Chemo Rookies

Chemo 1

Day one...

Well today was the day. A one and only first day of chemotherapy for Cindy. Now don't get me wrong, there will be more days of chemo than either of us will want to see. But there will never be another first day. After today, we won't be rookies again. 

We entered Overlake Hospital's Oncology department and were welcomed by two cheerful RN's who showed us around and invited us to choose from any of the 12 to 15 leather recliners that border the circumference of the brightly lit room. Each of the cushy oversized chairs was paired with a much less comfortable staight-back folding chair. Clearly, the "chemo-buddy" isn't the person that anyone cares about making comfortable. 

We chose a corner location and arranged our personal items - books, electronics, and snacks - just as we would if we were preparing for a television marathon at home. Before long, Cindy's doctor stopped by for a short visit and the nurses got busy hooking Cindy up to drip bags and monitors. 

As the minutes ticked away, and the drugs that are intended to kick cancers butt entered a port in Cindy's body, more and more of the recliner chairs began to fill up. I found myself paying attention to how "normal" everyone looked.  There was the pretty young woman whose short hair was carefully covered by a baseball cap, the businessman, an fragile old woman, the talkative widower, a grandma, a middle-aged homemaker, and the thirty-something buff athlete. They came, hooked up, read magazines, took naps, and visited with their chemo-buddies. And then they left. 

Everyone who sat in the cushy recliners seemed to know their routines well. Some pre-empted their nausea by sipping a flat Coke. Some chose warm blankets for their laps. And others joked and shared pictures with the oncology staff. Everyone knew where the stash of individually-wrapped Life Savers is kept and some remembered the old days when freshly baked cookies were the sought after treats. Regardless of how they spent their time they all had something in common. Everyone was being treated for cancer. Cancer hides it's ugly face in the bodies of "normal" looking people. 

Cindy and I were one of the first to arrive and nearly the last to leave. We had a very full day and we'll be going back for more tomorrow. We are a long way from being veterans but our first day is behind us. Tomorrow we'll choose a chair, grab a blanket, and say hello to the staff who before long won't be strangers anymore. 

Note: Cindy did well today. The well wishes and prayers from our friends and family were being felt... and the side affects of the chemo weren't She experience just a few moments of  temporary discomfort and enjoyed several short naps throughout the process. We're off to a good start.

Add A New Comment

  • Jeff Hora
    Aug. 5, 2013
    Rod & Cindy:
    This cannot be easy, but it can be endured with grace, good humor, perseverance, and immersion in the prayers and deepest wishes of all those who know you.
    Peace to you both.
  • Kate
    Aug. 2, 2013
    Keep praying and laughing, that's what you do best...

The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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