Tomorrow morning my portacath will be removed. It was implanted underneath the skin, just above my right breast bone to administer chemo and draw blood, so my veins wouldn’t collapse. That was nearly five years ago. The port could have been taken out after my first “clean” scan, but I wanted to keep it, as a reminder of what I’d been through.
Two weeks ago I had my last CT scan and blood work. All clear. My oncologist said I am officially “cured.” No more scans. No more blood work. No more oncology appointments. Removing the port will be the last step to closure.
But as I write this, I feel a sense of loss (not about the cancer. I’m glad it’s gone). I will miss my doctors and nurses. They’re part of my family. They saved my life. Yes, I definitely did my part (changing my lifestyle and eating healthy foods) but there is something — a connection, that only someone whose come close to dying might understand. Maybe what I’m feeling is a combination of loss and relief.
It takes a special type of person to work in oncology. Not all cancer patients have a successful outcome, like me, yet they dedicate their lives to making a patient’s life better. When I volunteered in the infusion center, I asked a nurse how she coped with the loss of a patient. She said,”I’m the passenger and the patient is the driver in this car called ‘life’. We travel together for a short while and my job is to make his or her trip as enjoyable as possible.” From what I saw and experienced, they do just that.
So, for the rest of the evening I will contemplate how far I’ve come and how grateful I am to have the chance to enjoy another day.
Oh, I almost forgot–after the site heals, a small hummingbird will be tattooed to cover the scar.