Nearly normal

With conscious sedation, port removal is no big deal.


Yesterday brought me another step closer to normalcy. My IV port (Mediport) was removed in an outpatient procedure in CU’s Interventional Radiology department. (The doctor’s office didn’t strike me as a serious enough setting.)

So now there’s no more foreign body in my chest. No more lump under my skin or catheter bulging on the side of my neck (purely cosmetic concerns, unlike some cases I’ve read about). The port is gone. In its place, a neat 4 × 4 clear adhesive patch covering a smaller 2 × 2 gauze pad. I’m to keep the dressing dry for 48 hours, then can remove it and deal with just Steri-Strips for about 10 days.

Devout coward that I am, I opted for conscious sedation for the procedure. I was still aware of what was going on around me, but felt virtually nothing from the procedure itself. The local anesthetic was very effective. I felt only a prick from the first injection and nothing after that. I opened my eyes once and saw a blue drape over my face. And I remember a nurse putting a nasal cannula across my face during the prep, and sticking some electrodes on my upper chest and back.

The entire procedure took about an hour (another reason why, in my opinion, conscious sedation is a better choice than just local anesthesia in a doctor’s office). An hour is a long time when you’re aware of every sound, every movement, every sensation. Particularly if you are a bit fearful and have an active imagination. And as anxious as I already was (thanks to that other “simple routine procedure” that was my bronchoscopy), an hour would have been an eternity.

I spent an hour in recovery, with my BP and pulse ox being monitored, before my son drove me home. Feeling no pain and being extremely sleepy, I promptly crashed for what turned out to be a four-hour nap. Then last night I slept for about ten hours. Tylenol is the only OTC pain reliever I’m allowed for 48 hours, since all the NSAIDs are likely to promote bleeding. (They’d have given me something stronger if I’d asked.) I normally wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for Tylenol’s efficacy, but this time it’s all I’ve needed. Just a bit of soreness last night, and Tylenol handled it.

Other than keeping the incision clean and dry, my only instructions are to avoid strenuous upper body activity for 3-5 days. Sounds pretty simple.

Video games aren’t considered strenuous, are they?


11 thoughts on “Nearly normal”

  1. Throughout your trial I have kept my Mollie informed of your progress. She was dubious from the outset about whether the chemo/radiation therapy would be worth the grief. Now I can tell her confidently that it was. Never give up the ship. Thanks for your good example, Susan.

    1. I never considered not doing the chemo and radiation. With cancer they’re usually a given. The trick is to find the best possible doctor (by all means get at least a second opinion, and a third if necessary), one you like and trust implicitly, and then follow his (or her) instructions. The oncologist is the most knowledgeable person to make the decisions about chemo, radiation, and anything else that migh be called for. I’m disappointed mine has decided against the year of Herceptin treatment, but I understand his reasoning and, reluctantly, agree with him. He doesn’t want to proceed with a treatment that could leave me with a badly (or fatally) compromised heart or lungs for the rest of my life. I’ll keep worrying about that decision, but I’ll be healthy and breathing normally while I worry.

      Tell Mollie I really appreciate her concern, and yours, throughout this last year. It looks like I’ve rounded the last bend and have a relatively clear road ahead.

"You don’t have to say everything to say something." ~Beth Moore

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