Just before I had my port removed from underneath the skin on my chest after a year and a half of cancer-drug infusions, I asked the surgeon if I could keep it after he plucked it from my body. I did not want it because I am a collector of gross medical relics; I just wanted to add it to my box of breast cancer items so that I could share it with others headed for a port procedure. “Look, this is a port,” I would say. “This is how it works.” I practiced this same routine with my baggie of lost hair, my wigs, my lymphedema sleeve. It helps prepare people; it sometimes minimizes fear.
The surgeon told me I could not keep my port. My sedation was kicking in, and I did not have it in me to argue.
Yesterday, a different surgeon removed a stent from my ureter. He had placed it there 3 days earlier during kidney stone surgery. The stent helps with healing and allows urine and stone fragments to pass freely. It is a painful little bugger, and I was thrilled that the doctor yanked it out.
“Do you want to keep it?” the nurse asked me.
“Hmmm, I wasn’t allowed to keep my port,” I said.
“Why? my doctor asked. “You paid for it.”
I do not know why I was not permitted to take my port home, but I am now the proud owner of a ureter stent. See photo. If you ever must get one, this is how it looks. Don’t be scared. It does cause discomfort, but only for 3 days. And after those days, man, you will feel like a million bucks. Like I do.