I was clutching onto my left breast for dear life cursing an 8:30 am hospital appointment less than 24 hours after my port removal surgery. I was feeling the full effect of an article I read years ago awarding Hamilton with third place in the ‘who has the worst roads in Canada’ competition, as with every minor bump, bounce and crevasse gravity pulled cruelly at the incision. I drove like I was in the 80’s game Frogger dodging this way and that desperate to avoid potholes, but the only thing bringing some form of relief was holding onto the surgery sight like it was the last cupcake on earth.
It was only a month earlier that I had sat in front of a confused oncologist who pointed to the port still happily nestled in my chest and asked,
“What is that still doing in you?”
According to her records it was removed a week after my final treatment, but there I was, a permanently bruised lump under my skin waving for all the world to see.
It was surprising to me how attached I’d become to the bumpy triangle shaped piece of plastic with its un-natural length of tube for a tail. I remember the colour draining out of my face and a million questions parading through my head back in April when to my dread I was told that it would be removed ASAP after my final warming of the chemo chair. I tried to cover the ports ears, but the cheer emanating from the oncologists as she explained the removal was undeniable and I felt like my niece when you attempt to take away her favorite worn and dirty blanket, protective and flipped out.
It was strange, because no part of me expects to ever need it again, but this plastic knobby contraption has been my partner in crime through treatments, blood work, inappropriate comments to hospital staff and every surprise turn… and now it’s just being taken?
Luckily for me miscommunications, lost requisitions, and assumptions all played key roles in the delay of the surgery, giving me two extra months to tote the port around and allowing my head the opportunity to catch up with what my body has been doing over these past 20 months. No amount of manipulating on my part could have gifted me with this extra time; it was all trust, deep breaths and goin’ with the flow.
Timing continues to be a lesson for me. The truth is, the less energy I waste worrying about things I have no control over, the more I see that things happen exactly as they need to, and often with more ease than I ever could’ve dreamed up.
Now, as I was driving port free, doing all I could to bring relief to the fresh incision and avoiding eye contact with the passers by whose befuddled reactions confirmed how crazy I must have looked, I just smiled because the only thing I was holding onto for dear life for anymore was my chest.