Last Port

Apr 22, 2015

In November 2013, I had a Chemotherapy port fitted.

It’s about the size of a pound coin with a thin tube going into a vein and sits under the skin on my chest. I can feel it, the kids can feel it, and on occasion if they hug me too fervently, it can hurt. But, it’s done it’s job. It has made for easy administration of 10 rounds of chemo, 18 rounds of Herceptin, 1 dye for a CT scan and at least 20 blood tests. That’s all things that would normally have been done via a needle in my arm. And so now, after a conversation with my Oncologist and the Radiologist, it’s coming out next Friday. It was put in under sedation, and I was given the option of being sedated to have it taken out. It’s the difference between being admitted as an inpatient and waiting around for hours, or rocking up, and 20 minutes later going home. I don’t imagine that it’s going to be particularly pleasant as they pull the tube out from the vein, but I’ll put my Big Girl Pants on, and crack on.

In other news, I saw the Cardiologist today for a final Echo scan. Herceptin, the biological treatment which targets the HER2+ bit of the cancer and has worked so well for me, has been proven in clinical trials to increase the risk of damage to the heart. So throughout the course of treatments, (18 doses over 15 months, 3 weeks apart with a break for surgery and radiotherapy), I have been having regular heart scans to check nothing sinister is going on. It seems I’ve been lucky and the Cardiologist has said that he’s happy there’s been no damage and I don’t need to see him again. Yippee!

On the way back from the hospital I was telling Ross how lucky I was. He was a bit surprised I thought this, “Lucky for getting Cancer?” Well, no, not lucky for getting Cancer, as to be honest, that’s been a bit rubbish, but lucky to have responded so well to treatment, with no major drama’s along the way and not to have any lasting side effects apart from the fatigue.

Fifteen months ago, I felt like I had a mountain to climb. On reflection, I’m not sure how I’ve done it, but I appear to be on the other side. I suppose I kept my head down, and put one foot in front of the other and just kept going.

If I could say anything to someone who has found themselves in a similar situation to me, I would say “Trust the experts, take it one day at a time, and accept help when offered. Cancer is scary, some people will surprise you, others will let you down but try not to dwell on it. Keep on, keeping on.”