Purple Chemo Day
Today was a really, really fun day in the Chemo Room. That sounds weird, right?
The combination of people in the Chemo Room today was an eclectic mix:
A newbie came in for her first treatment, ever. She wore her brave smile and her husband on her arm when she came in, and she left with an armful of goodies and some new friendships. I like to think it was a good day for her, and I’m pretty sure it was.
A Stage IV friend got less-than-perfect scan results, which is scary and tear-inducing. Instead of her anticipated celebratory toast, she is launching into the next whirlwind of appointments to get to the next treatment plan while trying to wrap her mind about the truth and the implications. I was proud of her today, as she had settled into the positive vein of perseverance, hope, faith, and optimism within two hours of getting the news. She turned to God and goodness in the face of her challenge.
A new-to-Stage-IV was in for her first Stage IV treatment: she’s going through all the emotions I went through in November. It wasn’t coincidence that she sat down in the chair next to me today. She held her bag of goodies close as she left and thanked me for sharing with her. Friendship replaced some of her fear today–a win, for sure.
The nurses and staff are part of the group too. They wear many hats and spend as much energy educating, cheering, and hand-holding as they do administering meds and doing their “real” jobs. One of the nurses brought in a rainbow cookie cake today in honor of the Monday’s Rainbow Team. How cool is that?
Three of us finished our “tough” drugs today, and all three of us will continue on our biological drugs every three weeks. There are several other ladies who are not quite on the exact same regimen, but they are on the three week cycle, so we have quite a rally circle formed over these past sixteen weeks. It’s rare to have a consistent group like that, and we are really enjoying the deepening friendships and bonds that form over the armrests of the recliners in the Chemo Room. I dripped slowly today because I was standing (gravity aids the drip speed–standing makes you drip slower) so much talking to my friends.
Visitors: husbands, daughters, sisters, friends, moms, sons. They come in and out of the Chemo Room, bringing snacks, offering smiles, sitting on little wheelie stools at the feet of the patients lounging in recliners, and being — literally — the shoulders to lean on.
Today I had two friends and the Rozzinator visit: they brought food and gifts not only for me, but for all of the patients and visitors in the Chemo Room. I am certain that we created an elaborate party scene–one that enhanced the Chemo experience of every single person in the office today. Like I said, it was fun. My people are fun-makers, and I do love that about my people!
Although Mondays are probably the busiest and craziest days for the nurses during the week (Dr. Wonderful is so wonderful he is always over-booked), I’m hopeful that they see the Monday vibe as special and energizing as well. We are a happy, grateful, cheerful crowd, and I’m proud to be one of us. Being part of chemo patient tribe was never something that I wanted to be part of, but now it is woven into me and seems vital to Doing Today Well.
As cancer patients, we share the bond of facing devastation and rising to face it. We live the rest of our days forever changed by the doctors, the nurses, the treatment, the scares, the relief, the hope, the fear, the tears and the laughter. We are a tribe focused on hope, and we look deep into one another to reinforce our resolve.
I have another tribe of people who consistently elevate me and bless me with gifts, comments, words, trips, experiences, emails, friendship, laughter, energy, food, time, and love. It is quite amazing to be on this side of all that goodness. One blog commenter shared the following verse today and I felt it encapsulated all of the things I was thinking about today and the many ways that God works. It is amazing to me how God can work through the ugliest of ugly: cancer, and make beautiful things come to be. And today was indeed beautiful. Thank you.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. — Isaiah 40:29