Chemo #2

So chemo didn’t start out real well this morning.  After meeting a longtime friend for a little post-radiation coffee (for her) and pre-chemo Diet Coke (for me) and a much needed chat, we headed over to get my blood drawn.  But between the nerves from yesterday and a general ineptness at getting my blood drawn while vertical, I ended up quite dizzy and lay down on a couch in the waiting area.  Which was fine for about three minutes.  Nurses passed me with not a care in the world.  But then the arts and crafts instructor saw me and went to personally pull a nurse over to look at me.  She agreed that I needed to lie down.  Elsewhere.  So they put me in a little room with a bed, brought me some juice, and said the doctor would be in soon. 

One hour and forty-five minutes later, I tottered out into the hall in my paper gown, pink scarf barely covering the bad comb-over I was sporting today, and the nurse gasped audibly.  “Oh!” “I’ll check on the doctor right away for you, honey!”  Um, thanks.  Did we perhaps get misplaced?  I’ll never know, because this doctor, while fabulous in every (other) way, gets backed up a lot for appointments after 10.  Next time should be easier, as we were able to get an earlier appointment.

It did make us a little goofy, though, especially as we missed lunch.  Enough goofy that when we got hungry, the following exchange occurred:

WonderDaddy:  I’m going for snacks.  Do you want anything?

Me:  Yeah.  A cure for cancer.

WonderDaddy, without missing a beat:  I may be a while.

We had plenty of time to read.  I should mention the books that are working for us here, since they were only three among many that I’ve tried to pick up (including a book about young survivors, written by women diagnosed in their late 40s and 50s).

WonderDaddy likes “The Breast Cancer Husband.”  You know, if you happen to be one.  There are lots of stories in there about how husbands sometimes mess up, but usually step right up to the plate and do well as they support their wives through this thing.  Now if only WonderDaddy would finish reading the book he’s helping me review for Parent Bloggers!

Me, I’m reading “Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do” by Greg Anderson as my serious read and “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips” by Kris Carr to boost my mood and my spirits.  Filled with profiles of hip young cancer survivors and 100 tips like “Do what makes you feel better … and gives you hope,” Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips” is a nice, flippy read that goes a long way towards making young survivors feel like part of society again.  I explained it to WonderDaddy as “The book I don’t have to write.”  🙂

I had had the iPod earbuds firmly planted in my ears from the moment I stepped into the infusion unit waiting area, only to hear a couple of 90 year olds compare their husband’s cancers using zero medical knowledge and tossing around terms like “I don’t know, is Stage 1 cancer the best to have or the worst?  I think it’s better than Stage 2 cancer.  Now, that one is really bad.”  Oh yeah, just what I needed to hear, as the proud owner of a Stage IIIb/IV diagnosis.  So I moved away from them (and the Land of Puzzles) and plugged my iPod in right quick.  Nothing that a few rounds from O Brother Where Art Thou couldn’t handle!  Not to mention the Chopin, Crowded House, Dave Matthews, and all the other fine tunes that my friends have chosen for me.  (It’s official, guys.  You ARE hip.  I, however, did not even realize how un-hip I have become.  But I do throw a mean playdate, should you ever need a friend with mad playdate skillz.)

So WonderDaddy and I listened to the iPod together for a few minutes, stood up, and danced together, swaying gently with the infusion still in my arm.  With it still delivering poisionous chemicals to drive this thing out of my body, WonderDaddy held me and swayed me back and forth, as gently and with as much love as he held me on our wedding day, eight years ago.  He looked into my eyes and smiled.  I love this man.

We talked a bit about last night, as we hadn’t had a chance to catch up amidst all the hubbub.  We talked about Grandma and Pa-Pa’s arrival, and the goodies that they brought from their hometown, and we talked about how big the boys are getting, and then we talked about why I might have had such a hard day yesterday.

We remembered the moments of peace that came late last night, helping the kids chase fireflies and pushing Widget on the swing. 

Kissing Little Bear’s neck, snuggling kisses on his soft little belly.

Reading Widget bedtime stories later that night, answering his questions calmly and gently about my disappearing hair.  As an aside, Widget is very into matching.  He likes to match his cup to his shirt, for example, or his shirt to Grampa’s.  So when my scarf fell off, he touched my scalp and then touched my cheek, saying, “Mommy…same,” with a confused look.  I talked to him quietly and calmly, using the words I’d rehearsed.  “Remember I told you that Mommy’s sick?  And I’m going to the doctor to get a pinch (our word for shot)?  And then I’m going to be tired for a little while and you can come in Mama’s room and we can snuggle and read stories together?”  “Mmmm-hmmm.” “Well, it makes my hair fall out too.  But I’m still the same Mommy, right?”  He nodded seriously and then we collapsed into giggles.  And then I held him for reassurance until he magically fell asleep.  And, in all honesty, I might have calmed down and fallen asleep too.

I want to be a font of strength for my children.  Sometimes, though, their strength and innocence replenish me.

56 Responses to Chemo #2

  1. LawyerMama says:

    Ah, that WonderDaddy is a special guy.

  2. Stimey says:

    Dammit, WhyMommy, you went and made me cry. You have such a nice family.

  3. That scene in the chemo room.. that’s true romance. Sticking it out together, sticking it to the bad guys together, and loving each other in the thick of it.

    I loved reading that.

  4. Wow, you have such wonderful support from WonderDaddy. You two can beat anything!! That was a lovely post.

  5. canape says:

    And you danced.

  6. katy says:

    Shoot that made me cry a little. To have your family near and do sweet to you when you need it the most………

  7. katy says:

    Umm…what in the world was I trying to sweet to you? I meant be sweet to you…

  8. Oh, that scene with you two dancing at chemo.


    That’s a good man you’ve got, WhyMommy. Not to mention those boys.

  9. Danielle says:

    Children are magic that way. They are so much more adaptable than we are. They have healing powers. I’m glad that you danced.

  10. kgirl says:

    Of all the things you’ve written, I think the image of you dancing with your husband brought the tears to my eyes the fastest. Pretty beautiful, Whymommy.

  11. citrine says:

    What a gift you are giving Little Bear, letting him be a strong and happy one giving you love and replenishment and inspiration.

  12. Matt says:

    You are so surrounded by love. Strong, protective, disarming love. By the way, I heard cancer whimpering in the corner, “A tiara! She kicked my ass while wearing a tiara. I might have picked on the wrong one this time….”

  13. Lynn says:

    If you keep writing about mushy/sexy dancing cancer room scenes like this, you’ll have Hollywood begging for rights to a script in no time!!

  14. Aimee says:

    you do know there is now a IIIc added to the cancer staging ‘rules’? check it at on the ACS website. i think they did that for those of us who get scared shitless at the IV thing. that way we can teeter and not quite fall off the cliff. 🙂

    it sounds like you have chemo in a private room? weird. at my cancer center there’s one big community chemo room divided into several ‘quads’. it’s kinda weird that people sit across from one another in their putrid pink chemo recliners and just stare, sometimes speechless. but it’d be even weirder to be so “private” in the experience. i think i’d take openly private to private-private. but then, my husband and i can’t get that kinky during treatment because people are watching!! 😉

    if you are seperated/isolated during treatment, how do you find community among local cancer survivors? just wondering……..

  15. whymommy says:

    Oh, no, it’s not private at all. There are a dozen of us in the room with the recliners, with thin, stained curtains between us. I like to keep my curtains open, typically, but today there were just people watching TV. Loud, so we kept the curtains halfway open and just talked.

    Additionally, I have a Young Survivors Group that meets monthly for women under 40 with breast and rectal (now that’s a nasty one) cancer. I ran into a friend from the group today, but she was just finishing chemo as I was starting.

    Good question, Aimee!

  16. Weeping here, what a beautiful post, Whymommy… Leave it to you to make chemo the ultimate romantic date with your husband.

    And your descriptions of your beautiful boys– perfection.

    Children are so resilient, aren’t they? One day, when he’s a little more grown up, you will be able to offer your son more information about your experience of beating cancer… and he will look back at his memories of this time, and realize what a truly amazing woman and mother you are.

  17. Tara-Lynn says:

    Hey there….can’t remember how I linked into your blog a little while ago. Just wanted you to know that I am sending lots of prayers and good thoughts your way.

    Your strength and courage is an inspiration.

    Hugs to your family from a Momma in NS Canada.

  18. Ally says:

    You had me laughing and then crying– laughing over the “I may be a while” from your crack-up hubby, then crying because of the beauty of you love-birds dancing with a chemo drip. “For better, or for worse, in sickness and in health.” Thanks for sharing this beautiful moment with us. Love & prayers your way!

  19. Amanda says:

    Ain’t no shame in finding comfort in your child.
    Your release,
    you at peace,
    you, restored,
    it is natural, the back and forth, laughing and crying, loving and leaning, tehy don’t stop with a fighting to get better mom, they are more pronounced, and every bit as important.

    Good for you mama, good for them.

    Didja get that hug from me?

  20. Jenn says:

    I found your blog via a post on 5 minutes for mom – your story, your “cause” has me in tears – I hope you dont mind but – we here in Northern VA will be sending up a special prayer for you tonight – along with every other night, for you and your family and those wonderful friends!

    Stay strong,


  21. whymommy says:

    Thank you. I always appreciate prayers, good wishes, or just a little wink at a star. I believe it all helps. Thank you for thinking of me in this difficult time.

  22. amanda says:

    Hope today brought a little relief, a little less pain. It’s certainly one day closer to the day you’ll post about kicking this beast’s backside.

  23. Ana says:

    What an awesome man your hubby is!!! And your lil men…too precious! But you know how blessed you are. I can feel the pride reading this post.

  24. shauna says:

    The scenes you describe of you and your children are absolutely beautiful–love tangible, as is the love you and your husband share. I’m still praying for you…

  25. Binky says:

    You are surrounded by some fabulous boys.

  26. Jenster says:

    I love your husband! :o)

    I always felt like a little girl when I went to chemo because everybody else was significantly older than me. They’d chat about grandchildren and I never had much to contribute. LOL

  27. NoRegrets says:

    I find it amazing that amidst all this you take the time to go to the blogs that have linked to yours to make a comment. I appreciate your visit and am using my mental muscle to help you beat the cancer. 🙂 As for kids, as long as you are honest with them, they’ll be there for you.

  28. Jenster says:

    I’m back again. I’ve never seen even a semi-private chemo room. When I went through it getting chemo was like a party or something. There was even a volunteer who would walk around, handing out popcorn, getting coffee, etc. And there was always a lot of chatting and laughing.

    Sounds very weird, doesn’t it??

    I love the dancing. That’s so sweet. :o)

  29. Tracy says:

    What a lucky woman you are to have such a wonderful hubby & boys!!! The thought of the two of you dancing gives my heart hugs! You are one remarkable lady! Sending you strength & love!!!

  30. whymommy says:

    No Regrets — I can’t resist! Another 99 blogs have copied my ibc post or linked to it this week, and that makes me SOOOOOOOOOO happy!

  31. Emily says:

    I just linked this morning, so that makes 100.

    Let me know when he gets back to the room with that cure for cancer.

  32. maggie says:

    Lovely kids and a great husband – they are your rocks.

  33. ~JJ! says:

    So…did he find the cure for cancer?

    You have one very special family there woman!

    hard hugs…But not too hard…

  34. jtcosby says:

    What a great family you have! You are loved…by 74,318 people on the internet, wow, that is pretty nifty! HUGS FROM TENNESSEE!!!

  35. sam says:

    You made me weld up. Dancing with WhyDaddy… so sweet! Catching fireflies… so cute!

    You are so loved WhyMommy! *BIG squeeze*

  36. san says:

    Sending prayers, hugs, winks at stars, and all the healthy, positive energy I can for you.

  37. Damselfly says:

    I love the image of you and your husband dancing together…. Dancing is so good for the spirit!

  38. Dunno if you like country music or not, but reading of the beautiful dance you two shared made me think of this song by LeeAnn Womack (lyrics here:

    What a beautiful post, WhyMommy! You’re gonna beat this… I just *know* you are!

    What a beautiful moment with your son. Your boys sure are lucky to have you 🙂


  39. Kendra says:

    Your husband sounds wonderful. I bet he is a great comfort to you.

  40. ella says:

    What a wonderful family you have WhyMommy.

  41. twithhoney says:

    Go family! Sounds like they’re doing everything possible to help keep your mood up.

    And “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips”… you have GOT to share some of the tips you try and whether or not they work.

  42. Arkie Mama says:

    You and your husband — what a beautiful moment. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  43. I’m so glad that you have such a loving family. I think about you each day and admire your strength.

  44. Christy says:

    I started crying as you danced, and I continued as you and Widget shared your moment. Um WhyMommy, I don’t cry. You and your family are all amazing.

  45. JHS says:

    Oh, crap . . .I hate to cry almost more than anything else in this world. And you did it to me with the part about dancing. Wow.

  46. Jacquie says:

    WonderDaddy sounds amazing!

    One of my BFF was just dx with APL or acute promyelocytic leukemia. She started chemo yesterday.

    Cancer stink.

  47. Never doubt it–you are a fount of strength for your kids. And…that hubby of yours IS a wonderhubby.

  48. Aimee says:

    well lucky you, whymommy! i tried to start a “young survivors” group at my local cancer center, and they mumbled about funding this and that, and basically wouldn’t go for it. they say there’s a bunch of young survivors who are treated there, but u never see any, which is why i wanted to start a group. anyway, there’s a young IBC mom’s group at facebook.

    i joined, although i’m not a facebook regular.

  49. tracey says:

    That was an absolutely beautiful post. First the love of a married couple, supporting each other, and then the tender love of a toddler and mother…

    You made me weep with joy for you, that you have such wonderful people to help you beat this. Please accept my additional prayers for less fatigue, more energy, and a cure for cancer…

  50. Ruby says:

    “danced together, swaying gently with the infusion still in my arm. With it still delivering poisionous chemicals to drive this thing out of my body, WonderDaddy held me and swayed me back and forth, as gently and with as much love as he held me on our wedding day, eight years ago. He looked into my eyes and smiled.” So beautiful!

  51. Jenifer says:

    Your husband rocks!

    Your kids sound pretty darned cute too…. I love soft little belly kisses!

    I’m glad you have small moments of happiness in this extrmemly hard time…

  52. Gina says:

    It’s a miracle how children can heal our hearts and pick us up when we need it most.

    That WonderDaddy is a keeper, BTW.

  53. Lynn says:

    That is the absolute sweetest post. I know that you are afraid and I am so sorry. I don’t even know you but wish I could take away your disease. I can pray for you and I will.

  54. magnetobold says:

    You have brought me to tears. Happy tears. Sweet images of you, your husband and your little guy will be with me for a while. You and your family are amazing WhyMommy. There are not many people in this world that could share their experience with literally millions of people the way you have. You are in my thoughts often. Thankyou for your wonderful inspirational blog.
    in windy cold Australia

  55. Andrea says:

    I’m really liking WonderDaddy after this post. His quip about the cancer cure was so quick witted and his dancing with you during your infusion just melted my heart. Then, your little Widget, what a bright and perfect little boy.

    I wish you well.

  56. […] For tonight was our night, and we would spend it together as the people we were once, as Sam and Chris*, not as the Mommy and Daddy we had become. It had been a long time since we’d shed those identities, just for a night, and gone out to play somewhere that wasn’t childproofed, kidsafe, and a delight for the under-five set. But we had decided that tonight was the night, and so off we went, to have a lovely last night together before chemo. […]

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