As I write this, mom is inside the Chemo room having her 7th out of the 8th round of Oxaliplatin. We are almost done with the treatment. It’s nearly 9 months since the diagnosis.
The view is the same every 3 weeks. Patients are waiting for their turns. Some are wearing wigs. Others believe that bald is bold. Oxy does not make you bald, and we are thankful for that. Either way, that was the least of our problems. We only want mom and other patients to survive this.
My maternal auntiedom is here—from Mom’s eldest sister to the youngest sister in law. Like me, they do not want to miss a session. They alternately go inside the treatment room for attendance. Visitors are medicine, too. Love is overflowing.
Kids are playing and running around the place. They have no idea what was happening inside the chemo room. Or they are aware. My first encounter with a cancer patient was when I was 8, and that was still vivid to me, and it still haunts me.
My dad is drinking his macchiato. I buy him coffee for breakfast. This is becoming a tradition already, part of our new normal. In fact, I usually get my coffee at a Starbucks near the hospital. The barista will usually do their spiels:
“How’s your day?”
“I am good.”
“Do you have class or work today?”
“No. I came from the hospital. My mom is having chemo today”,
Then they will give me their genuine smile because people are generally lovely.
I was looking the faces of the significant others of the patients. Are they ok? How are they coping? Are they scared?
The chemo unit of the hospital suffocates me. But, it is also comforting knowing that we are not alone in this battle. We all know what randomness means. The randomness of receiving a cancer diagnosis to the “Why Me?” questions of the patient. We all want to set aside our values and maturity and say “FUCK YOU, CANCER!”
At 11am, I go up to check on the newborn babies at the nursery. I have 2 thoughts, “Welcome to Earth! Life is sooo good and beautiful” and “Poor babies, life is suffering”. We cannot separate sadness from happiness, ugliness from beauty, the yin from the yang.
The chemo unit scene is one of the many faces of the reality of life. You see the pain in every bad prognosis and happiness in every report of healing and remission. It is also a sacred place to realise things you don’t usually learn in other areas.
Praying and hoping that all will be well for all the cancer patients and their caregivers.
May the divine bless you with good health and good tea and coffee!