My stomach turns, turning and turning as the wheels of my car roll down 75 on my way to what is hopefully the last surgery I will ever have to attend. This surgery is supposed to mark the end of an era in my life that I all too soon wish to forget. A foreign object lodged in my breast tied to the better half of my ribs. Its begging for removal, as am I for its removal. Something I can’t wait to seperate from. In a sickening mindset I have grown attached to my port; it is an object that brings memories. I remember the painful pricking of every needle that has assisted in pushing chemicals and blood into my veins. I remember the warming sensation in my chest when I received iodine for scans. I remember the cooling sensation when saline washed through its long inner tube through my aorta. It brought a chilling relief of finality everytime they flushed it and everytime that last drop of cleanser pushed through.
I arrive at the hospital and I see my past. The old man in the wheel chair leaving after he confirms his fate. A thinly haired woman sits with her two very small children and the bandana on her head hiding the battle wounds of chemotherapy. One child asks if they could go home, the awkwardness of the waiting room is making the child antsy. The woman extends her hand to the boy and asks for his patience. My heart beats heavily; my blood pressure is through the roof. A victorious moment left shallow like treading a puddle nerves. This should be easier; I should be breathing.
“Anthony Bruno?” The nurse calls my name. A half hour before the scheduled appointment and I feel a rush of relief because there are too many memories floating around this waiting room. “How do you feel? Are you ready to get it out?” She piles on the simple but heart pounding questions. I answer the same that I answer here in this blog. I tell her it is strange losing it but a weight lifting all at once. She gets it. Maybe not because she has dealt with it, but she has seen this moment in so many others’ faces. To her maybe I’m a number or maybe I’m another face for her to forget. Maybe I’m someone who’s pain or who’s relief she feels if only for a second. To me she is the second to last face to see me with the object that has brought back the history of my ewings’ sarcoma. She leads me to my room where she will assist a surgeon in the procedure. I get prepared and lie on a disturbingly comfortable bed. As confirmed by my suspiscion prior my blood pressure is through the roof. She shows no concern and blames it on the nerves I’m holding on to. The surgeon promises that the needle he is about to poke me with will be the most pain I feel in the coming moments. Shortly thereafter I ask him what about the carterer that he is using the burn at my skin and my device. He asks if I feel that as I twitch in a minor shock. It wasn’t the smoke from the burning skin that made me twitch but yes I could feel his device burn my flesh. He apologizes and loads me up with more “novacaine”. My nurse begins to explain the post op requirements and within seconds the tugging of the port is nil and I have stitches being threaded through my chest. Briefly I stopped hearing the nurses voice and watched as all of the past 18 months got tucked away into a storage file of mental history. Finality. The removal of a simple yet complicated object held so much inner feelings, mentally and physically. I will no longer touch my chest and feel a lump of mechanical history. A scar will be the only reminder of what has passed. A scar will be the last bearance of the months of needle pushing memories being sent through my veins. A scar. Not a port. Not any object petruding from my chest or neck or into my heart. Just a scar and a memory. I can “live” with that.