What room is there for fear?


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?



Blog Notes:


“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.”

—Nelson Mandela


“I want to be where the happy people are.”

—Patty Virgilio


Ed Sheeran’s song “I’m in love with the shape of you.”




16 Comments Add yours

  1. Suki Janisch says:

    Thanks for painting another portrait of courage with your wonderful words Julie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thx SJ. She is amazing. Xo


  2. Maureen says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all! What good friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan Johnson says:

    Your writing is unbelievable!! Everytime I read your posts I feel like I’m there with you and can visualize everything! You all are so lucky to have each other!! Patty’s courage and love for life inspire all of us…💕🙏😎🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s something else, isn’t she? ❤ thx SJ


  4. kinder201617 says:

    Thank you Juli for helping us all know what just one day of chemo is like for Patty. You all are such a blessing to Patty and to us.❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Condron says:

    I wish I had your talent with words, Julie, so that I could tell you how much this post has given me on this beautiful morning. Thinking of your fear doesn’t take away from the beauty, but makes it more rich and more real. My love is reaching out to you and to Patty.


    1. Feeling your love, thx Mary! ❤


  6. Pqt says:

    Thank you, Julie. These words seem small relative to your beautiful writings, but thank you. You chronicled with heart our chemo day aka “spa day” with our courageous leader, Patty. Being with her any day is a gift, and I’m looking forward to hundreds more days with our Patty! Love you Sixtahs & Patty’s fans❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Phyllis says:

    Julie, I can’t find words to thank you for your words…so all I can say is thank you. You do such a wonderful job and it makes me feel so much a part of Patty’s life and how lucky she is to have such wonderful friends. She is a miracle…a real trooper…like no one I’ve known in my many years working with cancer patients. Her zeal for life…her will to live…her bucket is not empty!!! My love for her and her family is endless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad to have you along, thx phyllis!


  8. Erin Brauner says:

    Julie your blog is so heartfelt and encouraging. Patty is blessed beyond measure by your friendship!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tdiamant says:

    I’m glad you did write it. I laughed and cried and felt the fear. Beautifully written, Julie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It writes itself my friend…every precious word! So much fun we have together!


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