a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

The Tale of the Phantom Port

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/06

I noticed yesterday in the shower that I was still very carefully washing my neck and upper chest, so as not to touch the (skeeevy) chemo port that is no longer there.  Old habits die hard, don’t they?

It’s still a shock to me when I look at pictures of myself now and there isn’t a hard little round disc sticking out of my chest and I still occasionally feel a bit of a phantom pull in my throat where the port met my jugular vein.  I expect this will all fade eventually–I mean, I finally learned where my breasts are located on my body–for the longest time after my first surgery, I found myself trying to wash under breasts that were no longer there.  (Seriously.  It was super annoying.)  It stands to reason I’ll figure out my neck is OKAY TO TOUCH AGAIN eventually.

Why yes, I did make myself a shirt. Iron-on transfers, ftw!

Right now, the only real obstacle I face in the shower is shaving my right armpit–because the underside of my arm is numb (and will remain so–this is something that won’t go away since they removed all my lymph nodes on that side) and I haven’t gotten around to getting an electric razor yet, so cutting myself without realizing it remains a possibility.  I never realized how much one shaves just by feel.  The pressure of the razor against your skin is how you tell you’re doing it right and I can’t feel that anymore.  Frustrating, but not end-of-the-world stuff, so I can deal.

I’ve been pretty lucky so far with my arm.  Working out doesn’t bother it (I’m being very careful not to overdo it, as I know it’s a bit risky–but, I think the benefits outweigh the risks.  It cannot do me anything but good to build up the muscle in my arms.) and I’m hopeless when it comes to remembering not to carry my purse on my right shoulder, but it hasn’t affected anything.   I haven’t had to deal with any swelling or other signs of Lymphedema yet.  I have full range of motion with the arm as well.   Dr. Awesome (my surgeon) was unsurprised at my progress.  “You’re young, you’re healthy, there’s no reason you shouldn’t do well.”.

I’m going to just take a moment and enjoy those  words.  Cause I really love it when my doctors talk about how ‘young’ I am.

Tomorrow is the very last day of the Boobie-thon, and I am just completely overwhelmed with gratitude over how generous people have been.  I’ve talked about ‘moments of grace‘ here before, and I want you all to know I’ve had more of those moments this week than I can count.  I feel like I keep repeating myself over and over, but it’s all I know to say or do.  Thank you.  Thank you.  ❤  One day, I’ll pay all of this forward.

This is the very last Boobie-thon ever, which is such a bittersweet thing to all of the women who’ve been involved over the years–but I think especially to Robyn, the founder, and Mel, who took over organizing the thon for Robyn a few years back, and I’m sure for my Hot Internet Wife, Statia, who was the reason the whole thing began.   These women have worked tirelessly for a cause they really believe in and I think they’re amazing.  There are a few really fun contests (win a Kindle Fire or a $30 Amazon card!)  running over there right now, and you still have time to enter, so head over if you like.  Now, shoo!

6 Responses to “The Tale of the Phantom Port”

  1. Wendy you look amazing and I love reading your post, DON’T STOP posting.

  2. Lauren said

    here is what you need, a snarky 12 year old to tell you it’s time to shave your armpit hair on that side…the feeling doesn’t come back 😦 but I’ll take it, it’s better than the alternative!

  3. wendy said

    HAHAHA. Seriously, I’ve gone to the dr’s and raised my arm and been all mortified because I did such a crazy job shaving that side. And, yeah–I’ll take it. It’s really not too bad. It just feels super weird.

  4. feistybluegecko said

    This is so true – I still have my port and it still gives me the heebie jeebies. And your discussion abut the perils of underarm shaving after removal of lymph nodes is SO accurate. My underarm is pretty mangly and knarled so shaving is almost impossible. Bleurgh!! So many after effects!

    • wendy said

      It’s the little things you kind of learn to live with, but they’re still super annoying aren’t they? I really need to get an electric razor, though. I’m a careless girl and it’s going to catch up with me eventually. (seriously, I’m the kind who cuts off a mole when shaving her leg because she forgot it was there. oops. hahaaha. My dr was appalled.)

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