Happy belated St. Paddy's Day to all of you wearers of the green. We received big news yesterday. Erin will have surgery next Wednesday (3/22) to remove her PortaCath. She had this device placed in her chest, below her left shoulder late last April, so she could have monthly IV chemo through it. While having a needle stuck in her chest wasn't her first choice, it beat having a fresh IV started every day during treatment. Erin hasn't used her port since the week before Christmas, except (and here's one reason why she having it removed) that it has to be accessed and flushed once a month when she's not using it to keep it clear and functioning. Another factor is, that as long as she has a mechanical device installed, she has to be very wary of fevers. A fever buys a three-day stay in the hospital, because of the risk of infection. We have been lucky on this one (except for last May), but removing the port will also remove that particular worry from our plate.
We have no idea how long Erin will be able to go without a port. Currently, she takes her chemo by mouth and can do weekly blood counts with a finger stick. Even when she needs to have IV access for scans, she prefers a temporary line in her hand or arm. The neuroblastoma could rev up and get more aggressive, which would mean a trip back to the surgery for re-installation, so we could pursue more aggressive treatment. Still, Erin's doctor and I think the oral etoposide will hold her long enough to make this decision worthwhile.
Spring break is drawing to a close for all of us. Although we didn't go on any backpacking adventures, skiing holidays, or cruises, we managed to have a good time. I hope you did the same.
For all you can collectors: Erin and her class will continue to collect cans through most of April, so let me know if you have some to contribute.