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Monday, January 30, 2012

Breaking in the Port

Well, apart from a 1" needle protruding from my chest wall, held in place by several layers of dressings, I feel a little less like Frankenstein's Bride than I did a month ago (when I was held together with stitches and tape). I had  my port inserted into my chest below my collar bone on Friday -- this is a mechanism that feeds directly into a main artery and has a rubber gasket below the skin so that with a simple lidocaine freeze, I can have all my labs drawn and all my infusions/transfusions done through the self-sealing port (about 1.5" wide, and it sticks up about 1/2" now -- though since it was just done it is still quite swollen). Apparently the gasket can withstand about 5,000 pokes, before it needs to be replaced. Today I "christened" the port by having my first (of 8 in 8 days) iron infusions, which took about 3 hours. I got a variety of anti-nausea drugs, and as large a dose of iron as one can tolerate in one day. The port is now attached to a bit of surgical tubing, like that in an IV, and it will remain there until these infusions are done next week. The whole process was a bit surreal, and I had an awful taste of rusty nails in my mouth, but (lesson learned) if done on a non-empty stomach, the nausea is minimal. I also had a chest xray to screen for lung cancer, and an interesting scan of my heart -- they opened another IV, pulled out a flask of blood, changed the valence of the red blood cells chemically, reinfused the radioactive blood, and took a series of 5 10 minute scans for a baseline measurement of my heart's capacity etc. So tomorrow I will "unlock" the heparin block (to prevent clotting within the port) and get hooked back up to the IV without any more needles! Star Date 1-30-2012.

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