A person weathers a storm on the sea by riding a chemo port

Any Port in a Storm!

This idiom is one of those strange collections of words in the English language that has a meaning slightly different from the actual words themselves. It's only when I talk to non-native English speakers that I remember that these phrases are not the easiest to understand when one is learning the language.

The dictionary defines this idiom as:

"Definition of any port in a storm — used to say that a person will use anyone or anything for comfort, help, etc., when in a bad situation.  "I know she's lonely, but I can't believe she's going out with that guy." "Well, you know what they say: any port in a storm.""

Chemo port

This idiom comes from the days before technology when boats sometimes had to pull into whatever shelter afforded them by a cove or other naturally protected area so that they wouldn't sink. My how things have changed in the nautical arena. Today, though, I don't really want to talk about actual boats, but the port that has resided in my chest for nearly three (3) years. I've not nicknamed it anything, although I have seen some creative names others have come up with. I don't know that I would ever keep it after it's removed, but I have seen that some companies will make jewelry or other keepsakes out of a port once it's removed. To each his own in this!

I remember when my first medical oncologist gave me the news that my oncotype score had come back in the high part of the gray area and he recommended chemo. Before I could start, I had to have a port inserted into my body. I had read that this device would save my veins over time and boy has it!

Recovering after having the port inserted

Those first few months after I had the port inserted, it was sore and, sometimes painful, as my body healed. I had my first chemo treated two short days after the port was placed and I slathered on the lidocaine cream and had to prepare each time someone touched it. Now, nearly three years later, I don't bother with the cream.  I have sufficient scar tissue that I don't feel much of anything, just some pressure.

Accessing my chemo port

Sometimes, when I think about there being a tube that extends from my right chest directly into my heart, it's a little freaky. I used to worry a lot more that I'd do something that would result in infection or some other negative consequence. With time and familiarity, I do understand a little more about all the precautions that are taken whenever my port is accessed and why the port accessing kits come with all kinds of special tools to ensure that pesky bacteria or germs don't sneak into my bloodstream.

Comfortable experience

I have found that me relaxing is a big part of not feeling pain with my port being accessed, that I do have a lot of power over my own experiences. Yes, where the needle is stuck and how forcefully it is inserted does make a big difference; however, how I feel about it and how my body reacts does make a difference too. I've found that doing some breathing and short meditations before my port is accessed does help with the overall experience. Another consistent part of my experience is that male nurses are much more gentle than most female nurses. If I can get a male nurse to access my port, even if they are just training, I get a much more comfortable experience.

Do you have a port? Why or why not? If so, do you have any tips/tricks you would like to share? Comment below.

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