I had a really chatty nurse today administering my poisons. Oh hello hello hello how many kids oh aren’t you nice and lovely and who is this charming husband? I told her charming husband is Bernie Lee. On the 9th floor where every other patient is a bald woman with breast cancer, Bernie’s name gets around. There was a flurry of compliments, calls to other nurses to come over and meet Dr. Lee in person, and blah blah blah isn’t he just tops? And he is. But all of this happened before the IV went in, and now super chatty nice nurse is a bundle of nerves who is worried about jacking up the veins of Mrs. Dr. Lee. Forty-five minutes later, reinforcements were called and I finally got the cancer death juice infusion. I blamed the whole thing on Bernie for being Dr. Charming. He threw it right back at me saying I let the cat out of the bag… no one expects Bernie is even drinking age, much less the provider of new and improved breasts for every other woman on the 9th floor.
These are good problems to have. I’ll happily endure a few cc’s of interstitial saline because my husband is fantastic. This whole cancer thing has me all grateful and hugging bald strangers. And I am only able to be this way because of the circle of people who are praying, cooking, standing at bus stops, and shaving my head for me. Bernie is reading the cancer sites, and distilling all of the good things, so I don’t have to read the scary stuff. So many of you knew how hard this hairless thing has been, and sent packages and really funny messages of love and support. So today when I saw a twenty-something kid across the aisle on the 9th floor, all alone, I wanted to share a bit of what I have with him. (Good thing the Benadryl kicked in fast, sparing him an unwanted hug from a 40 year-old woman in a knit cap.)
So Round 2 is finished and I returned home in my steroid-fueled euphoria to find Nicole had delivered a Half Way Done cake from Donna’s. Only a really, really good friend knows when you need icing. Although eating that slice with my boys (who will now be expecting future chemo cakes) was probably not the best choice after an afternoon of harsh chemicals, I loved every bit of it: the sentiment, the thoughtfulness, and the generous smattering of icing flowers.
In spite of my blessed position at the receiving end of so much love, new friendships, cake, deepened faith, and more funny moments than would have been expected, make no mistake: this is awful. I’m bald and by Monday won’t be able to find a comfortable position to sit in for more than 5 minutes. And my boys ask me more often than any child should if their cough or stomach flu could kill me. But with Him, all things are better (if not possible). With prayer, I get really kind answers. With your prayers, I feel calmer. When I say I’m lucky because I have all of you and Dr. Charming, I know all of that stems from a faith in God that I’m not really sure I had a few months ago. When I saw that young kid, all alone, I was really hoping he had this… this other medicine that is Faith and Truth and Love, has none of the nasty side effects of life saving chemicals, and is administered by the Only One who can’t be flummoxed by my handsome doctor husband.