I snapped this picture last Saturday, while Joe and I waited for a table at our favorite breakfast spot. He wears his chemo at home for 2 days. It’s basically a tube in his port (***a port is this weird thing under his skin up by his collarbone and a needle is in his vein, it’s bizarre***) it then wraps down to his fashionable fanny pack and pumps the chemo meds into him for a few days.
Joe is funny about his fanny pack. Sometimes he pulls the tubes out a little further so people know there’s something going on and he isn’t really wearing a fanny pack. It’s also difficult for him to pick a shirt that will cover up the tubes and tape up against his chest.
This was a good day because Joe felt well enough to go out and get some food. Chemo is weird like that because you just never know how it’s going to affect the body. It’s hard to plan ahead too much because you don’t want to be disappointed if he feels bad and we have to cancel.
I mean, we are pumping toxic poison in to kill the cancer cells, so I shouldn’t be so hard on him when he wants to sleep all day but sometimes it’s lame.
I said it. Cancer is lame.
Before the fanny pack, we stay at Hotel Chemo. The rooms are lavish and the cocktails are stiff, just the way we like it. This is a picture of Joe after too many shots of benadryl and Oxylaplatin on the rocks.
I sit with him at Hotel Chemo. Sipping coffee and checking out the baked goods from the old lady volunteers. They bake the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. There’s also live music. A guitar player serenades the guests as they drift off to sleep. There’s even arts and crafts! I’ve made ornaments out of paper clips and painted a tree. Hotel chemo is pretty nice, though I hope not to have to redeem my hotel points here again.
We decided in the beginning that cancer and chemo would not rule our lives. So we try and make every other Thursday not so dreadful but more like a date.
We wake up early and always feel super in love. I pack our reading supplies and cell phone chargers. We swing though Starbucks and stop to give the homeless man on the corner whatever change we have.
We’ve both been doing more of that since cancer. There’s something about being down and out that makes you recognize all those around you who are down and out. Maybe that man on the corner got cancer? Maybe he lost his job. Maybe his wife left him. Maybe he’s living on a pathetic disability salary and can’t afford to eat. Maybe he drinks because he’s scared. And just maybe our $2 will be the highlight of his day. We won’t miss it and it could make someone’s day. Seems simple, doesn’t it?
It’s also about putting good energy into the world. It just makes you feel good, giving is a good medicine.
We hold hands all the way into chemo and make jokes all morning long. We wonder when people see us which one they think has cancer. We think most people think we are there to visit someone else. We guess who around us might have cancer. Sometimes we wonder why people aren’t nicer to us, “Don’t you know we have cancer!!!”
Sometimes you don’t have to guess though. It’s right in front of you. Old men wheeled out of the hospital by their children. Women’s heads wrapped in decorative scarves. Sometimes cancer is scary and when we see that we hold hands a little tighter.