Up until today, all this talk about pancreas cancer, treatments, journeys, statistics, etc. has been theoretical. The ideas were abstract; they were something that will occur in the future and it was very easy to “brave” and matter of fact about what was going to happen because it was going to happen in the future. It’s one thing to wax philosophic about the what the next six weeks were going to be like with all the radiation and chemotherapy that I will experience; it is a completely different beast today, as I get ready to have my chemo port placed. A friend wrote me an Email yesterday wondering if I was particularly nervous about today. My initial thought was: “Not really” but then I began to think.
Now (if I understand it correctly), putting in the chemo port (a.k.a., a “port-a-cath”) means putting in a catheter, similar to a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter), into the upper portion of my torso. Unlike a central line, though, the chemo port lays under the skin, so it is less obvious. The purpose for both the chemo port or a PICC line is to provide easier access to my vascular system, allowing my doctors to draw blood and infuse medicine without having to stick me in the arm (for example, to put in an IV) each time. It is a very routine procedure and there is relatively little risk to me today. HOWEVER, what this does mean is that the abstract musings of the last 30 or so posts come crashing into the very concrete (wall) of reality today. Today, my pancreas cancer is just a little bit more real. Today, if nothing else, I am stepping up to the starting line of the REAL journey with this illness. Today, philosophy be damned. Today, I really do hope that what is important *IS* the journey, rather than the destination.
In recent days, I have had several folks from my old high school post comments on this blog. It was great to hear from Darrell and Jim (two people who, for all intents and purposes, I had not heard from in 20+ years). Last night, though, a very dear friend from high school left me a message. She said (paraphrasing): “While I hate that you have to take this journey, I’ll be there with you!” Kathy was one of two fellow students from Easton High School with whom I have kept in touch (Gary, my other friend, is a radio personality, turned brewmaster, turned chef — including a stint as an executive chef for the CIA for which he once had the opportunity to cook for POTUS, turned restauranteer). I am truly glad to have both along for this particular road trip (and this time we don’t have to cram into my Mom’s VW bus for hours on end)!
I will post later about how the procedure went and my very enjoyable day yesterday celebrating my younger son’s 11th birthday. Right now, however, it is time to load into the car and go to the hospital! More when I get back!