This entry brings me to a new phase in my post cancer journey. I wasn’t sure when I would be prepared for it. But as this year’s Cancerversary rolled around I found I was challenged in a number of ways I wasn’t expecting. And that brings me to this phase of my journey that I’m going to share today. First I must travel back a couple of months. Here we go!
I just read today on my Facebook Timehop App that two years ago yesterday “Dr. John Wheelock saved my life” referring to his removing the Ovarian Cancer that had been discovered. After that experience I was sure that God had reached down and superimposed Dr. Wheelock’s hands with his own. In my mind I equated Dr. Wheelock as the miracle worker through the healing power of God. And I’m not sure that that is wrong. I was sure to give God the glory for using my doctor’s to find and remove my cancer. I think if Dr. Wheelock had been like Elisha’s Servant, Gehazi, and told Naiman to go and dip in the Cumberland River seven times I would have done it. Dr. Wheelock was the Oncologist and I was his Cancer patient. He sent me to have a Intravenus port put in my chest for easy access for my six upcoming chemotherapy treatments. I was also told that any blood work would be done through my port as well. Since I have small rolling veins and have ALWAYS had a difficult time in having blood taken that my port would make it much easier from here on out to do so. Since this had always been a problem for me I thought it was a great idea.
So, Dr. Wheelock had removed my cancer. Dr. Marc Rosen had inserted my port. All I had to do now was fight through chemotherapy and come out on the other side happy and healthy and get on with life. Easy enough!! Right? What I didn’t realize was how dependent I would become on my port. No more fishing around in my arm trying to find a vein. Each time I went for chemo or blood work – all in my port.
When I thought about it I realized what would happen if my cancer recurred and I didn’t have my port. Long before my chemo was over I began worrying about what I would do if my cancer came back. Where would it occur? Would it show up in my breast? My liver? My pancreas? With those worries I began an unhealthy connection with my port. It became a part of me that I guarded with my life. I felt like if I didn’t have it then I would certainly be “asking for” the cancer to come back. I would DESERVE the cancers return. I was scared of letting it go.
If you’ve had cancer then you know the attachment you have with your hair. You hold on to your hair as long as you can until you no longer have a choice. Then you decide if you are going to proudly wear bald beautifully, wear scarves, use a variety of hats or choose wigs. The choice you have concerning what to do about your bald head is the only thing you can control. So you hang on to it with all your might.
Similarly, my port is my final connection to my cancer. I’ve been afraid to let it go. I can’t explain why I want to stay connected to my cancer. I really am just terrified STILL that my cancer will return. I’ve seen it return too many times in too many people that I love. I don’t want that. But I feel like I’m being realistic about it.
But something changed a couple of months ago. I changed Oncologists. I was no longer satisfied with the lab work at Dr. Wheelock’s office. So upon recommendation from a friend I changed to a new cancer doctor, Dr. Michael Milam. Ron and I went initially for a consultation with him. He told me a number of things that he wanted me to think about. One of those things was to think about having my port removed by this coming Fall. My heart skipped a beat. I’m sure he heard it. In our discussion we discovered that he is a Christian and attends a Baptist church we are familiar with in town. I explained my fear to him in brief detail. He said he understood that but that he wanted me to consider it from the side of Faith instead. That stuck with me. When I went back to see him for my first actual appointment I told him I was ready NOW to have it removed. He smiled!
I just met with Dr. Marc Rosen this week. Dr Rosen is the same doctor who placed my port in on May 6, 2013. He is now scheduled to remove it April 23, 2015.
I’m ready to leave the fear behind and step out on faith. And let God take care of the rest!