The Friday after my diagnosis, I had to have surgery to get my portacath (or port) inserted. A port is used in place of a traditional IV for patients who will have to have IV treatments on a routine basis. This is routine for oncology and hematology patients. It is a small device placed under the skin and is typically put near the collar bone, where a catheter connects the port to a major vein. Ports have a self-sealing silicon bubble that needles can be inserted into repeatedly for medications to be injected through and blood samples to be drawn from. Using a port instead of a traditional IV is much less painful and protects the patient’s veins. Using a port also allows patients to have our hands free while we are receiving our treatments.
Surgery was not too difficult. It was an outpatient procedure. We had to be at the hospital at 5:30 in the morning. I wasn’t allowed anything to eat after midnight the night before. The doctor who did my biopsy was the same one who put my port in. Surgery took about 45 minutes to complete, then I spent about an hour in recovery. After being released, my best friend took me to the local boutique that caters to breast cancer patients. We looked at turbans and wigs, and I ordered my first wig. It was blonde. I also went ahead and purchased a few turbans. We didn’t know when my hair would start falling out, so I was ready.
When I got home, I was very sore, and quite tired. I laid down and rested until it was time to go get my little girl. It had been a long day. I wasn’t able to drive to get her, but I rode along. I still wanted things to seem as normal as possible for her. I knew I couldn’t shield her forever, but the longer it took for things to change for her, the better. Especially since she was so young. Little did I know, she would handle it better than I would.