The other week, Friday, June 21, 2019, I got a portocath implant inserted, and it is heckin great. It makes getting chemo so much easier, and life overall more comfortable.
Why yes, I did wear a Black Label Society shirt for the occasion. My co-workers got me a beautiful care package with the world's softest blanket that I snuggled under during the drive.
Here's a view of the surgical site a week later. The redness is from a bandaid I had covering it earlier; the redness faded quickly. It does not hurt at all.
My surgeon and anesthesiologist did a fantastic job, and I was thrilled with the excellent care I received from the entire surgical team at St Luke's Meridian. I was out of surgery in 20 minutes, and Joe was able to be in the recovery room with me. Fun but perhaps not surprising fact: I get the giggles from anesthesia.
At first, I was thinking of naming the port after something from Mad Max: Fury Road, like the way War Boy Nux named his tumors Larry and Barry.
Mad Max is amazing, but wasn't the exact sort of pathos I was aiming for.
But I felt like that might be more appropriate for the tumors themselves. The port is designed to help make me better; it's a bit sci-fi, is all. And what makes my philosophical existence better than Frank Herbert's Dune? Pairing those books with David Lynch's Dune!
Here, the Reverend Mother holds a Gom Jabbar to Paul Atreides' throat while he puts his hand in a box to undergo a test.
Of all the Dune inspired words I could use to name the port, I opted for Gom Jabbar, pictured below.
A closer view of the Gom Jabbar
It is a poison-filled needle the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim used when testing Paul Atreides. She held the needle to his neck as a deterrent for him to not back out of the test. The test determines whether awareness is stronger than instinct.
I would love to collect all the activity books from the movie. #nerds
His hand is in a box that causes the illusion of terrible agony, but it's a test he must endure. The box itself causes fear, the Gom Jabbar, if not heeded will cause his death at the hands of the Reverend Mother.
If the subject's awareness of the gom jabbar's presence was strong enough, it would override their instincts to withdraw from the test. In this scene, Paul relied on the litany against fear, taught to him by his Bene Gesserit mother, Lady Jessica. The Bene Gesserit use it to focus their minds and calm themselves in times of peril. The litany is as follows:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
My port, Gom Jabbar, at work.
It seemed to me quite fitting that a device designed to get you to do something you don't necessarily want to do is a good name for the port. Not doing the chemo is akin to leaning into the poison needle.Chemo is necessary, but unpleasant, yet it will pass through me, and someday, only I will remain.