|Posted on 31 May, 2016 at 0:55|
On my first chemo session, a man sat in the chair next to me. We were two completely different people, different lives, he was older, retirement age I would think, me only in my 20's. But we had one thing in common, it was my first chemo and it was also his. My first treatment is a little bit of a blur, I remember saying hello to him. I was set up first, he was probably left slightly traumatised by me. I get louder and more talkative when I'm nervous so he had full brunt of it been next to me, then the cold cap going on, which is a novelty as not something people tend to know about or have seen before. On his turn to be set up (minus the cold cap) he was far quieter. We were both being strong that day, just I was more vocal, him more a dignified silence. I had my mum and partner with me, he had his wife. My mum talked quite a lot with his wife. There were more similarities, they had had to cancel a holiday round diagnosis time and so had we. He had been having a few health problems like me, but still the cancer diagnosis had been a shock.
But there was one big difference. The Hodgkin's Lymphoma I was having treatment for, had very high success rates. I'd got 6 months of chemo ahead of me, but as my consultant said if all goes to plan "that's it and you get on with your life" for the man next to me, his cancer was terminal. Then the similarities were there again. We had all said even though it was cancer we were so thankful it was Hodgkin's over any other. This man's family were so grateful that he had been offered chemo as they didn't think he would of been. We bumped into them a few times over the course of my treatment. My mum was counting down my treatment in 3's, saying we are a third of the way through, or 3 months was halfway through, another 3 months would be the end of treatment, another 3 months would be knowing the results. This man's wife was counting in 3's but for a different reason, each 3 months to them was another 3 months they didn't think they would have.
I sat opposite another man on another chemo session, named Michael. He was a pensioner but me and my partner got chatting to him, you usually find that older people are so interesting to talk too, as they have so much life experience and stories to tell. He told us about his work life, how his wife looked just like a young Elizabeth Taylor when they married, that they had children. Then we got onto cancer, he asked about mine and I told him the basics, I asked about his, Michael was also terminal although he didn't describe it that way. He started to talk about Greek Mythology, I remembered learning about this topic at school and I found it fascinating at the time. He said that the ancient Greeks believed that a boat carried you along a river to the Afterlife, so he put it that he was on the dock, waiting for the boat to take him. His chemo session was over about 10 minutes after that. I held it together while he was there, but I had to have a little cry when he went. This was the unfairness of cancer. He might of been in his old age and we all have to go at some point, but he was still somebody's husband, somebody's dad.
There were many reasons, but these two people I met were one reason why I didn't let my situation get me down. Why I refused to let it get me down after, because I had a chance at life after cancer that these two brave men sadly did not. The first man with his wife, she would often say that they would both with their family often mention me, that even though they were in that situation, they found it awful that me, being so young should be sitting on the chemo ward. As you go through chemo, I think you go on a automatic pilot almost, so I didn't think much into it back then, but I do think of this man from time to time now. I don't know if he is still fighting his cancer, I hope with everything that he is, that he is defying the odds and still with his wife and family. But how they would talk about and remember me, I will always remember him. I will always remember Michael waiting for his boat, lets hope he's still waiting or if not, that he's sailed to somewhere better. I will live the life that has been given back to me for me, but also for them and I think all of us who are lucky to survive should live our life to the fullest and happiest for all those that sat in the chemo chair too and didn't get to do the same xxx
Categories: Cancer and Me