I wasn’t going to write this. It was Chemo Day for Patty this past Tuesday, and all day I thought about what I would write if I did write. And then there was that moment when I decided I wouldn’t write it. Couldn’t write it. I drove home knowing: I am not writing this. Nope. Not gonna write it.
And then this morning I thought that maybe I would…
Every time we hopped into the car that day the same song was playing on the radio…when we picked up Patty at 7:15am…when we got back into the car after her blood draw and her appointment at 11:10am…when we got in the car to drive her home from Chemo Dose #47 at 5:30pm. Every time.
Ed Sheeran sang to us every time; “I’m in love with the shape of you” played on the radio. Every time. A little shoutout to the guy who loved us the whole day. Thanks Ed. Keep being you. We like the shape of you too. We’re fifty-something women but we like the shape of you too…
Patty resumed chemo on February 7th. And two weeks later, Tuesday, Patti and I went with her to her second dose of a twelve dose every-other-week regimen.
She began throwing up the night BEFORE.
Patti and I picked up coffees for ourselves at Starbucks and then picked up Patty at her house early that morning. Patty couldn’t eat or drink anything and hadn’t since the night before…we put Patty’s seat back and Patti sat behind her and rubbed her temples and her head. This is a Sixtahs tradition…scalp massages for Patty. I’m convinced she puts up with us because we are really good at scalp massages. Plus we’re pretty.
We talked all the way up to Moffitt Cancer Center but our Patty was unusually quiet. Not her usual self. We walked the halls, and she got her blood drawn. She met with her physician assistant.
She threw up again.
We made our way to the Chemo Infusion Center on the other side of town. We were led to a room with about twelve curtained areas that have two or three chairs plus the recliner used by the chemo recipients. We waited to meet our nurse in our very own curtained area.
She threw up again.
And we rubbed her back and she gasped, “I can’t…..Tell her “I can’t.”
Dead silence. I was terrified.
I was filled with fear.
The nurse came, and she and Patty worked through it. Patty got some additional medications prior to the chemo drug which seemed to help. And Patty did. She got that dose. She did.
She dozed for the better part of five hours as we rubbed her head and her hands and her feet. The chemo drug dripped and dripped and dripped…We adjusted her blanket over and over again. We whispered to one another and changed positions. We love the shape of her.
We drove her home after an eleven hour day, and she had a small fanny pack around her waist holding the remaining chemo drug that would drip into her slowly over the next two days…she slept. Patti rubbed her head.
I dropped them both off when we got back to town and let the tears flow…
Why cry? Why be afraid? Patty Can.
For two days I texted Patty from time to time like so many must have…
And she barely responded…those first two days are not fun. And now she’s BACK. She texted this morning, “It’s a good day.” The good days are the reward for toughing out the chemo.
And what room is there for fear?
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
“I want to be where the happy people are.”
Ed Sheeran’s song “I’m in love with the shape of you.”