I don't cry in public. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I said something along the lines of "Okay. What's next?" The same thing happened this second time. My business mode just turns on and I wait until my next shower or solo car ride to let the tears flow. Except when it comes to the port-a-cath.
The port, this damned little way station between the poison and my vein, triggers the realness of cancer. It's visual and physical presence are the only obvious parts of my treatment (sallow skin, hollow eyes, and exhaustion are symptomatic of many an ailment). This scar on my chest shows three times of access - the original installation in September 2014, the removal in July 2015, and the re-installment on February 22, 2016. The bump, the raised shape of the port, that leads to the catheter tubing into my neck - sensitive to every touch, goosebumps with every graze - making it nearly impossible to sleep comfortably. The chemo that gets "plugged in" to it every other week, big clear bandages covering it to keep it protected, its tubes leading to the IV bag of hazardous chemicals that nestle into a pocket in an elastic belt. I hate it.
Back to public crying. It's the day of my first chemo treatment, I've got hot pink on, my positive attitude is like whoa, my wedding is in 2 weeks, I am prepared. PSYCH. My kind nurse walks me through the process, I breathe when she tells me to, she easily accesses the port, and TEARS. Cancer is real.
Flash forward to this past Monday (2/22). I'm called to the surgical prep room, a place I have been plenty of times now, I change, I sit, I wait for the nurse, and TEARS. I cried on and off the whole time that I was waiting. Because I hate this port and I hate this cancer and I should not be doing this again. Not now, at least not yet.
So, dear port, I hate you. When this one is removed I'm going to request it just so I can smash its guts out.
P.S. Chemo starts tomorrow.