Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Port Ponderings

I've had the new Bard Power Port for about three months now I think. Once in a while I still get pain twinges on the skin covering it, and I suspect that something to do with depleted hormones affects scar healing.

As shown in this lovely picture, it sports "a unique triangular arrangement of three bumps called Palpation Points on the soft top of the port", making the needle target easy to find.

They look obvious and hard to miss. I am, however, still feeling angst over the fact that I can only palpitate one palpatable point. It is the one at the lower point of the triangular configuration, and is clearly visible through my skin. In fact, sometimes I wonder if it is possible for it to eventually wear its way THROUGH my skin.

I am not sure which bothers me more, that this one may pop through, or that the other two are seemingly nonexistent. They are clearly in the picture. The doctor and the nurses close their eyes and feel for them, and swear they are right there in place. Why then, is ONE so clearly prominent, and the other two, of purportedly the same size, impossible for me to feel?

This doesn't bother me as much, though, as wondering if it is possible, however rarely, for the catheter to pop off the little purple end. Sure, there are ridges, but I don't see anything more secure than that. Sitting low on my chest, and down into breast tissue, it doesn't exactly rest securely in a stable spot. Boobs MOVE. Big ones move even more.

When I had the placement procedure, the doctor taped my breast down, to keep it from falling down under my arm while on my back, and thus skewing placement. Good plan, but when I sleep, on my side, I do not wear tape. This is difficult to explain, and I fear I did not impress my concerns properly upon my physician. I think he thought it was just a bit of a chat about my breast. My concern is that it will move around and flip, or unplug.

I haven't had an honest to gosh put-on-the-paper-gown breast exam in over a year. Last month he did feel around my lymph node area under my arm. Tuesday, I am taking my fabric substitute for the paper gowns that never fit, and insisting on an exam, and showing him what the port does when I lie on my side.

Yes, it's a pain to get undressed and dressed again, and yes, for awhile it was difficult to do my own bra, and yes, regular scans should, in theory, suffice. But the time has come. I don't care what he thinks, and if it makes him somehow uncomfortable, tough ****; he's a freaking doctor.

Not that I don't adore him. I do. But sometimes I feel like I don't get as much attention to detail as I would like. I know that none of these questions will effect my prognosis one way or the other. So I guess I need to reiterate that to him - I don't care that nothing is going to make me GET better; my main concern is FEELING better, or at least not feeling worse for as long as possible, emotionally and physically. Avoidance of stress and pain, with the clear understanding that I accept this prognosis.

With that said, it is also time to get another scan done. Even considering a scan or possible spread brings on the 'scanxiety' and tears. I wonder at it, since I know how this story ends. It must be the fear of not being able to avoid the pain and discomfort as this disease progresses. Scan time makes me step closer to my mortality in my mind's eye, dropping the drapery of denial that keeps the prognosis at a more tolerable distance.

Definitely making a good list this time for the doctor.