Wednesday, 19 October 2011


8:00 a.m.

I pack the following: The Big Book of Cancer, handouts now sorted into an accordion file, a container of yogurt with raspberries and blueberries, soda crackers, my kindle, a lined writing pad, a paperback – Possible Side Effects, which is not about medication, a pair of slippers and three prescription bottles containing anti-nausea drugs.

9:00 a.m.

I’ve showered and shaved my legs with a regular razor for the last time. Once I’ve had chemo, I have to use an electric razor for the few weeks in-between now and losing my hair. I put on lipstick and blush and dress in cotton knit pants & camisole and a loose rayon knit jacket. I’m hoping that this will be a comfortable outfit to sit in for five hours. I check the bag for the third or fourth time to make sure everything is there. I eat a bowl of cereal and fruit. I brush my teeth again. It’s 9:15 and I have an hour and 15 minutes to wait.

I hate first days. First days at school. First days at a new job. And surely the first day of chemotherapy. Once I know a routine, even if I hate it, I become reasonably stoic. I hate  having to ask questions, trying to cooperate when I don’t have the faintest idea how to cooperate and generally I hate being the stupid new kid.

I’m scared. Scared of the IV because my veins are miniscule. Scared of how it will feel to have poison injected into my veins. Scared I’ll throw up, scared it will hurt, scared of the side effects. Scared I’ll cry.

Some people go through treatment without suffering all the side effects. I say a prayer, hoping something, some force in the universe is listening.

Oh Lord, let me be one of the lucky few who doesn’t have all the side effects. And if I’m not, help me be brave.


Pat Barber said...

Chemo affects everyone differently. No way to know how, or if, it will affect you until you dive in and find out. No matter what, focus on relaxing with it and "going with the flow" as much as possible. It will only wear you out to be anxious or to fight it - and you'll need all the energy you can muster, can't afford to expend it on nervousness and fear or fight. One last bit of tidbit: most medical and scientific types will tell you that all those less-than-desirable physical reactions to chemo are actually a good and welcomed thing. It's a sign the chemo is working! Lack of those signs is, in fact, a bit worrisome. The best we can hope for is that the effects are minimal and that your spirit and your body are well able to tolerate them and ride out the storm.

Roberta said...

I am thinking about you. Good luck today.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

Sending thoughts of peace and comfort your way - from another who hates being the new girl.