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2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I couldn't sleep the night before my port a cath removal surgery. What if the surgery left a big hole in my chest that never healed? What if I can't work out again? A big case of the what if's. I gave myself a self-Reiki treatment, read a few affirmations from Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life, and watched (aka previewed so I'm a little bit mentally prepared for it) a few DVDs from Cathe Friedrich's new Low Impact Series

I woke up with an uneasy feeling in my gut about going through with the port removal. I called a dear spiritual  friend and asked for guidance. He knows me very well and knew the right questions to ask to guide me to a calmer place and form a plan. I decided to go, but ask the surgeon some questions and then decide whether or not to have the surgery. My body, my choice. 

Cancer treatment can take away a lot of power and choices in your life. I didn't want to get the port put in, but I didn't get much choice. So in having it removed I wanted more control.

I believe in Angels among us. God blessed me with a sweet Survivor sister Angel as I checked in. I recognized her by her bright teal toenails. A sister in ovarian cancer Survival, Carol greeted me with a hug and asked what I was doing at West Clinic. She was there to pick up a CD of a recent test, so she had a little time. She met my mom and talked with us about the pros and cons of port removal. She understands the depth of such dilemmas. I felt much better after talking with her, and thankful that God always has His hand of love and comfort on me. 

I was foolishly surprised to get an IV stick. It hadn't occurred to me that port removal surgery would require an IV. Funny the things my mind thinks about and the things it completely disregards. Thankfully, the nurse only had to stick me once. Ouchie!! 

I waited with my mom for 90 minutes with the IV in my arm before I even got back to the surgery prep room. The nurse started the paperwork, and I asked questions. Apparently no one has ever asked these questions before, because she didn't know the answers. She asked a surgeon to come talk with me. She couldn't have been kinder or patient with me, and I deeply appreciate it. 

The surgeon was also kind and patient. He said there was no reason not to have it removed, and explained in great detail why and what would happen to my body after it was gone. There's no muscle involved, the port was subcutaneous (just under the skin). This is important info to me as a Cathlete. I didn't want to damage my hard earned muscles! I felt satisfied and decided to have it removed. 

As I started to undress I realized that I wore the wrong shirt. I wore long sleeve fitted shirt because it's a bit cool here. That was the wrong choice because it was painful and awkward to take off over my IV especially when I can barely move my arm. My mom had to help me. ha! 

I climbed onto a very narrow table that I'm surprised that I fit on. The nurse and 2 surgical techs got me and instruments prepped. I made jokes about blood spurting because they had my covered with blue medical paper and the CT scanner covered with a big shower cap like thing. Even though it was Halloween, no blood spurted out. I was given local anesthesia and something to help me relax, but I could feel pain-less pressure of the surgeon cutting out the port and was wide awake. Yep, that's right. It's an amazing and creepy feeling. The surgeon and I had a nice discussion about finance and in a few minutes I was free of the port. 

After it was out I felt the urge to see this port. The nurse cleaned it up and gave it to me to keep. It's like a cancer Survivor's medal of honor. Wanna see? 

Doesn't it look like a tiny computer mouse? It's about 8 inches long and it's about 1/2" thick. No wonder it stuck out of my chest so much! 

I'm relieved to have this foreign object out of my body, yet thankful for the service it provided to me during chemo. I'm going to keep it as a reminder and interesting show and tell piece. 

I'm counting down 10 more days until 1 full year of official remission. I have something fun and special planned for the blog that day. Meanwhile, here's a peek at how much my hair has grown since the last time I shared a picture. It's still dark and really curly, but I can almost put it in a ponytail. I have so much to be thankful for.... 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Big Remission Milestone

Hello again blogaverse! No, I haven't forgotten about you. My focus has been elsewhere, though cancer Survivor is still how first define myself. I'm hoping that one day that will shift, but it's one of those things that just takes time.

A couple of weeks ago I went for my 1 year post treatment CT scan and check up. I've been meaning to blog about it since, really I have... Honest. Fantastic news!! The CT scan showed No Evidence of Disease!! My smear came back 'within normal limits'. I was a bit surprised that there's anything left in there to 'smear' but whatever. My blood work all looks great. I'm deeply thankful and relieved to more into a full year of Remission.

November 11 will be the 1 full year of Remission anniversary. It seems unreal that a whole year has gone by already. My family and I have celebrated many little cancerversaries. Three months post chemo, six months, 10 months. Hair re-growth. Being able to exercise with the most awesome fitness instructor ever- Cathe Friedrich. Being able to eat normally again without everything tasting like a salt mine. Losing 20 pounds. Being there for my Peeps' birthdays. Walking in the Relay for Life with one of my sisters.

Tomorrow is a big day in the life of Survivor. I'm having my port a cath removed. I'll be glad to get it out of my body so I can comfortably sleep on my right side and the sweet smelling heads of my Peeps can snuggle up with me without causing pain at the same time.

This is a big deal because it means that my gynecologic oncologist believes that I'm deep enough into Remission that I no longer need it. While I completely understand that there are no guarantees this minor surgery feels like hope solidifying. My thankfulness continues to grow.

As thankful and relieved as I am to be adding to my days in  Remission, my heart goes out to my friends who are continuing to fight or have begun their second or third fight. My sweet friend, and fellow Cathlete, Virginia especially would benefit from you prayers and positive energy.

Post surgery update to come in a day or so...