Wednesday, January 26, 2022

I've Been Deported

I was deported on Monday afternoon.

Yep! That's the way the very professional and efficient yet, cute and fun nurses (and not young teenybopper women, either) at the Winchester Medical Center add a little political humor into the procedure of removing my chemo infusion chest port. They said I was being "deported."

It was a short procedure and they put me out under a very light anesthesia. I was, more or less, awake again before they moved me out of the procedure room back to the prep/recovery room. They kept me in recovery for about another hour or so.

For those readers who have had an infusion port installed in your chest for chemotherapy treatments for cancer, you know what this port is and what it's all about. It makes the patient's life much easier because the nurses and technicians don't have to keep looking for a good vein in your hand or arm to infuse the toxic chemotherapy drugs into your circulatory system. After a while, it frequently gets hard for them to locate a good vein. It can become quite painful for many patients. But, the port is surgically (a minor procedure) installed in the patient's chest. Once installed, it produces a small lump in the chest wall. When the port is not being utilized, it must be flushed every six to eight weeks with a saline solution that must be done by a nurse. So, if it's no longer in use, it does become an inconvenience. However, the oncologists like to keep them installed, typically, for a couple of years just in case there is a recurrence and they need to go through another course of chemotherapy. Mine was in nearly 2 1/2 years. Here is what the little port device looks like. 

The port unit

The port location in the chest

The small incision to remove the port

As you can see from the other photos, this is where the port is positioned in the patient's chest and here is a close up of the incision after the port has been removed.

The entire process for installing or removing (deporting) the little device takes about three hours each way. Most of that time is preparation or recovery time since they do use a light anesthetic during the procedure, as well as Lidocaine to numb the incision area. I was awake within minutes after the procedure was complete. I think it only took 15 or 20 minutes for the actual procedure. I experienced no pain and the next morning, the incision area caused a bit of discomfort for, perhaps, an hour or two and then it was gone and I've experienced no discomfort since about 10 AM yesterday morning.

Interestingly, one of the nurses taking care of me was born and raised in my home state of New Jersey, Sussex County, to be precise. It was right near where l had an aunt, uncle and cousin who had a farm I used to visit and stay at once in a while. Later, as a young adult the nurse actually lived in my hometown of Clifton for at least a couple of years. We talked about all the favorite hangouts like Rutt's Hut, Mario's and others. How small the world is. But, like me and so many others who have left Jersey, she is glad to be out of there and has no plans to ever return.

So, Monday was another step forward in my recovery process from what began nearly 2 ½ years ago as a terminal case of gastric/esophageal cancer. And, thanks to the medical teams and a series of miracles, I'm still on my 43 year plan. I still have: Places to go. Things to do. People to meet and see.

If you've survived one or more cases of cancer where you were diagnosed as terminal, please contact me at I'd like to know your story and also, if you'd like to write your story for one of my upcoming books. If you'd like to participate, there is no telling how many thousands or hundreds of thousands of people you may be able to uplift, inspire, encourage and support with your story.

Live free and be happy, EH


Humpy57 said...

Congratulations on being deported !
I felt pretty confident, that with your attitude, this day would come.

Ed Helvey said...

Thanks! Of course, all of us are living one day at a time, with or without cancer or any other diseases. Stay safe and healthy and live free and be happy.

kinnb said...

way to lose that port, Ed!! cheering you on :D


Oscar and GaryBob said...

Ed, as a writer whose mission in life is to inform others, even at the minor loss of personal privacy, I appreciate this missive. I also enjoy reading about the technology and the rigors of a cancer patient. I'm glad your condition is still good enough to write so well, and that your spirits are up enough, and that you are surviving your struggle with the Big C. I wish you many more years on this wild and wacky planet.
Gary Robert Pinnell

Ed Helvey said...

Thank you, Kyrie -- great to hear from you
Live free and be happy,

Ed Helvey said...

Thanks, Gary --

Good to hear from you. I trust you are safe, healthy and happy out there in Oklahoma. As far as my writing and my cancer go, I'm figuring that whatever/whoever God, Mother Nature, the Creator, the Universe has determined that my work is not done here, yet. So, I'm accepting it as my mission and, perhaps, my final legacy on this planet to inspire, encourage and support as many people as I can through my talents, skills and experience in audio and video production, writing and book publishing. So, I'm undertaking several projects that will be under the umbrella of "New Beginnings." It should keep me going through my 43 year plan. Continue being safe and healthy and...
live free and be happy,

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Ed, for a fight well fought! Glad you've reached this milestone! Peg Miller Taylor

Ed Helvey said...

Thank you, Peg --
It came out of nowhere (though the doc said it had been growing in me for about five years) and I hope it goes back to nowhere. I knock on wood everyday that I keep hearing the words "cancer free" when I go in for my periodic checkups.
Live free and be happy,