Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mediports and Football: Thursday's Procedures, Part II

The other procedure today was the installation of my mediport. This is a device that’s meant to ease the delivery of chemotherapy, which I’m probably going to start on the week of the 11th. When my doctor mentioned a port, I pictured something like this:  

Ten years ago I did not have a port; back then, they were bulky and external and prone to fun things like infection, leakage, and clogging. Also, it had to stay dry. So I took the second option—an IV stick for every chemo session, which amounted to needles upon needles until I developed a needlephobia that persists to this day. When my oncologist told me that port technology had advanced in the last ten years, and I should really consider getting one, I was skeptical. But then I found out that now, ports look like this:

And once it’s installed, it looks something like this:

The picture above is not my chest or port. Mine is still under wraps until next week, but I’m hoping that it will look something like the above picture when it’s revealed. Right now, it looks like this:

When they installed my port, they lifted me off the table in the biopsy room, wheeled me down the hall, lifted me onto another table in another room, wrapped me up like a mummy with an inflatable, heated pad (very comfortable), and put a tent over my head. Then a nurse named Linda shaved the area and cleaned it with some prep fluid that she told me was orange. “For Halloween,” she said. Once the procedure started, the doctor gave me a series of sharp injections to numb me up so that I wouldn’t feel the incisions. What I would feel—but not be hurt by—was the tugging and rubbing that he had to do in order to work the port in under my skin and get it into place. Hearing this, I was thankful for the tent they set up that shielded my vision.

Once the tugging and rubbing started, the anxiety that had been building over the course of the morning felt ready to let loose, when apropos of nothing the doctor asked me, "Do you like football?”

“Uh, yeah.”


“Bears, actually.”

Several of the attending nurses let out a low, ominous “Oooooooo…”


“Your doctor is a Lions fan,” a voice in the room said.

At which point I told him that I was, too, after last week’s game against the Cowboys, when Matthew Stafford—who happens to be the starting quarterback on my fantasy football team—pretty much assured me victory with his ballsy call to fake a spike and run the ball in for a touchdown as time expired.

This led to a longer conversation about fantasy football—my number one non-work related, non-family related obsession—and before I knew it, the procedure was over and I was on my way to the recovery room.

And what was I thinking about there? The folder of instructions for what to do today after having two invasive procedures? The biopsy results, due back next week? My impending chemotherapy?

No. I couldn’t wait to get home to obsess about my fantasy lineup for this week.

Never underestimate the value of a good distraction.


  1. Seriously......I don't know how to handle the fact that the Lions....the LIONS actually ....dare I say it...might be a It has to be a dream right?

  2. Not a sports fan, couldn't care less, but I do appreciate a good distraction. I have my own fandoms that gobble up great parts of my brainmeats. I think it is great to have these touchpoints that can bring strangers together.

  3. Hm, my surgeon did not offer to let me stay awake for it.