So they finally gave me a number: Stage 3 cancer. Now when I can say I've beat cancer, I can say I beat stage 3 cancer - take THAT cancer!!! My medical oncologist (whom I love dearly) gave me my treatment plan yesterday: Chemo every 3 weeks for one year, starting December 4. Most importantly, I will be able to still enjoy adult beverages for all my holiday festivities!!! After the appointment (tons of info), we got to see the infusion center (where they administer chemotherapy).
The Infusion Center. I don't know what I was thinking it would look like, but as my mom put it, it felt like the control center in Houston or something with all the hubbub of nurses running to and from, attending to the various patients. The infusion center was a large, long room with recliners lined up along all four walls. The recliners all faced towards the center of the room, where the "command center" was. This was a large, oval desk where nurses worked urgently over computers and other medical thingies. Each recliner had a patient, hooked up to bags of IVs, resting in it. The demographics of the patients were all female, age 50+. None of the patients nor visitors were talking, yet the room was loud with emotion. The energy, not good, was palpable; not entirely negative, just gloomy, and laced with fear, sadness, and lonliness.
This gloom was in stark contrast to the lighting of the room. It was bright, SO VERY BRIGHT. And I'm the girl who loves a lot of light! But this light just seemed over abundant, as if extra bulbs had been installed to illuminate any shadows within the patients. Dark places that we like to keep hidden deep within us; away from the world, and away from ourselves.
We went on in and proceeded to schedule appointments for my chemo sessions. The woman who was scheduling me seemed to be confused that I was there scheduling visits for myself, as she kept trying to talk to my mother. I looked around the room as we waited for her to book my appointments. It felt more like a hospital than any place I've been so far, and I realized I hated it. I immediately hated it so much. I felt as though I didn't belong, and having felt that way many other times throughout my life, I hated it even more.
Later, after my second appointment, I tried to picture myself sitting in one of the recliners. For some reason, that seemed to help. I thought hey, if it's a recliner, I belong in it!!! Lol. And I visualized my mom helping me get comfortable and making sure I was settled, and that all the IVs were correct. I visualized doing my favorite past times (music, coloring, games, etc), and friends and family coming to visit. I visualized myself receiving the chemo drugs, and I visualized myself being strong and fighting every step of the way. This little exercise seemed to help, because I realized that I do belong there. I have cancer, and I need to go there to save my life; and hopefully brighten the lives of some of the others along the way. I believe it was Buddha who said, "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will never be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." Even though that place is bright with physical light, I must still be the light in the darkness. And I can be the light! 💡