This past Thursday I had to make a visit to my Oncologist for labs and a routine port flush. Yes I have and will have a port located in my chest until the doctor says it okay to take it out. When I first finished my treatments I was really anxious to take it out, but in his medical wisdom he persuaded me that was not the thing to do for now. Admittedly I still look forward to the day when it is no longer there. It doesn’t hurt and it’s not really a bother but it is a reminder. It is kinda like a scar. No more pain but there is a memory of a situation you would like to forget.
I have chosen to think of my port differently. Each time I run my finger over that area of my chest I like to think of it as a reminder of God’s grace. The fact that I am still here and that cancer did not take my life is a good thing. I am thankful that I still get to be here, to spend time enjoying my family and friends. In His grace I still get to do ministry, encourage people, and hopefully reflect some glory back to God for all the great things He has done.
But last Thursday was a little different. I went in for labs as usual, really no big deal. Next it was time to flush the port, again no big deal, except this time it was a little different. On every other visit the procedure had been done in one of the exam rooms by the same nurse/tech. Thursday the lab tech directed me to go to the treatment room and one of the nurses would flush the port for me. So I go back to the treatment room, the same room where I had received all of my chemo treatments. I sat in the chair, the same chair that I occupied every twenty-one days for six months last year. One of my nurses flushed the port, one of the same nurses who last year sat by my side and carefully pushed “the red devil” into my body. But this time something was different.
There was an uninvited guest in the room. At first this guest didn’t speak but just sat there for the few minutes I was in the treatment room. Finally when he spoke, he was not loud, certainly did not shout, in fact I am pretty sure he went un-noticed by every one but me. And to me he just whispered his name. Fear.
I guess that once you’re a cancer survivor you know he can show up at any time, but on Thursday he just caught me off guard. I asked him to leave quickly but he was a little resistant. In fact he was more than just a little resistant. I found him to be a formidable foe. He wanted to hang around and I had to get really firm about getting him out of my head and heart. I kept insisting he was not a friend, was uninvited, and had to leave. It took him a while to gather his junk but he finally left but with the hint he would be back. Maybe next time I will stop him at the door before he ever gets in. I hope so.