What started as IDC (Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma) in 2011, then turned into CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) in 2013, probably partially caused by chemotherapy along with a genetic pre-disposition. Here we are now in March 2016 and I am newly diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the left breast and liver (LMBC - liver metastasized breast cancer).

So the focus has shifted yet again, BUT... I continue to THANK YOU for your prayers, love & support. I receive them with open & loving arms. My wish is that I will gain strength from you, will provide helpful information and strength to others & will help to strip away the fears we each experience.

I am strong. I am loved. I am healthy. I WILL SURVIVE!

Have you or your loved one had their annual mammogram? PLEASE, don't put it off. Speaking from experience, I highly recommend monthly self exam as well. And if you are now cancer free of breast cancer, do everything you can to insist that your doctors follow up with an occasional PET Scan and labs for tumor markers.

Contents may be uplifting, sad, funny, scary, downright depressing ~ THAT IS CANCER .... at it's best, at its worst.

PLEASE ~ Feel free to share this blog with anyone who is interested to learn about my journey. While I welcome their support, I hope that by sharing this experience freely to the universe I may help to support others by breaking down some of the barriers and fear associated with breast cancer and the treatment.


Friday, November 18, 2011

No Port For Me

Well, at least not a Bard Power Port.

Back on my post of February 4, 2011, I reported all the details about the procedure to implant the Bard Power Port into my upper chest, just under the skin. And today I had it removed. This is a very good sign, as you can imagine, because it means I no longer need this for chemotherapy infusions. 

Now the port did come in handy from time to time for blood draws, and for that I will sorely miss my Power Ranger, oops, I mean Power Port.
RN, Ann, showing me what was just removed.
And today was a perfect example. We arrived at 9:00 am for the 11:00 am surgery. We expected two hours to prep, one hour for surgery, and 1-1.5 hours in recovery from the sedation. As the nurses were getting me prepped, one put an IV into my right hand and attempted to draw blood for some labs they wanted to run. My last lab report on November 1st showed I was a little anemic so they wanted to be sure it wasn't any worse. But she had no luck drawing from the IV. She assured me it was fine for the IV purposes and called the lab for someone to come and do the blood draw. And of course, I was stuck first in my right arm inside the elbow where only a few drops could be drawn. Then the lab tech went to the same spot in my left arm and had success. As I already knew, my veins are tiny and deep and very hard to access. When the Port was inserted, they needed a portable ultrasound to come to me so they could find a vein for the IV. Now, someone remind, why am I having this Port removed.  :-(
By now I had found a problem in the baby sweater I brought along to knit on during any spare time ,so decided to send that away with Mark so I didn't screw it up any further. Best to fix an error when thinking clearly and this was not the place for that.  He headed out to run some errands and return just about the time the procedure was over.

At about 10:45am Jared came to get me and roll me into the procedure room. He is quite the comical guy, and was the same Nurse I had when the port was inserted. And his counterpart was pretty funny too. I guess you have to keep things light in this line of work. Besides, it sure helped to relax me too -- that and the nice warm blankets they brought to help ease the chill of the sterile room. Jared explained that the Port removal was not as complicated as Port insertion and I could opt to do it without sedation, which would get me out of there earlier. I thought about it, had him explain a bit more, and thought I would go for it without sedation. After all, I'm a brave girl. They promised they would numb the area thoroughly and would be prepared to offer me sedation the second I changed my mind since my IV was all set up and ready. When the surgeon, Dr. Conway, arrived, he also gave me the same option. Apparently there is no need for the nick in the skin at the upper neck, as is done with the port insertion. Once they remove the Port, they pull the tube out easily right from the port sight. 

So onward and upward we went. They put on some classic rock music for me, draped me well with my head turned to the left (Port is in my right side), and away we went. It took very little time. I did feel a bit of tugging as the surgeon was suturing my incision back up. By the way, the incision is in the exact same place as the incision from the port insertion, just a tad longer.

I was back in recovery at 11:15am. Nothing to it!  :-) So the nurse called Mark and caught him just before he ordered himself a burrito, as he was starving by that point. I was too, for gosh sake, I was the one who had to fast from midnight the night before. He was so surprised I was ready to go; and returned to the hospital quickly.

There was a touch of bleeding at the incision, but not bad; and a slight bruise up on my neck where the catheter tube was pulled from. Other than that and an allergic reaction I keep having to tape, it was not difficult all.

We headed out to Dierck's Parkside Cafe for lunch to celebrate. After a few days of keeping my incision dry and not doing anything too strenuous, I'll be good as new. And I'm looking forward to wearing necklaces again since they will no longer rub over the bump in my neck created by the catheter tube under the skin, which is connected from the port and goes all the way to my heart.
Looking happy 15 min. after Port removal. And I do enjoy drinking Port!

After the procedure was over, the RN said I should always let them know I am a difficult blood draw and they will have the ultrasound done at the onset to save both me and the RN the challenge. This I will most surely remember and do from now on. And I was told to also let them know about the allergy to tape ahead of time. Geesh; all these things to remember. ;-)

Now on to my mammogram next week and then a follow up with my surgeon. Need to make that appointment for my annual pap smear too, so as to get it under this years deductible, which I have already met for the year, go figure. Actually, I met my HUGE deductible in January of this year. 


Debbie... aka the cancer warrior ... AND SURVIVOR!!!


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