Thursday, May 21, 2009

Out with the Port

My Onc said that I could schedule my port removal at any time as he didn't think I would be needing it soon. Although it was nice to have during chemo, the claims about using it for the blood draws never panned out because a nurse is required to perform the draw if you have it done through the port. I was willing to put up with the little pokes in my arm every three weeks as I really wanted to get out quickly. If you wait for a nurse, you have no way to gauge the time required.
The port is placed just under the skin on top of the muscle. The little tube is fed upwards over the collarbone and into the jugular vein.


Before: If you pop open the image you may be able to see the tube just under my skin.

The removal was scheduled to occur at the LHCP and once again, checking in was a cinch. LHCP really have their act together. I changed into the standard issue surgery gear and hoped they would be able to find a vein for the blood draw. No problems, blood draw went off without a hitch even though the vein was tough to locate. The prep nurse entered again and explained that she would have to poke me for the IV. We discussed the fact that my veins were getting harder to find and we decided to try the back of my hand.


From my cell phone…I know, not so flattering. Laurie tells me that my frames mask the lack of eyebrow hair. I also look very swollen.

Anyway, you can see the IV line and I must say, despite the prep nurse warning me that the back of the hand is more sensitive than the inner elbow, the pain from this poke ranked up there with the bone marrow sample only it didn’t last as long. Felt like a long bee sting so I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. The site still smarts two days later. Although they used conscious sedation during the surgery, I took advantage of the legal high and drifted off blissfully. There was only one incision so I questioned how they pulled the line from my jugular vein without a spectacular internal bleeding event. Apparently direct pressure for a short period gives the jugular vein enough time to self heal. Pretty cool.

So here is the aftermath so far:


and the best part: They let me take the port home as a trophy:


I keep it in a plastic sample jar …it smells a little like rotten meat.

My lower left leg blew up a little yesterday afternoon and I have been feeling some pain along the inside of my knee. I called LHCP just before 5pm to see if I should be worried and they suggested that I go to ER in case I may have developed a blood clot. I had been experiencing this edema since the Fall before my diagnosis so an evening in the ER only to have them say, “lay off the salt for a few days,” wasn’t on my shortlist so I’m monitoring the situation today. I know, I know…when did I get my medical license?

Still waiting for the Cancer WellFit course to start.

Next up, more healing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ah, Remission

It's official, I am now in remission. My neutraphil count is back to 4500 and the Onc said that I could make arrangements to have my port taken out. They scheduled my first follow-up appointment for early August and I just need to work on recovering and losing some of this steroid weight. The Onc said that 4 in 10 recover to the point of being considered "cured" so I am shooting for the minority.

It is odd to be in this position because it is good news to know that NHL is temporarily taken a hiatus, but the thought of it coming back and haunting me any time soon is taking a bit of the joy out of today's discovery.

Whenever I'm faced with odds like these, I pull a scene from Dumb and Dumber between Lloyd Christmas and Mary Swanson:

Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?
Mary: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Mary: Not good.
Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million. [pause]
Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*

Over the next few weeks, I hope to gain back some strength and begin making enough changes in my physical activities that the distance between NHL and PMoore becomes an insurmountable gap.

Thanks for your continued cheers, positive thoughts and prayers.
Hip hip for remission.