Today was another 3-month checkup with Dr. Oncologist. I don't exactly dread these visits because I love Dr. Oncologist and it feels good knowing that she is still keeping an eye on me. But it is not with a still heart and dry palms that I sit in my gown waiting for her to enter the exam room.
We engaged in the usual updates--my throat, the kids, my chest, the husband, my lungs, the job. Then she made an usual statement of fact, "It's been almost three years, you know." Almost three years since my diagnosis, almost two years since the end of treatments. Yes I know this. Of course I know this. These dates are forever burned into my mind. But for her to state that she also knows this was a departure from her usual style. She wastes breath on neither obvious nor ambiguous statements, and this particular phrase qualified as both. Then she volunteered what I have been waiting almost two years for her to declare,
"I think we should get that port taken out."
The bells are ringing! The birds are singing! YES we should get this port removed! NO we will never be using it again! YES I am free in September! NO I don't want any of the other surgeons except for Dr. Surgeon! YES 1pm on September 9th will work! NO I don't need an appointment reminder card because you have just created for me another date that will live in me forever!
I do not mean to diminish the significance of all of the beautiful things that the port symbolizes, such as my Survival. What I mean is that removal of the port will symbolize the end of cancer treatment. Its absolute completion. My cancer could not be treated without a port, so if I no longer have a port then it must be accepted that I no longer have cancer.
I don't have cancer.
I won't have a port.
I love life.
I am delighted to live it some more.