Tag Archives: surgery

Returning to the Scene of the “Crime”

I returned to Miami Valley Hospital this morning to get my port installed.

Waiting for my port of call.

Waiting for my port of call. Yes, I wore the hat for the procedure.

This was done as an out-patient procedure under “twilight” sleep — so it wasn’t so bad.

From the brochure they gave me (heavy on market-speak):

“Your Bard PowerPort device is a small device (about the size of a quarter) used to carry medicine into the bloodstream. It has one or two small basins that are sealed with a soft silicone top, called a septum. The port is placed under the skin on your chest or arm. The port connects to a small, soft tube called a catheter. The catheter is placed inside one of the large central veins that take blood to your heart. When a special needle is put into the septum, it creates “access” to your bloodstream. Medicine and fluids can be given through the needle and blood samples can be withdrawn.”

From the brochure.

From the brochure.

“Because the port places medicines into a large central vein, the medicines mix better in the blood. The medicines are also diluted so they are less harmful to your veins.”

(Sometimes I have to remind my self that chemo is my alley, not my enemy.)

“The port has a special triangle shape and three bumps on top of the septum. The bumps are called palpation bumps. Your doctor or nurse can feel these bumps and the triangle port shape to know that you have a Bard PowerPort device”

Feeling the port: Why does this photo make me squirm a little?

Feeling the port: Why does this photo make me squirm a little?

I’m guessing that finding those bumps also helps them to aim the needle.

“Your doctor or nurse will use the port when they need to give medicine or fluids or withdraw blood samples. To do this, they will access the port by placing a special needle, called a Huber needle, into the port. You may feel a mile pricking when they put the needle into the port. This sensation often gets milder over time.”

Yeah. This one is also squirm-worthy.

Yeah. This one is also squirm-worthy.

Ugh! That’s one big-ass needle!

“After your port is placed, your doctor will place a small bandage over the wound. For the first few days, you should avoid heavy exertion and follow any special guidance from your doctor or nurse to care for the small wound. Once the wound has healed, it will not take any special care and you can resume normal activities.”

So now I look a little bit like a vampire snacked on me. This photo looks much worse then the reality — the steri-strip looks like jagged edges when it’s really simply getting wrinkly as the swelling goes down.

Not as scary as it looks.

Not as scary as it looks.

I want to give a shout-out to the folks at Miami Valley, and to my surgeon and her team. They’re all top-notch professionals. So nice. So willing to spend time and answer my questions. They really made me feel safe as I went through this procedure.

And when they wheeled me into the operating room, they turned up the music so we could all dance to Bruno Mars. Of course, I had to dance in a supine position from the gurney.

Going home to lunch.

Waiting for Cousin Joe to bring the car around. Yes, I wore the hat.

Waiting for Cousin Joe to bring the car around. Yes, I wore the hat.

NOTE: Portions of this post originally appeared elsewhere. Also, I have backdated this post to preserve chronological order.

The Night Before

Posted on my private Facebook group:

“Dear wonderful friends and family. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers–this is not a job I can do without you, no matter how much in warrior-mode I am. Just remember, party in my room on Saturday. I’ve got candy hearts and kisses, and good dancing music on my iPhone.

I’ll be back online as soon as the anesthesia wears off!”

Stress Tested

Leaving the hospitalAfter 36 hours in the hospital, I’m home. My Whipple Procedure surgery has been rescheduled for February 13–unless someone cancels a booking of the laparoscopy operating room, in which case the surgery could be sooner.

Had a stress test and a couple of heart ultrasounds this morning. I don’t have a lot of information on my heart, partly because I’m still trying to understand it myself. The cardiologist says my EKG under stress is not normal for the average person, but that it’s normal for me, so he doesn’t see it as an issue for my surgery. However, he has put me on a beta blocker and I will probably need to start seeing a cardiologist on a regular basis to monitor the condition. In 10 or 20 years I may need a pace-maker — or I might not. In the next few days he’s going to discuss my EKG with an Electro Physiologist, just to make sure he didn’t miss anything, but he doesn’t anticipate any problems with my surgery.

So I’m definitely tagging yesterday and today as a successful dress rehearsal for the main event which is now scheduled for Friday the 13th of February–which my excellent Cousin Joe assures me is a very auspicious day and I believe him because he’s very smart about stuff like that.

Party in my hospital room on February 14!

Thank you so much for all your support the past few days. I hope you’ll continue to keep me in your prayers over the next few weeks while I work with the doctors to successfully eradicate this stupid stinking cancer from my body. Crappy stuff! It’s so effing inconvenient and annoying!!!

Surgery #Fail

From my private Facebook group, a post made by my Cousin Jen:

“Ok family and friends… We have hit a snag. From what I understand they found an issue with Bev’s heart this morning and she will not be having surgery today. I don’t know any details, but I know that she is just fine and are having a cardiologist consult. I will post more when I know more. Again, she is fine (-:┬ákeep sending love”

In the bathroomHere’s what happened this morning: the anesthesiologist and his team were setting me up for the surgery. Once I was under–before anything else got started–there was a change in my EKG. This brought the work of the day to an end. So now I’m sitting in the cardio ward where I will spend the night and have further testing tomorrow. I’m hooked up to a heart monitor and a saline drip, so it takes another person to untether me if I need to pee. I’m so grateful to my dearest Cousin Joe who had the brilliant fore thought to bring me my cellphone when he came to visit this afternoon.

Joe and Marilyn came by at lunch time.

Joe and Marilyn came by at lunch time.

The room I’m in is nicer than some hotels I’ve stayed in.

Cardiac Hospital RoomGuess this morning was the dress rehearsal for the surgery! And a bad dress rehearsal means a fabulous opening night!

Olive and Oscar -- from my friend Pam.

Olive and Oscar — from my friend Pam.


Today, my sweet little girl had surgery to remove her left anal gland and 2 sub lumbar lymph nodes. Dr. Schertel just called to say the surgery is complete and she’s doing well. I’m to call tomorrow to see what time I can pick her up.

I was not totally thrilled with my first visit to Med Vet–but maybe I’m also looking at it through the lens of my grief and anger. This second visit has been a little less frustrating. Dr. Schertel–Bailey’s surgeon–is very nice, very informative.

We took Bailey to Columbus yesterday for a consult with the surgeon–though we were pretty certain that we would be leaving her for surgery today. After a 45 minute wait (I’m beginning to think this is normal for Med Vet–you schedule an appointment but end up waiting 45 minutes anyway) they took us into the exam room where we waited another 30 minutes.

Once we got into the exam room Bailey started trembling. I wrapped her in her blanket and I think the warmth calmed her down. We waited. A vet tech came in, talked to us, then left. We waited. Then another vet tech came in and asked if we wanted x-rays to check that her chest had not been compromised. So she took Bailey for x-rays and we waited some more. Then the Dr. Schertel came in–and left almost immediately afterward to do an anal exam of Bailey. We waited. When he came back we talked through how he would do the surgery. He was very patient with me–answered all my questions (I got a much better feeling from him then I did from the internal medicine guy who seemed like he was always watching the clock–maybe he charges by the hour).

I got through almost the entire thing without crying–but then I broke down at the end. And I really felt crappy because when the vet tech took Bailey to be x-rayed I didn’t realize that Bailey would be staying on the other side of The Door (there are 2 doors into the exam room–the one that the client uses from the waiting room, and The One that the staff uses. This 2nd, mysterious and terrible Door, goes into what looks like a back hallway–maybe a parallel universe. It’s The Door through which issues all hope and all despair. It’s The Door to wellness or the rainbow bridge. I don’t like this door).

So there I was, in tears, and unwilling to upset my little dog by bringing her back into the exam room, so we left Columbus without saying bye-bye to the puppy.

Last night and this morning have been a little surreal. I keep hearing Bailey getting into mischief–but she’s not there, she’s in Columbus. Dr. Schertel said I can call later today and ask how Bailey is doing. And then call tomorrow to get her release time.

She’s gonna be wearing an e-collar for the next 2 weeks which isn’t gonna make her very happy.