my magnificent steed, but in fact, I lie down on the table and let the medical people do their stuff, silent tears my only protest. I was hoping the little purple monster might give me mystical powers of some sort, but it just sits there and I remain powerless.

If you count the Colonoscopy from Hell, that makes a total of four surgeries this year. At least this time they were putting something in instead of taking stuff out.  This is also a good thing. I’m running out of spare parts.

I look at my increasingly disfigured torso and almost wish the marks were battle scars. “She fought bravely to the end of the siege, her blood-stained blade glinting in the twilight” sounds so much better than “She sat idly by while the invaders took what they wanted and then ate a lot of cookies.” (Thank you, Maya!) It’s not a very heroic picture, but to be honest, heroism has little to do with it. Bravery? Certainly, but not heroics.

Maya cat cookies

What’s happening to me sucks but it’s not a tragedy. Dominating this weekend’s news was the story of a woman who just died of breast cancer at age 34, leaving behind two small children and a grieving husband. That’s a tragedy. It was in the news because she was a TV personality and he’s a kabuki actor, but that doesn’t make their story any more or less tragic, just more public.

Oh, and she published a blog about the whole process. Now there’s a thought.


4 thoughts on “Power”

  1. Eda, needing a port says nothing about the strength or weakness of your veins. Veins aren’t plastic tubes– they can’t withstand poison, they’re meant to carry blood! For me, they strongly recommended the port right at the diagnosis appointment (I was up for 18 weeks straight of chemo infusions). Basically saying: We’ll schedule you for a scan, get your port in (could they have said installed??) and start chemo the next week. Then a nurse came in and unrolled this plastic tube with port as what would be installed in my chest. That was the exact moment when it became real for me. Sux. Stay strong you warrior princess!!!

    1. According to my nurse, Asians tend to have better resistance to the chemo poisons–or at least their veins last longer. One of my doctors said they should have put in the port right at the beginning, but they usually don’t do that when the treatment is only six months. ONLY six months?

      It’s now six months since my first surgery and it still doesn’t seem real. I have gotten used to hitting the off switch whenever I have to deal with doctors. I barely remember being in the hospital! Maybe one of my other personalities took over for me.

  2. Waddaya mean, they aren’t “battle scars”? I think we could write a pretty good scenario that features a reluctant hero battling an invisible foe with unlikely weapons, who fights on even when it seems like she’s down for the count, battling back to glory with her faithful cats by her side (for comic relief). I mean, it’s at least a hit video game.

    1. Cool! If it’s going to be a video game, I want to do he voice of one of those insanely busty barely dressed warrior princesses because that’s sooooooo me! And I love the idea of unlikely weapons. Poisoned chocolate cat cookies might be a good place to start.

Any opinions about that? I love to hear from you.

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