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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-11-13 07:53
Subject: [cancer] The port removal
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, conventions, food, funny, health
Yesterday morning I got up at my usual hour (4 am), exercised, blogged, then hit the Day Jobbe earlier than normal (5:30 am) for some critical meetings. I finally got myself over to the Witchnest about 7:30 am, where I promptly popped two Lorazepam (a/k/a Ativan) to deal with my deep anxiety about the port removal procedure.

My fear was based on the fact that this would be done in office with anaesthesia but no sedation. I didn't really want to watch a doctor go fishing inside my chest just below my line of sight.

By the time calendula_witch got me to the clinic, I couldn't walk in a straight line and my balance was wonky. In a word, I was looped. This was the first time I'd taken two of those at once, and I'm not sure I'd care to repeat the experience.

The procedure happened in an oversized exam room while calendula_witch watched. I couldn't see anything, they'd put surgical drapes around the site and besides, my eyes don't bend down that far. Thanks to the Lorazepam, I didn't much care.

Everything took about forty minutes, and involved a surgeon and nurse fishing around in my chest with four hands and a cluster of instruments. Though they had anaesthetized the area with a local, I could still feel pressure, tissues being shifted, and the occasional crackle-pop of the electric cauterizer, along with a lovely barbecue smell. calendula_witch reports being able to see wisps of smoke during the procedure.

Basically, it felt like they trenched my chest and went digging. At least one of the anchor stitches had been overgrown with a caul of tissue, and so took some work to free. When the port finally came out, they showed it to me, though despite repeated requests I was not permitted to keep it for a souvenir. Once I was closed up, the dressing was about the size of a band-aid.

My question at that point was what the heck happened to that trench in my chest big enough for four hands and instruments.

calendula_witch bundled me back to the Witchnest where I passed out for over two hours, sleeping off the stress of the procedure and the double dose of Lorazepam. We still managed to make OryCon by 2 or 2:30, and I lasted til almost 10:30, with little more than a dull ache in my chest.

So, well, I'm no longer a cyborg, nor a Harkonnen techno-serf. For now, I am free.

And shortly, back to OryCon. See some, all or none of you there.

Post A Comment | 7 Comments | | Link

User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-11-13 16:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I had always heard about the wonders of Versed, but after watching DH blow right through it when they tried to put his shoulder back in after the ski accident, I was worried about whether it would work for me during my colonoscopy.

I needn't have worried.

You looked in pretty good shape at Orycon yesterday, all things considered. Kewl to see you coming back, dude.
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User: cuddlycthulhu
Date: 2010-11-13 16:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I can't imagine the sense of relief you must feel to have the last physical bit from your bout with cancer gone. I know you've got to get regular check ups and scans to make sure you stay cancer-free but to me it seems like having the port out would make it so much more easier to get back to living without the constant reminder of the big C.

Congrats, man, I'm glad we get to keep you for some time yet.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2010-11-13 20:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>>though despite repeated requests I was not permitted to keep it for a souvenir<<

What's the reason for that? Some sort of insurance rule? Liability of some sort? Fear that you will re-implant it yourself should you feel lonely?
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User: madrobins
Date: 2010-11-13 20:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's not quite the same thing, but during my emergency c-section **mumble** years ago, I could feel pressure but no pain. I felt very much like a suitcase being speedily but carefully unpacked, and then, when the baby was out and breathing and all those good things, slowly and carefully re-packed. I would have liked to have watched, but that's just me.

I'm glad you've got the last token of the Cancer Follies off the premises. Have a grand OryCon.
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User: barbarienne
Date: 2010-11-13 23:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's staggering how much skin and flesh will stretch.

May you have many, many, many more years of this new freedom!
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User: daibheid
Date: 2010-11-14 03:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Glad to hear things are OK. I have to admit this story reminded me of a surgery when all I had was a local and they just covered my eyes.

I still love to tell the story of how I felt the scalpel on my skull and saying, "wow, that smells like chicken."
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