18. The Port

A minor surgery cut a two inch slit across my chest.  It is probably three or more inches down from the right edge of my neck.  They lifted the skin there.  The little tool is a solid plastic piece, nothing to break off (and my heart chambers are on the common side!). The plastic port is like a tiny, forever covered, hot tub.  Maybe not the best analogy. As swelling has come down, it literally looks like it sounds.  You can see that they lifted the skin and stuffed something under it that is an inch across and a half inch deep.  I’m not shy about it.  If you are near me, you can check it out, look at it, touch it.  I think it is really interesting, and I feel like I have begun assimilation into the Borg (for sci fi fans).

An IV goes in the hand or arm, and then can be accessed for a length of time, a limited length of time.  A port is a related entity, longer term.  I have no idea if there are different types or different placements.  When they told me to have a port installed, I just made the appointment, and rolled with it.

A minor surgery cut a two inch slit across my chest.  It is probably three or more inches down from the right edge of my neck.  They lifted the skin there.  The little tool is a solid plastic piece, nothing to break off (and my heart chambers are on the common side!). The plastic port is like a tiny, forever covered, hot tub.  Maybe not the best analogy. As swelling has come down, it literally looks like it sounds.  You can see that they lifted the skin and stuffed something under it that is an inch across and a half inch deep.  I’m not shy about it.  If you are near me, you can check it out, look at it, touch it.  I think it is really interesting, and I feel like I have begun assimilation into the Borg (for sci fi fans).

This hot tub has a permanent soft top.  When they access it, the needle goes straight in through the layer of skin, but there is a lot of area that they can choose so that the pin prick will never be in exactly the same space.  If you think about six months of treatment for the first round, that’s only 12 pin pricks.  It could easily be functional for round after round, for people that that idea applies to.

The port hooks up to a major artery, I think it’s an artery.  Anyway, a big body tube that carries stuff to my heart has been redirected to be the thing that takes chemo there.  The heart pumps the chemo out in a diffused way that is safer.  So there is one end of port that may be hooked to nothing.  Maybe they shut off the vein on that end.  Maybe I shouldn’t be explaining things I don’t care enough about to look up! 

There is a hole from the surgery that is visible on my neck.  That’s the one that hurts, oddly.  It is small.  Almost a month later, I can still feel pain there.  My mind wants to say that it is the quick change in direction, the chicane, that makes it annoying.  At first I could feel the pull of the tube when I turned my neck or lifted my head.  Maybe it is healing in.  Maybe I am learning to ignore it.

The port is, at about one month after installation, still annoying-ish, still causes pain, especially because seat belts go over the port and hit right at the neck wound.  It’s so minimal in the scheme of things that I file it in the mind category “interesting”…  maybe “exciting” if perception of the Borg is seen as joining the Universal All.  It’s definitely an entry point for new experiences, the place where chemo joins the body for the dance.

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

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