Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm all hooked up

Today is the day. Next weekend, Bob wants to celebrate that I'm a quarter of a way through chemo. It won't do much good to celebrate this weekend. Cause I won't have much of an appetite.

I walked into to Cardinal Bernadine Cancer Center at 9 o'clock. First you get your blood drawn, but there was a backlog, a line of patients waiting, so, after a while, they sent me into the chemo ward to get it done. Then back out to wait for two hours until they had a seat for me. I read about half my book while waiting.

They called me about 11:30 to come back into the chemo ward, mauve lounge chairs line the walls and corners and people shuffle in and out for chemo. This place is always crowded, full of people with cancer. The ward has a few beds and private rooms for those who seem to be the worse. If you chance a look, their heads are tilted to the side, eyes half closed, mouths half open. They look pitifully sick, not like me. I look just fine, I think, not sick at all.

When I first learned I had colon cancer, I kind of felt like "a chosen one," a person who was chosen to endure suffering to build character and learn a few things about life. You know the St. Paul philosophy: Romans 5:3-5: ". . . We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love." (CEV)

But once I walk in here, I don't feel quite so chosen anymore. I feel more like a Christian walking into a packed church or an activist at a peace rally or a Democrat in Chicago. I'm just like everybody else. There are lots of us. But here, we look different. Some of us are bald, some of us limp, some of us look pale and pallid, some of us need wheelchairs. The lucky few of us, like me, drive ourselves to the clinic, read, surf the Web, look fine, have hair, then go home.

I do have hope, dreams. The book I'm reading, loaned to me by Anne, makes me want to go to Italy, buy an old convent, and start a bed and breakfast. (But I don't really like people enough for that.) I want to sip cappuccino and sit outside in a chair and watch the sunrise. And the sunset. And read and eat and take naps in between. I want to drink these strange Italian drinks the author talks about, grappa, prosecco, Campari (I guess these are drinks.)

Mostly, I just want to be finished with all this. To feel great again. To be cancer free. (Am I cancer free already? They cut it out of me.) To eat with relish. I do not gladly suffer. I panicked on the drive in because I knew. I knew what was to come.

God, give me character. Sustain my hope.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At our age(s) we should stay away from grappa, but prosecco is essentially Italian champagne. We'll pop open a bottle when this is all done and over with.