The Notorious Port

Two years ago today I had a subclavical port installed (I sound like a car) so I could receive chemotherapy without compromising the veins in my arm. I had a love/hate relationship with this little thing. I hated it until I had to have a treatment. Then I LOVED it!

I thought I would share with you what I wrote about that day. Can I just say drugs and my mouth don’t mix? I have no need of pharmaceutical agents to make me say stupid things.


Our new insurance went into effect on Wednesday, June 1st, the same day I was scheduled to have outpatient surgery for a mediport placement. As we sat in the posh waiting room I noticed that this particular surgical office also did breast augmentation. How ironic.

The nurse called me back and asked me her list of questions as we walked to my pre-op room, one of which was had I had my tubes tied or a hysterectomy. I told her no, to which she replied they would need a urine sample. “Heaven forbid I’m pregnant, too,” I said with a laugh.

She handed me my lovely gown with instructions on how to wear the current fashion and left to check my sample. Upon her return she informed me the news was good. No pregnancy. I explained to her it would be difficult to explain a pregnancy to my vascectomied husband who lived in another state.

It was then time to take my vitals. As I sat back in the reclined bed with nothing on other than my gown, she looked at me and asked which side I had the mastectomy on. That hurt a little because, well, couldn’t she tell? But I let it pass and told her.

Pretty soon the anesthesiologist came in and asked me the same question. I looked down at my chest and could see the left was slightly flatter than the right. But instead of the comment I was thinking I just said, “The left.”

He then asked me what I liked to be called when being woken. I thought this was a strange question and wondered if it was to check my mental faculties. I simply told him I liked to be called something nice. So he looked at my chart and asked if “Jennifer” would be alright.

Hm. Let me think about it. I suppose, if you can’t come up with something better. Again, instead of saying what I was thinking I agreed that “Jennifer” was as good a name as any to call me whilst waking me up.

After that the doctor showed up. I’m sure by now you can guess what question he asked me. I don’t think it was completely out of his mouth before I snapped, “The left! I had my left breast removed! Can nobody tell?” Thankfully they had started the IV so I could blame my outburst on drugs.

Todd came back and I complained to him how nobody seemed to notice that I actually had a right breast. I knew I was small busted to begin with, but this had gotten ridiculous. Luckily for him it wasn’t very long before they took me back and I was mercifully taken to my unconscious happy place.

The next thing I remember was waking up. — Before I go any further, I want you to remember two things. One, I found out in the waiting room this surgical clinic did breast augmentation; and two, the anesthesiologist asking me what name I liked to be called. With that in mind you’ll understand why I said the next two things upon waking. Or thought them very loudly.

“I don’t suppose they made a mistake and gave me some nice boobs instead of a port,” and, “I think I might like to be called Roxanne.” These statements were met with laughter, leading me to think they were spoken out loud.

While most people who know me would argue this point, I don’t usually think things without a reason. Roxanne, for example, didn’t just come out of nowhere. It’s Terri’s middle name and one I’ve always liked. I also thought that Roxanne would be a great name for a well-endowed woman.

But, as luck would have it, I was still missing a left breast, my right breast was unchanged and I now sported a cool valve a few inches above said right breast.


  1. Monnik on June 1, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Oh, man. The comment about the new boobs and Roxanne had me cracking up, as I’m sure it had the recovery room staff doing the same.I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat myself. I love how you’ve met adversity with humor. You’ve got a great attitude.

  2. radioactive girl on June 1, 2007 at 9:57 am

    I LOVE how you think. I think I may have been busy telling each of my doctors how much I loved them while I was waking up from each surgery. I wonder why they kept asking you which side. There must have been a reason. Maybe it is like when you go to have surgery and they keep asking what you are going to have done. It freaked me out that no one seemed to know until someone clued me in that they were making sure *I* knew, and also that they were going to do the correct side.

  3. Jenster on June 1, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Monnik – Laughter truly is the best medicine!Radioactive – I think they kept asking me about which side because I can’t have anything done on my left side – no blood pressure, no blood draws, no IVs, etc. So my chart said I’d had a left mastectomy, but I guess they just wanted to be sure. But still! Couldn’t they tell????

  4. Judye on June 1, 2007 at 11:37 am

    I know it is not nice to laugh at the handicapped [j/k]… but girl you always crack me up. Here I am at work and I should know better than to read anything of yours! I was sitting here doing the silent giggle shake and hoping no one would walk by my cave.Thanks for sharing your stories with us. Jb

  5. Slackermommy on June 1, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Your great attitude never ceases to amaze me.

  6. Gardener Greg on June 1, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Just be thankful they just asked. My dear wife just had knee surgery and they came in and marked the one that was to be operated on with a ball point pen to make sure he didn’t do the wrong one, The did keep asking her before marking it with a pen. Best of luck to you. I remember walking in on my aunt when I was young and seeing “them” actually I didn’t see them and like most kids do, asked the embarrasing question (what happened) that I later regreted. She was my favorite aunt and lived lived to 90 and died of natural causes. I always loved her and miss her dearly. She always had a positive attitude and made me smile. Best of luck to you,Greg

  7. Terri on June 1, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    I guess I’m a “well-endowed woman”, but since Roxanne is only the middle name, the “well-endowed” is in all the wrong places! LOL You also planned to have red curly hair after the chemo, to go along with your “Sexy Roxanne” persona! I love the way your mind works!

  8. Jodi_Lee on June 1, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Your sense of humor never fails. Do you still have this port?

  9. Jenster on June 1, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Judye – I hope I didn’t get you in trouble! LOLSlackermommy – Thank you. :o)Gardener Greg – Thanks for visiting! And I guess I would rather the medical staff ask me over and over and get it right instead of just assuming. LOL And I bet your aunt didn’t mind your question.Terri – Isn’t Roxanne a hooker name?? LOLOLOL!!!! And my hair is curly. It also has red undertones. I have no idea what that means, though.Jodi – I had that puppy yanked out as soon after my last chemo treatment as possible. They don’t put you out to remove it and I didn’t like that. It was totally weird talking to the surgeon and the nurses while they’re yanking something out of your chest. But I got a Starbucks out of the deal! LOL

  10. CindyS on June 2, 2007 at 12:12 am

    What’s great is that even partially out of it, you’re funny. I’m sure I would have been squawking about where people had got their medical degrees that they didn’t know which boob was missing. I’m so very glad that that part of your life is over. I can’t begin to imagine what it was like but you sure knew how to face it.CindyS

  11. Boobless Brigade Master on June 2, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Yeah…I can relate…Although I have no recollection of it, upon waking up from my last surgery I kept telling people that there were “cannon balls everywhere.” Nope. No pirate movies for me, so where that reference came from…unless it was an anaology about my life (LOL)…I have no idea!

  12. Jenster on June 2, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Cindy – I’m preeeeeettty sure you are hysterical under the influence. I know you’re hysterical when you’re sober, so I’m just sayin’.Boobless – Hiya!! Do you have a thing for pirates maybe?? Captain Jack, I’m thinking??

  13. Travis Erwin on June 2, 2007 at 11:26 am

    I think you should write a short story about Roxanne, the well endowed hooker with a heart of gold.

  14. SeaSpray on June 2, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Good post! I am sorry you have gone through all of this. you have a superb sense of humor!we have an aunt going through breast CA right now. She had ignored a lump a couple of years ago and finally told her sister when it started oozing etc. last September. They couldn’t operate because there wouldn’t be enough skin to close. It had also spread to her groin and neck. However, she responded fabulously to this new cancer drug and also to the radiation.It appeared the cancer had gone into remission and the Doc was able to remove her breast this past April. She was so happy that her hair was coming back too. Also, the Doc said he got everything and was pleased with how the surgery went.She went home the same day _her choice and didn’t take pain meds.She has gone downhill, has had no appetite since the surgery and tumor markers were up. They found that the CA is in her liver but told her it isn’t over and she is now getting chemo again but a lesser amount because she is so weak and thin. They found that she was seriously anemic and she had to get a transfusion but now her white blood cell count is very low and she has gotten a shot for that the last 4 days. She was vomiting even before the chemo and in my opinion should be in the hospital getting IV fluids/nutrition, but I am not a medical person nor do I have any experience in this area. I have always heard that when it hits the liver it is not a good thing.I have worked around ill people for 20 years and done a good job at being supportive and attentive to their needs and yet, here in my own family I feel so powerless and inadequate.I know there is power in prayer and have been doing that too.i am confused about something though as I though sugar feed cancer and during the winter they said eat drink anything that will get the weight back on you like milkshakes etc. Is that a good idea? i also was talking about herbs (again I know nothing really, just that some people do holistic things too)but she said they told her to stay away from herbs.I am sorry so long with this – just wondering if you or anyone else has any insights into this.

  15. Katybug on June 2, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    What a great post, Jennster! I always think of The Police (the band, not the local law enforcement) when I hear the name ROOOO-xanne! I am anxious to see your curly red undertones.

  16. Jenster on June 2, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Travis – I’ll let you have that one. LOLSeaspray – If your aunt is very thin and doesn’t have much of an appetite then she does need to drink milkshakes. There’s no hard evidence that sugar does anything to cancer so that’s not really a concern. What’s important is that she regains some strength and weight. And the reason they say not to take herbs is because so many of them counteract the good effects of chemo and other cancer fighting drugs. Especially if her cancer is estrogen positive like mine was. Some herbs actually produce or stimulate estrogen and that can feed the cancer and make it grow.Katybug – Yeah! That’s where I got the hooker reference. LOL

  17. Terri on June 2, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Roxanne is a high class hooker name, you know, the ones for rich men or politicians… a street hooker would be more like Candy or Sugar or Venus. lolSeapray, we will be praying for your aunt.

  18. Jenster on June 2, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Terri – LOL!!!Seaspray – Leave it to my sister to shame me. I got so into answering your questions I forgot to say what Terri said. I’ll keep her in my prayers.

  19. SeaSpray on June 3, 2007 at 12:00 am

    Thank you Jenster and Terri – your prayers mean a lot. πŸ™‚ I KNOW THAT I KNOW there IS POWER in prayer. :)This is all confusing when you here what the holistic side is vs traditional. But you lived it and came through – praise God! πŸ™‚

  20. SeaSpray on June 3, 2007 at 12:03 am

    ummm..can you like a maybe send a phili cheese steak out over the blogosphere SeaSpray’s way? She’s feeling a bit hungry and that would hit the spot. πŸ˜‰

  21. Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats on June 3, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    You are so incredibly brave! I can’t believe you went through all of that!! Roxanne is an awesome name for a well endowed woman. I mean, if your gonna name your daughter Roxanne, what else would you be hoping for ?

  22. Swishy on June 4, 2007 at 1:48 am

    Oh, Jen, you have so much positive energy. I wish I lived near you so I could steal some of it!

  23. Jenster on June 4, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Seaspray – all the conflicting information out there can get totally overwhelming. And I’m thinking about a Philly Cheesesteak for you…PB&J – I won’t say I’m not brave, but I don’t think I’m any braver than most of the women I know who have gone through the same thing. Whatever it is you just do what you gotta do. And more importantly – trust God.Swishy – I’m thinking you’re one of the most positive people out there!

  24. Lainey-Paney on June 4, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Oh man! you could have come up with any weird thing for him to call you as he was waking up.It’s a shame you didn’t make him call you “sugar dumplin'” or something silly!:)

  25. Rowena on June 4, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Awww, you crack me up, even when you’re out of it! And LMAO on the Roxanne thing. I would love to read that story should you ever decide to write it! hehe. =)(((Jenster)))

  26. Manic Mom on June 5, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Wow. You are an amazing spirit, you know that, don’t ya?

  27. Jenster on June 6, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Lainey-Paney – I have a friend who suggested “Seniorita Hottie”. I’m going to remember that for the next time…Rowena – I won’t be writing the story of Roxanne any time soon. LOLManic – Bah. I just do what I gotta do. :o)

  28. His Girl on March 2, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Roxanne,totally laughed out loud on that one. holy cats!!! funny funny stuff.

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