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.