My Port Trilogy (Part Three)

When I wrote about my port recently, I wasn’t planning on making it into a three-part saga. Similarly, two years ago, I wasn’t planning to watch every episode of all 20 seasons of Gunsmoke, all 7 seven seasons of the Dick Van Dyke Show, and every episode of the show Las Vegas.  But I did, and I don’t regret it. And the funny thing is, my port story continues.

My port wasn't working

In early December, I went to the local hospital, expecting a consult about why my port wasn’t working. I assumed I’d get x-rays, review them with a doctor and decide on a remedy.

Instead, I was scheduled to have a new port put in and the old one taken out. I was told if I didn’t want that, they could instead send a camera into the old port, via my groin, to look at why the old was clogged.

Well, that sounded horrible. So my wife and I huddled up and decided to go through with the procedure of getting a new port. I was pleased to hear that they could put it on my left side, that it’d just be a little bit longer run of the tube.

Should be a simple procedure

I was wheeled into a radiology room for the process. They don’t knock you out completely for the port process, so I was still awake when they placed a cloth over my face in preparation for the procedure. That was a first. I’m hugely claustrophobic, so just that little cloth freaked me out a bit. The drugs kicked in and I was fine.

The doctor then proceeded to put in the new port and take out the old. All told, he said, it would take maybe 30 minutes. Just one catch, he couldn’t get the old port out. He said it had calcified and was stuck on the clavicle. He couldn’t do the necessary tugging without me being totally anesthetized. He told me I’d have to see a general surgeon to have it removed.

Another surgeon

My local oncologist sent me to a general surgeon. I don’t know if any of you are fans of the show Curb Your Enthusiasm. There was a recent episode where Larry went to a doctor, a perfectly fine doctor. But something about the doctor turned him off. Well, my wife and I went to the general surgeon. He’s taken out ports before and this would be a fairly simple procedure. But it will be surgery. It can be done in January. Right now, I’m walking around with two ports. One working, one not. I want the old one out ASAP. Nothing like having two ports to remind you that you’re a blood cancer patient.

However, something about the surgeon’s office just didn’t feel right to us. I wasn’t comfortable. The doctor was nice enough, but I’m getting a referral for another general surgeon.

And one more referral

This week I see my myeloma specialist and will get a referral from him.  He usually steers me to doctors I am comfortable with. I imagine it’ll be a couple of weeks before I can get an appointment and then another couple of weeks before I can get the old port out. This takes us into February. It’s longer than I was hoping for, but there’s no harm in having the two ports, so it can wait. If nothing else, having cancer has taught me patience.

In the meantime, I can binge Bonanza and The Wire.

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