My Port (A love story)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been more than a week since I had surgery to implant a port in my brain.  I still can’t feel it, but I can see it.  When I first came home, my scalp looked like I was mauled by a rabid wolverine and the port appeared to be the size of a teed-up golf ball.

As the week went on, the port area was rapidly diminishing to the point where it appeared to be a golf ball plugged in a sand trap.



Can you tell that I miss golfing?

Today…no golf ball.  No tee.  No sand trap.  A smooth-ish noggin (at least as smooth as it ever has been!).


It may even be smoother once the stitches dissolve.

You may notice the side of my head that time forgot.  This is the dark side of the moon for my cranium.  Radiation, when I was first diagnosed, forced me to have one hairstyle.  Actually, that’s not quite true.  It’s two hairstyles:  Short and shorter.

But, I digress.  This is not about my hair, it’s about a newfound fondness for my port.

Dear Port,

I’m sorry I doubted you.  If you forgive me, I will never distrust you again.

Your friend,




Fill up on pump #6

gas pumps

The day after my surgery, I couldn’t feel the new port in my brain. That was refreshing, because I was a little bit worried it would be aggravating – or even worse – itchy.  There is that place on my back that I just can’t reach no matter which hand I use.  Imagine if the itch was inside my brain.

I didn’t know if the surgeons actually placed it in my noggin (Those surgeons are notorious practical jokers). So in a rare turn of skepticism, I walked down to the hospital bathroom to look in the mirror.  There, on the left side of my scalp, was a teeny, tiny bump that satisfied my curiosity.

Later that day, I had my first chemotherapy treatment.  For the last 3 1/2 years, I have taken oral chemo; so, I had no idea what was in store for my now multi-scarred melon. The only thing that really hurt was when the physician’s assistant cleaned the surgical site before starting.  I didn’t even know the treatment began, which I thought was harbinger of good things to come.

photo 3

File this picture under the category of: This Would Be Cool if it Happened to Someone Else.

I’m not sure which is worse: The needle in my head or, if you look very carefully by the hand wearing the sterile gloves, there are about a half-dozen tubes containing pinkish liquid.

That’s my spinal fluid.

I repeat.

5 or 6 tubes of grade A spinal fluid.

At approximately 1:43 p.m. on Friday, August 8, 2014 my spinal fluid made its debut appearance.

I thought I handled the treatment fairly well as I walked out of the room and waited in the hallway to schedule the follow-up visits. Then, nausea swept over me almost immediately. I asked where the restroom was and barely waited for the answer.  I didn’t get sick in there, but I was definitely not tolerating the treatment “fairly well”.  After a quick anti-nausea pill from the pharmacy, I felt relatively stable, but I didn’t open my eyes again until we turned onto our street.

Saturday, I felt great.  The discharge papers said to take it easy the first day home and that’s what I did. I had a great appetite and I had wonderful night’s sleep.  I slept in a little, enjoyed a bowl of cereal, and started thinking about the day ahead … when waves of nausea interrupted any potential plans.

After I got sick, Tricia and Amy both reiterated what the physician’s assistant had told us before the first treatment: Several of these chemo drugs could have side effects instantly, a couple of days later or, not at all.  Put me down for instantly and a couple days later. (At least for this treatment.)

See you in less than two weeks Cancer Center.  I can’t say I’m looking forward to it.




So…what did you do this morning?


Thank you to my sister for filling in for me when I was sleeping.  Oh, and I had successful invasive surgery to place a port in my brain while I was dozing.  Just a normal Thursday.

The procedure went as well as expected and I’m scheduled to be discharged tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, my wonderful nurse Erin has taken excellent care of me, bringing me orange jello, a turkey sandwich, and chicken noodle soup.  Any other time it would taste like bland hospital food, but this morning, it was sweet nectar from the gods.

Seriously, thank you all for your support this week and especially this morning.  My wife and I truly appreciate the love and concern.  I know I still have a long way to go in this journey, but today is a day to celebrate.

Just a few minutes ago, I received a phone call from my 6-year old son Will and he was so excited to hear that my surgery went splendidly and that I would be coming tomorrow.  That call was even better than the medicine I will receive tomorrow.  Thanks, Bub.



Just returned from visiting Garnet for a few minutes.  He had lunch and is feeling good.  Sitting up and acting like he just finished cutting the grass.  No big deal.  I would be laying down, working it for all I could get.  “Massage my feet”…”Turn on the TV”…”Bring me chocolate…”  

He really is the Six Million Dollar Man.  I will continue to update you as the day goes on but for now we are grateful for the doctors and the caregivers here as well as your continued support and prayer.  

The Sister

10: 43AM

Trish was just invited to the post op area to see the patient!  More news as we get it.  Thanks for continued prayers of comfort, ease and recovery for Garnet.  If all is well, tomorrow he will receive his first chemo cocktail.  I want that cocktail to suck the life out of that tumor.  Cut it off at the pass.  Seek and Destroy.  

Keeping the Faith, 

The Sister



And just like that he’s out.  He’s awake, talking, and in the words of the surgeon, it went well.  We are waiting for the nurses to come get Trish to visit with him.  Thanks for prayers and all good wishes.  God is good.  

Keeping the Faith, 

The Sister.  xo


Trish has joined us in waiting area and Garnet’s status has been updated to “operating room”.  Thanks for continued prayers as his journey is officially launched.  

Keeping the Faith, 

The Sister


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