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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Port update

I had my port procedure yesterday. As you know, I wasn’t excited about it but I felt His peace & grace covering me as I always seem to in such a moment as this (I am confident much of this is due to your constant intercessions on my behalf – thank you). My oncologist said I was allowed to intimidate my surgeon by telling him I didn’t want the port to bump out very much but show enough for the medical staff to easily access it. So, I put on my mean face (yeah right) and threatened him with my demands pre-surgery. (I don’t know how effective my mean face was, but he didn’t seem to think my requests were out of line.) Perhaps one request I should’ve mentioned was pain management but more on that later.

--One random fact, this procedure does not require being fully “under” like a regular surgery. Although I did fall asleep – the anesthetic is similar to what happens during a colonoscopy (never had one but some of you might relate). Apparently, I gave all of the OR crew a good laugh because I talked the whole time. I must add, one of the techs was prompting me with questions . . . mean! I even told the surgeon the topical ointment he applied to my chest before installing the port was “spicy.” Hmmmmm – maybe he was getting back at me for making demands. Regardless, he was still smiling post-op, so I am glad I could make his Monday a bit brighter without even knowing I did. I just hope the same OR team isn’t around when I get it removed – I will be so embarrassed. I’m sure I was the topic of conversation most of the day.

However, no laughing for me. When I woke-up post-op, I was in immediate pain. Much as I had feared, I felt every piece of that port inside me from the port head to the catheter. I felt the bump coming out of me. It hurt in my chest, my underarm & my arm. It really, really hurt. Keep in mind this is my left side and my “good arm.” The nurse actually called the surgeon back in because I was convinced something was wrong. I haven’t hurt like this thus far and I feel like I am pretty tough. The surgeon didn’t seem to be concerned. He said it would hurt for 3-5 days.

I came home in pain and have been in pain since (this means I am very grumpy and occasionally have tears streaming down my face). We try to keep the area iced and I am finally taking more meds to ease the pain. Of course, the doc recommended narcotics to control the pain but I don’t like taking them at all – much less during the day because they totally knock me out. So far, lots of Ibuprofen seems to be helping. I am unsure about chemo on Thursday as I’m positive I would punch or kick someone if they tried to touch the port site. It is so, so sensitive. (Trust me, I wouldn’t hit someone on purpose. It would just be a knee-jerk reaction to the pain.) Plus, the doc told me it would hurt to have the needle inserted the first day of chemo anyway. I didn’t realize the port itself would be so painful.
--To my “now cancer-free friends,” was this your experience?

We’ll see what happens. Again, just a few more gross days on this unexpected journey. Another frustration is the port took away my good arm. I cannot raise or move it without wincing. I cannot bear weight on it either, so I am sort of a mess that requires lots of help. It was quite a feat that I showered and blow dried my hair unassisted today. No telling what I look or smell like though. I guess that is one pro to going bald – no messing with my hair, just towel dry.

Thank you for checking in and continuing to lift-up me and my family. They have to be my cheerleaders when I don’t have any cheer in me (and I didn’t have cheer yesterday or much of today). Pain really brings out the “yucky” in me – especially when it wasn’t pain I ever wanted, unlike the pain of childbirth and jaw surgery. I willingly chose those avenues because I knew the end result was totally worth it. I’m counting that the precious blessing at the end of “this journey so oft filled with pain” will be the gift of my own life – a beautiful cancer-free life – with a lot of character marks to show for it. Surprisingly, I don’t mind the marks. After all, Jesus has a few of His own and they sure mean a lot to me!

I’ll end with the fifth verse to this precious hymn which has ministered to me for several years, especially on days like yesterday.

Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee,
Trust Him when they strength is small,
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest thing of all.
--From Trust Him When Thy Wants Are Many by Lucy A. Bennett

One more highlight from yesterday. We have started asking Alexa what she’s thankful for before bed each evening. Last night (after mentioning her basketball and stars on the canopy of her bed), she said, “I am thankful we are all here together . . . minus Holly.” You can tell who our little one has been surrounded by for over two months now – Mommy, Daddy & lots of family. We are thankful for all of the help and support too. Mostly, I am thankful to kiss my daughter goodnight. It’s a gift I took for granted.

And . . . I am thankful for you. Love to you all, my beautiful team of hope!!


  1. Hi, Kelsey! My best friend has breast cancer and experienced the same thing with her port surgery. However, she NEVER had pain when they accessed it... didn't use numbing cream or anything... which you can. She was always like, "Oh, you already did it? Huh, I didn't even feel it!"

    Hang in there!

  2. You are often in my thoughts and prayers. I have my Sunday School class praying for you and also the Singing ChurchWomen of Oklahoma praying. And those ladies are some awesome prayer warriors!! Love you dear friend!!

    Leigh Ann

  3. Kelsey, I am so sad that you are going through all of this. I am in tears for you right now. I pray that the pain will ease. You are so amazing. God bless you. Keeping you in constant prayer.
    Judy V

  4. Love this! You go, Girl!! Too Cute!! I did a kickboxing workout this morning and so when I pulled this up later your picture totally cracked me up! The spirit must have been moving me to work on those jabs, hooks, uppercuts, and kicks so I could fight along with ya! Wear your whole armor, Sister, and we’ll wear ours! Loving you and praying for you! -- Jami

    Ephesians 6:14-18
    Stand therefore, fasten on the belt of truth, and put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

  5. I hope things go better with the port! For me it was a best friend. I didn't have to get ivs all the time, and I could still go swimming. I'll pray that you get some nice (shaded) time by the pool soon! (Warning... it is easier to get sunburned during chemo.)