Indeed, I did not sleep well on the Thursday night, despite being tired and staying up later than was wise, while I took advantage of the good internet connection to update family, friends and Facebook.
I slathered my Emla mind and body numbing security blanket on the port area plenty of time in advance, and after breakfast headed to the hospital and Floor 5 where the oncology ward is situated.
The lovely oncology nurses welcomed me like an old friend and we started talking about the port. They remembered the difficulties there had been last month at the cleaning in Yangon. I knew that we would start off by trying to flush it, but what would happen if it did not give a blood return, I really did not know. I was anxious about whether it would give a return, about what could be causing a blockage, and who would take it out if that was what was indicated. I also knew that I had to leave the hospital by mid morning if I was to catch my flight. That really added to my nervousness.
The nurse took me into one of the rooms and headed off to get her clanky trolley. All too soon, she was back with all the shiny, sharp kit and she started cleaning off the Emla cream. She said that my port is a very deep one and that that it might have shifted a bit. It is also possible that muscle development (particularly due to the amount of swimming I have been doing) could also be causing it to be slightly moved.
She prepped me as my heart rate steadily increased and once everything was in place, the needle appeared. As always I closed my eyes tight, took a very deep breath in, and held it when she told me to. The needle was in and she started the procedure. We both knew that this moment would tell us what was happening with the port. “Look at this”, she said to me – I half opened one eye and she was grinning as she held up the small catheter which was filling with blood! After all the stress, worry and anxiety the port was giving a blood return in record time and with unprecedented ease! The whole procedure was over very quickly and the needle came out as easily as it had gone in. I was cleaned up, the site covered and I was sitting up and putting my shoes on a few minutes later.
This was probably the easiest, quickest and least painful of all of my port experiences. How ironic!
So no de-portation, no clot or fibrin shield and all finished in time to run back to the studio flat, finish packing my things and head straight to the airport with NED in my head and my heart.
I know that April will come around quickly with its scans, new round of anxiety over NED and tumour markers, and of course the possibility of another port story. But for now I am back in Yangon with results which are as good as I could hope for and I can focus on my priorities – harmony, vitality and adventure!