“It looks like a giant pimple.”

IMG_9379
My port for chemotherapy.

I pull back my shirt collar and proudly ask, “What’d you think?”

“It looks like a giant pimple.”

Oh. My. God.  They did not just say that out loud to me.  I start to question my decision to show off my implanted chemo port.  My “check this out!” moment has backfired on me.  

“No, it doesn’t!”

I run for the closest mirror and look at the port with fresh eyes.  It only takes a moment before I realize, it does! 

“Whatever!” I give my best ‘talk-to-the-hand’ motion.

And then we’re laughing.  Real, belly laughing – because we both know it’s true and it’s suddenly hilarious.

It’s wonderful that those who love me are treating me like my old self.  No one is whispering in the other room about my illness, or looking at me with sadness in their eyes.  I’ve made it past the ‘imminent danger of death’ stage, and into the ‘she’s well enough to be teased’ stage.

* * *

My PowerPort® is healing nicely, although it’s bruised from the needle  that I keep inserted Mon. – Fri. and the blood thinners I’m taking.  It feels hard to the touch and has created a mound under my skin.  I can feel the tiny tube that travels up and over my collarbone before entering a large central vein at the base of my neck.  During treatment the chemo is slowly pumped into my port where it’s immediately diluted by the blood stream and delivered to my entire body.  Weekends are nice because the needle is removed making it easier to sleep and bathe.

Reading the PowerPort® website, you’d think I’d been outfitted with a new car.  Words like: “Power injectable” and “Titanium port body” are used often.  No where do they say, “… and once installed, it’ll look like a massive zit!”

* * *

My middle school mentality comes out again as I crack a joke about not PICC-ing at it.  We break into more peels of laughter and my smile muscles get sore as we enjoy cancer humor at it’s worst.

* * *

PICC
My triple lumen PICC line

You see… a PICC is what they took out of my arm before placing the port.  It had been inserted in the hospital for my infusions, but after 5 weeks, unbeknownst to me and my medical team, it caused a large blood clot from my neck to my elbow.  The PICC was removed and my port put in.  I was told that two weeks of Lovenox shots in my belly and then 6-9 months of blood thinning pills (Warfarin) should do the trick.  At first I worried constantly about part of the clot breaking off and causing a pulmonary embolism.  A very real threat.  But as time has passed, I know the risks are far less, and I’m able to let go of that fear.

So much of this journey is out of my control but my body is serving me well; fighting the good fight.  And my spirit is doing its best to find the humor in it all.  Even if it’s childish, pimple talking humor.

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23 thoughts on ““It looks like a giant pimple.”

    1. Hahaha, only you, Sam! You do make me laugh! And, no, this is not self-portrait #3. Although, I should get credit in self-portrait land for doing a pic of myself. Self-portrait 3 is coming soon – sans pimples and nipples.

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  1. Margaret Ann Adams

    First, I’m glad to see your whole beautiful face!

    When Doug was having chemo almost 13 years ago, I always sat with him in the treatment room. There were lots of women with breast cancer who had the port. Doug didn’t require one, I guess because of his good veins. Now, because of the privacy act, they don’t allow family in, I understand. Bernie Siegel, pediatric surgeon of reknown, back when I was counseling, said that the person getting chemo should be held by a loved one, because that is *poison *going into the body. He wrote Love, Medicine, and Miracles and Peace, Love, and Healing, and others. I couldn’t hold Doug, but sitting with him was next best.

    Best wishes and affirmation that with your positive attitude that *poison* is working.

    Love, Margaret Ann

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    1. I’m sad to read that they don’t allow family in any longer. Fortunately, at the cancer center where I’m treated they allow one visitor to sit with the patient and there are four patients to a pod (so 8 people total in the room along with some nurses). There’s no way to measure how important and healing that support person was for me, especially at the beginning of my outpatient infusions.

      Thanks for taking the time to always make me feel heard.
      Love, Sara

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  2. Karen

    Isn’t mod med crazy? The fact that it wants to heal over each weekend speaks to how healthy and strong your body is. I’m loving your hair color.xo

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  3. Sarah Dufault

    I am left with just a 1″ scar. Can’t wait for you to be where I am. Had to convince oncologist & nurses to access my PowerPort daily. My skin could not tolerate any adhesives. Taking the dressing off after 5 days was excruciating and I was left with burns and ulcers for the weekend. Those were the days! Don’t miss those Lovenox injections for sure!! Memories! Love your blog. Glad you’re smiling and that you’re past the “pity stare/whispering” stage.

    -Sarah

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    1. Oh, can I relate. I didn’t want to get into the crazy schedule of my port needle issues due to my new allergy to tape. We’ve had some interesting trials with different materials. It seems as the month goes on, the more I need to take the dressing off and let it air out because I’m getting the same blisters you talk about. Nice to know you’re only left with a tiny scar at the end of it all. I’m looking forward to being where you are!

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  4. Maureen Luikart

    I think it is sad that people can’t have family in during chemo. I can remember many days of sitting with our son Ken and his wife Patti. I remember him saying having chemo with us supporting him made it easier. Many days he just sat there and petted Rain, I used to think that we were holding sacred space around him. Many things have changed in the past 10 years. The privacy issue are necessary at times, but, I was surprised it was an issue with Chemo.

    I am glad that you are able to find humor and laugh. The indorphins will help you heal.

    Your always in my thoughts and prayers.

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    1. I’m glad having family in during chemo hasn’t been a problem for me. My cancer center has been amazing about accommodating me with my needs. Margaret Ann’s comment was the first I’d heard of this. I can imagine Rain was a huge comfort to Ken and Patti. I know my dogs have brought me so much healing and love. Thank you, always, Maureen.

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  5. Michael Hills

    I have just read this and can’t believe how much I am smiling over cancer humour Sara especially when it involves such a special close friend. I have been watching you fighting this battle and know that with your humour, strength of mind and the strength of love from all over the world will win the battle and give it the proverbial finger! Much love sent to you as always and a nice cuddle too! Looking forward to the real cuddle one day! 🙂 xxx

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  6. Geri

    I love how much you can make us all laugh at cancer. I love you and can’t wait till this is all behind. You have overcome so much and through it all you come out shining brighter. You are my inspiration, my rock. I love you ♡

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  7. Amazing the laughter that can come from not so funny moments. It is awesome how our emotions and brain serves us at these times. I can only guess that laughter is a much needed venue when you have the big C. It may take a lot of things away for a while but not your beautiful smile and laughter. Your writing of these times with family or friends keeps us all in the loop and tells a lot about your mindset. It seems to be all intact and is the Sara we all know and love so much. I hope this week brings you more laughter than tears. ❤ Linda

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    1. Linda, you’ve been such a champion through all of this. Thank you for always taking the time to let me know you care. You’re the best! This week has been a good one. I’m clearing my house of clutter and it’s been freeing! Sending my love to you and Denny!

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  8. Sara….I truly like your candid and virtually poetic thoughts about your cancer situation. Yeah, I have (hopefully had) cancer too. I also approach it with humor as best I can. I always ask my doctor to make sure I don’t get the placebo and ask if there’s a balloon payment at the last treatment. Your course of “treatments” would test the strongest of us. I’ve never heard of such a regimen in my life. Please hold yourself together so we can hear all your words and be strengthened by them.
    I’m glad you stumbled onto my blog, Sara. My wife and I are listening to you. I’m from Mesa and recognized your landscape.
    Our absolute best, Bob and Arlyne

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