31 Days of CF: A Port Implant Gave Me the Push I Needed
Day 24 of 31
This is Della Anne’s story:
Ports are a common accessory if you have cystic fibrosis. After most of the veins in my arms had been used up from Picc (peripherally inserted central catheter) lines, my doctor and I decided it was time for me to get a port. Once I found out that it wouldn’t get in the way of my daily life and ballroom dancing, I was as ready to go as anyone can be for a medical implant.
It took me a while to get used to having a big bump on my “shoulboob” (my made-up medical term for the area between the shoulder and the breast). I often had to adjust seatbelt straps and some clothing since it would sometimes feel weird to have something resting on top of it.
But the port ended up being a lifesaver. No more traumatizing digging into my arms with needles looking for veins, and being able to quickly access IVs at home meant getting back to normal life quicker.
Unfortunately, my port got infected with MRSA last year so we had to remove it. Even though I have been healthier due to different treatments, medications, and hard work, I was scared to lose it. I realized that even when I wasn’t using it, it was comforting to have it ready to go.
I looked at my port as a security blanket, something I always kept close to my heart (literally). It was also something that bonded me with others who had ports. Having that instant connection with someone else living with a disease brought a sense of belonging that is sometimes missing in the world of illnesses.
I just passed the one-year anniversary of getting my port removed. I still find myself awkwardly rubbing my shoulboob as if it’s still there and trying to make awkward small talk with people who have ports.
Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll have to get another one put in, and if that day comes, I’ll choose to be grateful for it again. But for now, I’m enjoying the freedom of being able to live a life without that security blanket.
Cystic Fibrosis News Today’s 31 Days of CF campaign will publish one story per day for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in May. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofCF, or go here to see the full series.