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Au Revoir, Port-a-Catheter

bingbing2009
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 2011

Melinda posted this news on FB, but we’re not sure everyone here is in that group, so we wanted to share. Melinda had a port-a-catheter installed in October 2009, shortly after her dx (T3N1M0). We found out after her last CT scan a few weeks ago, which was clear, that her port will be removed December 26th. It will feel strange not to have it—it has come to feel like part of the family.

To quote an old song...what a long, strange trip it’s been. October of 2009 seems like it was yesterday and at the same time it feels like a million years ago. There were many, many ups and downs in that time. We were both traumatized, physically and mentally. We both also experience ‘survivor’s guilt.’ In the beginning, we decided to have treatment at a local, Catholic hospital and cancer center, rather than a large university hospital like Vanderbilt or Duke. Since Melinda is a teacher and I’m an ex-law enforcement, we both have serious control issues. At the start of our journey/battle, we researched EC for a few days...and then we made a ‘pinkie pact’ to stay off the internet. The news was so depressing. On top of that, the doctors weren’t optimistic. We both thought Melinda would be buried with the port still in place. So we had a talk one night, and decided that the situation was simply beyond our control and we had to turn things over to a stronger power. We didn’t question any of our decisions after that night. We simply focused on the fight and trusted in our doctors and left the outcome in God’s hands.

We cannot explain why we have been successful up to this point, when so many others have lost the fight. Why is Melinda alive, when others have died? People who drew us to their fights and we developed feelings of closeness. People like the Mashin-White team. Brendon and Sherri. The Reeds. Callaloo. Jimbo. The Turners. The Chemosmokers. The Waites. Rubles. Bailey. Sangora. There have been so, so many we have come to know the last three years who are no longer in the fight.

I can’t honestly say we have any advice to give to anyone. The parameters of the fight are so varied from case to case. We just tried to stay optimistic and positive and focused on our goal. Not to rebuild our lives, because something that is so drastically altered by cancer cannot be rebuilt. Instead, we plodded ahead as best we could, at our own pace, trying to build a new life from the mess of our old life. The most overriding truth of our new life is the uncertainty of a recurrence. It could be six years. It could be six months. It could be never. So we try to just live in the moment, to take nothing for granted...and to always remember the boundary between us and those who lost the fight is mysterious and unidentifiable and certainly beyond our understanding.

We will never forget those who lost the fight. We will continue to look to the future and try to help others as best we can and pray that everyone who confronts EC will receive the blessings we have received.

Vaughn, caregiver for Melinda

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