Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Another Monday and Another Day of Chemo Fog

I usually begin writing my blog during my chemo-magic-joy juice cancer schmantzer treatment, but yesterday I wrote a bunch of lame gibberish because I could not come up with a post that made any sense. So instead I decided to write some of my random thoughts.

Here are some of the random topics that I thought about yesterday:

-Random thought #1: As I have said numerous times since I started writing this blog, while cancer may change how you deal with circumstances you cannot control, cancer does not change who you are or how you deal with other people.

Yesterday as I was waiting in the long line of people waiting to have their lab tests, a woman who was standing next to me was obviously terrified because she was apparently new to this rodeo. We talked for a while, and I tried to reassure her that the nurses were incredibly kind, and that once she got used to the drill, the whole experience became less of an ordeal. How my life has changed since I began this odyssey! I was that woman; I remember my first chemo day. Not knowing what to expect, we decided to prepare for everything: a list of questions, my laptop computer, a book, gloves if my hands got cold, my Minion blanket, nose spray for stuffiness, lip balm, lots of treats because who knew what I would feel like eating, and lots of nerves. My how far I've come in this trek: now I take my laptop, a few snacks, lots of patience, and most importantly, my anti-nausea pills.

After that as we were waiting to be called back to see the nurse practitioner, a man sitting across  from us started up a conversation about the truck crash that we had seen as we were getting close to the hospital. He then launched into a diatribe about people using cell phones. However, when he started talking about ladies with cell phones, he got crankier and crankier, and I just smiled, tried to be polite, and did an internal eye roll.

When I walked back to get my infusion, there was an older gentleman using a walker with wheels. He was wearing a silly Halloween hat that lit up, and that made me (and everyone else) smile as he jauntily scooted his way back to the infusion area.

As I watched these 3 different people, I once again became aware of how versatile and caring the nurses are as they deal with numerous patients who have different and wildly varying personalities, different cancers, and different needs. Since most patients have several different chemo drugs administered during the treatment, the monitoring of the different chemo treatments is critical; if one nurse is dealing with Patient A and the timer for Patient B goes off, another nurse will step in to make sure that patient is cared for in a timely manner. Their team work makes them a pretty well oiled and caring team.

--Random thought #2:
During the past couple of weeks I have run into a number of my former students (from the Class of 81 through the Class of 97). Interestingly enough, most of them asked me what is really going on in public education—and without my prompting, most of them had concluded that the bottom line was about one money making scheme or another.

All of them were pretty typical students when they were in school, but the one thing that came through with all of them was the importance of the relationships that they built while they were in school. The other thing that came through was the value of neighborhood schools.  Interestingly enough, since politicians have taken control, the focus is never on the importance of relationships to learning and to growing up but rather on test scores and other dubious methods of measuring what is important.

--Random thought #3
When I was struggling to write this yesterday, one of my friends said, “Why don’t you write a love letter to the Cubs?” I thought about this for a while, and then it occurred to me that I would rather write a love letter to all of the people and things in my life for which I am grateful. However, I decided to save that letter until I finish my chemo treatments, and that will truly be my love letter to the world.

--Random thought (and quote--just because I like it) #4


  1. "...yesterday I wrote a bunch of lame gibberish because I could not come up with a post that made any sense."

    I understand why you, as a former English teacher, would not want to post anything that didn't make sense. However, sometimes a little nonsensical gibberish is good for the soul. I often follow nonsense to see where it takes me.

    "A little nonsense now and then,
    Is relished by the wisest men."
    – Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

    1. Thanks, Stu. I always appreciate your insight.

  2. Nurses are extremely hardworking and caring. I experienced that when my first son was born 10.5 weeks premature and we spent 53 days in the hospital. They were the bright spots during that ordeal.

  3. Since my cancer schmantzer odyssey started last spring, I have come to appreciate nurses more than ever before.