Last week, I came in late from a work dinner to find Harrison standing at the top of the stairs shirtless and sweating. He had been working out, something he hasn’t felt like doing in over a year. My eyes were immediately drawn to the scar on his chest where, three and half years ago, a surgeon installed a port-a-cath just under his skin. Tomorrow, that port is coming out!
Reflecting on that night when Harrison had re-gained his interest in exercise, I saw what six weeks free of toxic chemicals can do for a kid. He was back to the kid I knew B.C. (before cancer):
Full of energy, life, happiness.
He was Harrison again.
No longer is his smile forced through nausea and pain. No longer does he struggle to walk through joint pain that is almost unbearable. No longer does even standing up hurt his body. The merciless punishment of chemotherapy is over, thank God.
Now begins the long and arduous road to recovery. And like every journey it begins with a first step. That first step, for Harrison, happens tomorrow.
We will check him into the hospital at 6:00 AM for a 7:30 AM surgery. Nurses will prep him, an anesthesiologist will put him under, and the same surgeon who implanted the port will remove it.
The port which doctors used to punish his body for a quarter of his young life will finally be removed. Harrison will be free of a source of discomfort, and free from the constant threat of a deadly infection.
This surgery is an important milestone. It says, “You have entered a new phase: recovery.”
Beginning tomorrow, Harrison will no longer be a cancer patient, he will be a cancer survivor.
After three and a half years for feeling sick all day, every day, Harrison finally feels like doing the things he did before cancer. Now he can…
sleep on his stomach…
play sports without a chest protector…
not worry about breaking his port…
take tylenol for a fever rather than rush to the hospital…
Your prayers for Harrison’s surgery tomorrow are greatly appreciated. He’s not nervous at all, but his parents are.