The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Friday, January 18, 2008

PowerPort surgery redux

It's been about six hours since I became "port-free" and my chest hurts a little. Actually, it doesn't so much hurt as it itches. You know what I mean, that kind of incessant itching that you just can't scratch? Not quite as bad as a mosquito bite itch, but pretty bad... By pressing on the bandage, though, I can at least ease the itching for a bit. But I am ahead of myself here, in that you are missing some essential details.

My appointment for port-removal was scheduled for 2pm - suffice it to say that Dr-time and my watch did not coincide today. By 2:30, though, I was sitting on a paper-lined table, awaiting the surgeon. I was simply instructed to remove my shirts and sit. The wait was not too long, and in walked the doctor and his nurse. We chatted about the time that had elapsed since my last visit (June 1st, when he put the port in), and about raising kids and the next thing I knew I was lying back on the table, with a blue cloth draped over my chest and betadine-colored skin. He told me that he was ready to go and that there might be a pinprick (I mentioned that the needle he was using could not come close to the weekly port accessing needles, and the blood draws, and what-not). After a few minutes for the local anaesthetic to take effect, he grabbed his scalpel and started to incise.

Very surreal. We are still chatting about the day-to-day, but I can see the entire surgical progress reflected in his glasses. Blood wells up a little at the incision site, which he deftly dabs away with a sponge. I then ask if I am supposed to feel the knife cutting through my skin... and he asks if it hurts. I respond, "no, but I can feel the knife cutting through the skin." He chooses to inject a little more anaesthetic, and then I feel no cutting. Those nerves are so easy to trick into silence, aren't they?

He works away at liberating the port from under my skin, even to the point of more work with the scalpel, and finally announces that it is free (imagine a lot of tugging and squeezing). "Ready for me to pull the tube out?," he asks. Being in the position I was, I immediately said sure and he gently pulled the (surprisingly short) tube out of my chest. He asked if I wanted it, saying I had bought it and it was mine to keep... so I am now the proud owner of a used PowerPort. Of course, with these devices as soon as you drive them off the lot they lose all value to anyone else, so I can't even try eBay... Ten minutes of subcutaneous suturing later (skin has some superglue and tape on it, sutures will dissolve in a few weeks), all is done.

Tomorrow I get to remove the bandage and take a shower. After next Wednesday (five days post-surgery) I can do upper-body workouts again. The last vestige of my colonic cancer treatment experience is history, and now we only have to endure and resolve the periodic examinations for the next gazillion seconds or so...

This is a good thing.


Paul said...

Must be nice to have that piece of apparatus out of your body and that it is no longer needed! Congrats on another milestone, Ed!

Anonymous said...

Can I see the powerport someday? Corwin would like to see it too!