Tomorrow morning at 10:00 this will be what I’ll be seeing as I look up:
These are people who are about to do things to my body that I would never approve of if they had not put me to sleep before they started. A “Permacath” will be attached to my inter-jugular vein as it goes into my heart. It will then exit out of my left chest with 6 inches of tubing hanging out of me, looking for something to do.
Funny, I was just thinking what a nice addition this would be for my body. It would balance out the “PowerPort” that I have on the right side of my chest so that symmetry is once again established and all is right with the world.
The PowerPort is useful, but it’s all under the skin and somewhat boring. You hardly notice it’s there until a nurse decides to stick a large needle into it in order to pump life-giving drugs into you. The 3 dots give her something to aim at – she wants to hit it right in the middle. I always pray as she approaches.
The “Permacath,” in contrast, is kind of like the Powerport’s big ugly brother:
Yep, I’m going to have this tubing dangling out of me for the next six weeks. Two lines will be running out of my left chest (red for arterial blood, blue for venous) to provide access to my cardiovascular system.
Starting Monday we will then use these lines to pump my blood through a machine that will capture 50 million of my white blood cells once a week. Once done, they will immediately be sent to Atlanta for classes at a remedial immunological reform school.
On Thursdays I then pick up my reformed white blood cells from the Greyhound bus terminal and re-infuse them into my blood by way of my new Permacath. I am unsure if they are going to let me do this on my own, or whether medical professionals will insist on being involved. Heck, I am practically a doctor now anyway, with all I have learned in the last two years.
Either way, flu-like symptoms are to be expected for a couple of days after the re-infusions. Just in time for the weekends.
May I be honest with you? As hopeful as I am about this treatment, I’m pretty freaked out right now. I wish I could tell you this whole process, starting with the surgery in the morning, doesn’t scare the bejeebers out of me, but it does. It’s the Twilight Zone thing again.
From a recent conversation with my rock star doctor:
Ed: “So doc, what can I expect now that we are starting to mix together different treatments to fight my cancer?”
Doctor: “How the hell should I know? No one has ever done this before. You’re the first.”
I am not comforted – or maybe I am! The heights and the depths again.
Steve Brown tells the story of a plane that he was on that went through a terrible storm landing in Pittsburg. It was so bad he thought the plane was going to come apart. To make it worse, about a month before, the same flight had gone down in a storm and everyone was killed. What really irritated him, though, was that the woman sitting next to him stayed asleep the entire time. Not only that, she snored.
When they finally got down safely, the woman woke up and stretched. “Lady,” he said, “we almost died and you were asleep. You shouldn’t sleep through your own death.”
She laughed and said, “I can’t fly this plane.”
Hmm. There might be a lesson here.
I can’t perform this surgery. I can’t get my white blood cells to fight my cancer. I can’t keep my emotions from swinging like a yo-yo. I can’t make my fears evaporate. I can’t fix anything about this storm I’m in, it seems.
But I can lean on the One who is here with me and has promised to never leave me or forsake me. Would you pray that I would be given grace to do so?
“When we can’t control things after we’ve done all we can,
it becomes the way God forces us to run to Him.” – Steve Brown
Running (because the doctors are chasing me with scalpels),