a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

Helvellyn

Posted by wendy on 2012/04/09

I knew when I got my port-a-cath removed last August that I wanted to do something special with it–I just wasn’t sure what.  I had loads of suggestions, but it wasn’t until M suggested we hike our way up Helvellyn over the Easter holiday that the plan coalesced in my head.  I would climb Helvellyn and bury my port at the summit.

Mind you, I’ve never actually climbed a mountain before, so let’s all imagine my shock (and awe) at how incredibly difficult this climb was for me.  Difficult–and completely terrifying–and oh hey, can you SEE the metaphor forming?  I mean, seriously, I had a little metaphor-shaped cloud hanging over me from around the 400 meter mark and beyond.  I mean, seriously.  Incredibly difficult on a physical level?  Check.  Painful?  Check.  Mortal fear?  Check.  Icy cold wind making my face numb?  Well, okay.  That bit was new.  😉

We hiked, we climbed–and once or twice, I scooted on my butt because I couldn’t figure out any other way to get from one rock to another–but, we made it to the summit, and I buried my port inside a cairn just north of the summit marker.

There are cairns all over Helvellyn.  All the way up and back down again.  It’s tradition for climbers to toss another rock on the cairns as they go by.   I think it’s a way of saying “I was here.”

It may come back.  It may be the thing that gets me in the end.  That is the reality we all live with.  But, now–here and now–I feel stronger and less afraid than ever.

I was here.

Me. Sitting on the cairn that now encases my chemo port. If you're ever at the summit--toss a rock on and think of me, will you?

There are more shots on my Facebook page, if you want a peek.

16 Responses to “Helvellyn”

  1. Totally made me cry. So proud of you and proud to know you. xoxoxo

  2. Rene said

    rock on. not just a pun but a mission.

  3. feistybluegecko said

    Wow! What a meanginful thing to do with your port. And this strikes a really strong chord with me as my port was removed only 4 days ago! At the moment, I can’t bear not to take it out and about with me as it fascinates me. How can I have had this thing so close to my chest but not really know what it looked like?

    I love the expression of placing your port at the peak of Helvellyn, under a caairn. An expression of those mountains you climbed – truly marvellous!

    • wendy said

      It felt like the perfect way to give myself closure. I so totally get your fascination with your port! It’s really amazing when you think that it was inside your body, isn’t it? It’s just such a silly little bit of plastic. Congratulations on getting yours out, lady!! xxx

  4. Kim said

    You are so unbelievably awesome!!!! Love you lady!!!

  5. faygate said

    That’s awesome! Some friends and I only climbed Scafell Pike the other week, and the weather was way better. If we ever pass through Hellvlyn we’ll be sure to bury the little c under some more rocks! 😉

    Enjoy the rest of your stay in the lakes.

    • wendy said

      Thank you!! I love that so many will be chucking more rocks on top of that cairn. And, I REALLY love that friends may be doing it, as well. 😀

  6. Melisa said

    I couldn’t even SEE my port after the surgeon removed it; it was against hospital policy to show it to me. I would’ve loved to have seen “Cath” (as I called it) after all was said and done.
    It is an important part of cancer treatment, to let go and say goodbye, even if it’s simple things like a port-a-cath.
    Best of luck!

    Melisa
    NC

  7. Excellent!! Now, if we could just bury cancer under a pile of rocks…

    Go, you!

  8. Candy said

    I’m so proud of how you have handled all of this. You are definatley a role model for so many who have had to or are dealing with any form of cancer or any other disease. Reading this made me smile knowing you fought this and won and you didn’t let it beat you.

  9. Liz said

    Hi Wendy. Have just found your blog from here in Darwin and LOVE this post. Making a toast to your gutsy, hiking, port-burying self here in Darwin, Australia!!

  10. Jett Superior said

    You sure were, motherfucker. YOU SURE WERE.

  11. aw I missed this post! I was coming here to tell you…I miss your face. 🙂

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