Last Thursday and Friday were a classic SNAFU in my treatment for colon cancer.
On Thursday morning I received a phone call from a woman named Mary Ann at Unity Hospital who wanted to confirm my appointment to have a mediport inserted in my chest on the following day, Friday, July 18th at noon.
A mediport is a small medical device that is inserted beneath the skin of the upper chest, just below the clavicle or collar bone.
A catheter connects the mediport to a vein. The mediport consists of a reservoir compartment (the portal) that has a silicone bubble for needle insertion (the septum).
The septum is a device that serves as a dividing point through which drugs can be injected and blood samples can be drawn many times.
The catheter runs from the portal and is surgically inserted into a vein so the chemotherapy chemical is spread throughout the body quickly and efficiently.
But when I checked my kitchen calendar, I noticed that the appointment for the mediport insertion had been carefully crossed out, line by line. There was no note explaining why, and I could not remember crossing off the appointment.
All I could think of was the possibility that I hadn’t gotten the go ahead from Dr. Teng, the surgeon who did the operation to remove the colon cancer, and I wasn’t going to see him again until 1:30 PM that afternoon.
So I really didn’t think I could go ahead and confirm an appointment to insert the mediport until I had Dr. Teng’s permission.
When I told Mary Ann that, she hesitated. So we agree that I would call the oncologist, Dr. Asbury’s office and find out what the situation was.
I called Dr. Asbury’s office and spoke to Julie, who told me that it seemed a bit early to insert the mediport, and that she would cancel the appointment with Unity, check with Dr. Asbury on when the mediport should be inserted, and then reschedule the appointment with Unity for the insertion.
When I mentioned that I had an appointment with Dr. Asbury on Tuesday June 22nd, and that I thought my chemotherapy would start at that appointment, Julie said, no.
My appointment on the 22nd was only a follow up appointment to make sure my wound had healed and that I was ready for chemotherapy.
Later that day when I spoke to my daughter, Sarah, who drives me to and from all my doctor’s appointments, she was surprised that the appointment had been changed. Sarah thought everything had been set in concrete and was ready to go.
Sure enough, Sarah was right.
Dr. Asbury was surprised and disappointed that the mediport had not been inserted under the skin on my chest. The appointment on the 22nd was supposed to be a follow-up, but he had wanted to start chemotherapy on the next Tuesday, July 29th.
Cancelling the mediport insertion had thrown a monkey wrench into the works.
He then said we had two options. We could either wait to start the chemo until after the mediport had been inserted and the wound had healed, which takes about a week and a half, or we could do the mediport insertion and the start of chemotherapy on the same day.
He said that you don’t want to do the procedure to insert the mediport and then start chemo after the anesthetic wears off, but before the wound heals. But that you can start the chemotherapy before the anesthetic wears off from the mediport insertion.
So he had his staff schedule the mediport insertion for Tuesday morning, July 29th at Unity Hospital on Long Pond Road in Greece. Then schedule my chemotherapy to start on for Tuesday afternoon, July 29th at 1:00 PM at his office in Brockport.
So Tuesday July 29th is going to be a jammed packed stressful day for me, and it’s all because I got confused about when the mediport was going to be inserted under the skin on my chest.
To Be Continued in One Mistake Led to Another (Part IX).