April 5, 2014
To be honest, I was a bundle of nerves going into Mom's chemo appointment. I was worried that it was going to make her feel so much worse than she already did. I was worried that it was going to deplete her energy when she needs it the more than ever to battle this.
The cancer patient is allowed one visitor at a time to sit with them, while they are receiving chemo. Dad and I were going to take turns back and forth. Dad went first because mom wanted him there while she got the IV put in. It took the nurses one hour to get the IV in. Apparently mom isn't too veiny. She would have made a horrible heroin addict. I cracked open my book and glanced up every now and then as discreetly as possible at the people sharing the waiting room with me, most of them cancer patients. I saw women younger than me without any hair, older women, swapping stories and laughing about various doctor appointments. I saw older men swapping iphone tips, making me smile. I was tremendously moved by the people around me. They were so courageous, and had so much dignity. I began to wonder how many people we walk by in our day to day lives are battling cancer. I also realized how many people could really learn a thing or two from seeing these people, facing life's biggest struggle, with such a positive attitude, when we complain about so many stupid little things in life that really aren't important in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, your health is everything.
When it was my turn to go in, I went to find mom's spot in the chemo room. The space was divided into various nurses's station, with each nurse having four recliners in her section for patients to sit and receive their chemo IV drip. I saw older women, showing the nurses photos of their grandchildren, people holding hands with their visitor, people going through their treatment alone. The nurses were outstanding: positive, upbeat - the perfect disposition for people who really need it most. After four hours of chatting, and mom drifting in and out of sleep (might have been my stories) - we were ready to go home. It is imperative that chemo patients check their temperatures frequently to see if they are reacting to their treatment and if so, to go to emergency right away, where they show a card and immediately jump the line up because your body could go septic. Upon hearing this, I was afraid of how mom's body would respond. But during her first night post treatment, she slept well, and woke up without nausea, so I am over the moon. This is really a process to be taken one day at a time, but then again, so is life, right? xoxo