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[Cancer]

[cancer] Paging Baron Harkonnen to the operating theatre

Spoke today with the scheduler then the surgery nurse regarding the upcoming port implant surgery. We now have a date and plan.

The port is very helpful in following the chemo course, because it is effectively a permanent IV line. They install a catheter in my subclavian artery, with a port just beneath the skin below my collarbone. A special needle allows penetration of the skin and the port membrane for blood draws and IV infusions. I like to think of this as a Harkonnen heart plug, and consider it the next step toward my eventual instantiation as a cyborg.

I will be having the surgery as Day Surgery on Wednesday, 12/16. The usual rules apply — no aspirin or blood thinners effective immediately, NPO after midnight before the surgery, show up clean and dry with no makeup, etc. Exact timing will be unknown until Tuesday 12/15, when they will call me, but I assume from what was said that we’ll shoot for the morning.

Surgery should last a couple of hours, followed by time in the recovery room until I’m well enough to be driven home. They’ll be cutting into my neck and chest, implanting the port beneath my clavicle (hopefully on the right side), then sewing me back up. I can expect to be back to normal activity within 24 hours, reportedly, though some people do simply walk away from this.

In other news, I was at the physical therapist today for an assessment of the damage to my left rotator cuff arising from the stresses of the thoracic surgery. The physical therapist was very concerned that we not push too much on the healing skin of the incision, so I’m largely staying away from load bearing work in favor of passive manipulations and simple stretches. Looks like I’ve lost a fair amount of ground, but I’m not back to zero, and we’re going to be careful not to aggravate the healing tissues. She’d also like to do “scar massage”, which is apparently intended to help flexibility and tone of scars.

Because as you know, one can never have enough surgery…

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