Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Perhaps appropriate because tomorrow is my second session with The Drugs(TM), let's talk about chemotherapy.

Cancer, for what it is, is a different beast for everybody that's lucky enough to get it. Some people are sick for months (if not longer) before realizing that they should get it checked out while others have no idea that something's wrong until they get a routine physical; and these two people could have the exact same type of problem. So, too, is it with chemo. There are folks out there that are sick for the entirety of their treatment, and then cats that feel like the dirt under a New York taxi cab for about three or four days and then are totally fine. I'm guessing that the former in the previous example are the ones that have to go through chemo once a week (or more, God bless 'em). I'm very lucky in that I get Frankensteined to those machines every other week and not more.

But the treatment itself is probably the furthest from a happy ending that a person could possibly expect. For a lot of people, it's not even a means to an end, just a crap shoot that they'll make it out on the other side feeling better than when they started. After getting my body blasted once with the juice that persecutes my bad cells, I can tell you that any sympathy people have had for guys like me that are 90-100% curable is completely wasted. Two weeks ago I saw an elderly man in a room by himself, so infused with tubes that he may as well be that stupid surfer from The Matrix, just staring at the wall waiting for his machine to beep so someone will either change his IV bag or let him go home, where I assume that he may just continue staring.

My treatment lasts roughly 3-4 hours. This, as you can probably guess, is basically a big chunk of your day that's used for reflection. Or Gameboy. Mostly reflection, though, even with the Gameboy. For me, the first time through it was one of the times that I couldn't escape what's really going on, even if I actively try to pay as little attention to it as I can. There's a tube in my wrist that's pumping me full of medicine. I'll pee red for a day or two. My immune system will begin to take a shit. I'll wake up feeling like I'm hungover, but without having to piece together how I got there. For the next few days, and even though I'll have a house guest for some of them (we'll buy video games. You'll see), a general feeling of malaise will occupy my person. That's chemo for you.

This sounds like shit, and it is. But it's not. Be with me here for a second. People get worse before they get better and all of that, but that's not what I'm getting at. Sitting in a hospital ward and staring at the wall while bags of liquid slowly deplete your white blood count is a cruel way to let the world finish you. But it won't happen to me, this much is certain (at least in disposition). Tomorrow I have to go talk to someone.

Or at least bring him some juice, I think. Maybe see if he likes Motown.


  1. We're thinking of you, John.

  2. I like the Frankensteined visual. I just pictured you walking into my house Tuesday arms out and legs stiff. See you then