Every week, my very good friend drives up to North Jersey from Ocean County for her chemo treatments to fight breast cancer. Last week, I had the honor of going with her. Admittedly I was nervous because I’m queasy around needles but mostly because I didn’t know what to expect of others.
The hospital in which the chemo treatment took place had a floor dedicated to the treatment. A whole floor that ran like a well oiled machine from checking in, getting your name called, taking your blood, getting a seat number, picking up warm blankets and a pillow and then your cocktail is delivered. Each and every one of the staff was friendly and upbeat. I guess there is no other choice than to be positive in a fearful place.
In true life fashion, my fears were unnecessary. The needles made me light headed, yes, but fearing the unexpected wasn’t all that scary. There were a few patients that sat in the chair next to us who had ports. (Luckily for my friend, a port isn’t necessary.) The ports remind me of something sci-fi; getting plugged up to tubes delivering your custom cocktail. The “plug” reminded me of my iPhone plug but instead of going into the wall, it was going near the patient’s heart.
The real scary thing was how many patients were there. I wonder quite often why so many people have cancer. This can go into a whole other topic but it’s important to acknowledge that treatment is more available than 10, 20, 30 years ago.
In the end, the experience is very humbling. Each patient’s diagnoses and experience is different yet there is a special connection between them like their own lingo: WBC numbers or counts, chemo brain, how many treatments are left for them, sharing after-chemo experiences. My hope is that all those people I saw today are able to walk away and live happy healthy lives.
I am so very proud of my friend for being a strong and beautiful person throughout her journey to health. She is way more beautiful without her hair because of her strength.