It was my second last port flush today! I can’t wait to get it taken out. It’s been a great help, but now I am more than ready to part company. In terms of preparing for chemo, getting the port-a-cath was one of the best decisions I could have made. My beautiful oncologist said it would be the first thing he would do if he ever needed chemo. And so it was an easy decision to make. I remember thinking, ‘if I’m actually going to do this chemo, I’m going to do it the best way I can to look after me’. So I jumped in boots and all. An extra operation, yes, (and I remember wishing they’d leave my other breast alone!), but it certainly saved me the stress of having to insert needles in small veins every cycle. And it protected my veins for the long haul too. Under no circumstances was I going to let my arm veins be destroyed, after all I figured they’d be useful for the many years to come. In my own way, getting a port was my declaration to the universe that I intend to be around for a long time. And it sent a very definite message to my subconscious that there would be life after cancer. Isn’t it interesting to stop and think about the messages we send ourselves.

So when it comes out, it will be like getting another part of myself back, allowing me to get on with the simple joy of living. And I feel my body anticipating the sigh of relief. I’ll be able to distance myself just that little bit more from the whole experience. And that’s part of the recovery, isn’t it. Just getting on with life as normal. Getting use to what ‘normal’ is again. At the moment the port’s a bit like an anchor. With a port, I’m physically tied to six-weekly visits to the chemo suite to get it flushed. Getting it out, will give me my freedom. And I’m so happy to be free.

For the same reason, I don’t really associate myself with the word ‘survivor’. I know many people feel comfortable using this term, but I don’t relate to it. Considering myself a ‘survivor’ seems to again anchor me to this period of my life, but psychologically this time. And I really don’t want to be anchored. I feel I’m so much more than just a survivor. After all, if I stopped to think about it, I’m a birth survivor, a child divorce survivor and a survivor of a single sex selective high school (you can tell I loved it!) too. And yes, I guess now, a cancer survivor in some people’s language. But they’re all just experiences, aren’t they. And it’s only when we resist them and let them define us that we give them power over us. I’d rather look back on it as just another part of my life. Another experience. And I can honestly say, an experience that has enriched my life in so many ways. Everything we experience in life makes us who we are. And it can be a magnificent kaleidoscope when we give ourselves permission to see it that way…

A multi-colored view of a kaleidoscope