Some cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy treatments opt to have a medi-port implanted. Sounds bionic right? Super powers you will not have but this is a pain-free way to receive systemic treatments and blood draws.
I was holding on to Porsche, my PowerPort™ partly as a security blanket of sorts. I have recurrent, metastatic cervical cancer and for five years she was working pretty much non-stop.
When you’re port isn’t in use, you have it flushed with saline every three months or so. Kind of inconvenient but I kept it up and each time Porsche grew increasingly defiant. I had to practically stand on my head to get her to give a blood return. Clearly, she was tired and I didn’t blame her.
I’ve been NEND (no evidence of new disease) for four years now so I thought it was time to let her go. I just didn’t think I’d be doing it during a pandemic when maybe being in a hospital wasn’t the first place you’d want to be.
Once I made peace with my COVID fear, what really hit me as I walked into the hospital was that I was doing this alone. No partner, no kids, no parents, no friends. I never had to go through any previous surgeries without this support. I always had a hand to hold and a familiar face to see.
What made the experience better was the amazing pre-op team. It felt good to talk with the nurses about their work during COVID, and I was just so grateful to them. Their care has always been exceptional but it felt broader this time.
Surgery was a breeze, and my doctor even showed me Porsche so I could thank her one last time for all her hard work. One of my breast cancer besties said that some people are decorating their ports as keepsakes!
I love that we all decide how to move through our traumas in our own way. Bedazzling ports, getting special tattoos, sharing our experiences on social media, or simply holding space for our hurt. Whatever speaks to you is the best way to heal.
Carol is our Lead Cervivor Ambassador who manages our Cervivor MeetUp program and heads our CCAM 2021 Committee. She was named our 2020 Cervivor Champion award recipient. Carol lives in Northern California where she raised two amazing kids and hikes with her husband and their fur baby Ace.