Compared to the often funerial atmosphere of most chemo rooms, my last treatment felt like being at a party. While I was snoozing there was a change of chemo patients in two of the four occupied chairs, and encouraged by our very chatty nurse, Tina, the conversations among them and Bill just rippled. In my somnolence, I could hear everything, though I don’t remember the exact words.
Finally, I pulled off my eye covering and joined the party at the point which the single guy took off his headphones and said he was listening to Gordon Lightfoot, the Canadian singer/songwriter who had just died the day before. Our nurse, in her thick Jamaican accent, admitted she had never heard of him. Groans of pity all around.
The guy in the chair next to me was with his wife and they told his story, that he was not helped by his previous treatments – including stem cell – and was now trying chemo. At some point I asked the question I rarely ask any fellow patients: what is your diagnosis?
Leukemia. A rare form of it I can’t remember now.
His journey was not going well and I sensed a bit of desperation in his voice. I told him about my sister and her leukemia from 24 years ago. I’m not sure it made him feel better.
After my bottle was detached and we were prepping to go him, the guy’s wife handed me an envelope and inside was this card written to me. Hard to know if he wrote it while I was in the bathroom or in advance to hand to people like me. Either way, I thought it was very touching that he would reach out this way to let me know, “I got this.”
This kind gesture made me think maybe I should go to some of the group cancer therapy sessions on offer. I’ve been kind of cloistered here at home these last five months and thinking I really should get out more, hang with other cancer patients, maybe learn a thing or four about how to live with cancer. Who knows? Couldn’t hurt.
Thanks to David, I feel like I can do this now.