Chemo Class

The Cancer Center
The Cancer Center

This morning we attended Chemo Class at the Cancer Center.

I woke a little after 7 a.m. I planned to wake my guys up at 8 a.m. so we could leave at 9 a.m. to attend the 10 a.m. class that would teach us what to expect from Chemo. Before I got out of bed, I prayed, “Dear Father, please, please, please don’t let me be sick or to faint during the class!”

I came downstairs, put Danny out in our fenced yard so he could “do his business,” went inside to make coffee, and washed my hair and got dressed. Then I went to bring Danny back inside. I couldn’t find him anywhere in the yard. OH, NO! He had found the section of the wooden fence that had been crunched when the rotten tree fell on it. I envisioned an hour spent hunting frantically through the town for Danny.

It was almost 8 a.m., so I woke JJ, and told him that he needed to get ready while I hunted for the dog. I got the leash and the car keys. I thought I’d drive around and if I spotted him, I could put the leash on him if he didn’t immediately jump into the car. But the car had heavy frost on the windows, so I decided to just walk. It’s not like I live in a huge city or anything. As I walked, I texted my friend that Danny had escaped and to pray that I’d find him. Then I listened for the sound of dogs barking. Dogs usually bark if a strange dog invades their territory. I heard a dog frantically barking and headed in that direction. Yup. The dog was barking at Danny. I whistled and called for my wayward dog. When he saw me, and starting running toward me, his whole being a picture of great joy. Silly Danny.

As I walked my dog home, I called my friend to tell her not to worry, I had found Danny. She was so relieved. She said that when she got my text, she felt what more can go wrong? I mean, we didn’t really need this stress on the morning we were going to Chemo Class. It would have been awful if I hadn’t been able to find Danny but it was actually the perfect thing to happen because I found Danny quickly and then I talked and laughed with my friend. I felt my stress diminish. I said, “Thank you, Father, for the stress reducing gift.” But I did sort of block the hole in the fence so hopefully Danny won’t be able to escape again.

I just love my friend who is walking alongside us through this cancer journey. I love that she weeps with me, she laughs with me, and she gets stressed with me. It is so comforting to have a friend who is touched by what touches us. Everyone should have such a friend.

I told my friend that problems never seem to stop at the point at which I can handle them. I always get one problem after another, problems piled onto problems, until I cannot handle any more. I’m been learning over the last few years that I really can’t handle much of anything. I desperately need God. My friend and I agreed that faith is sometimes messy and desperate and we are reduced to weakness, but that is good. When we are weak, we are strong.

I told my friend that I was really praying that I wouldn’t get sick or faint at the Chemo class. She said that she was actually praying that I would faint if someone needed “comic relief.” JJ is still laughing over my near-faint last Friday and maybe others needed to laugh about it too. Everyone should have such a friend who cares so much about people that she prays I will faint to make them laugh.

On the way to the Cancer Center, I felt nauseous and shaky and I thought, “I am so definitely going to faint.” EJ didn’t aggravate the Unseen Guy operating the gate to the Cancer Center this time by pressing the speaker button too many times. We are gaining experience.

While we waited in the waiting room, JJ whispered, “If you faint today, you have to give me $20.” He and I made a bargain: If I fainted, I’d get him a desktop computer. If I didn’t faint, I’d get to buy him a dorky hat to wear to Chemo. We shook on it.

A small group of us were led through the labyrinth of corridors to a small conference room. A table filled most of the room, but there was a cushioned bench along one wall. EJ and JJ sat at the table, but I sat on the bench behind them. I thought it would be easier if I could distance myself a little bit from the information. Also, I could more easily change my position to keep myself from fainting. I had learned that part of dealing with fainting is to distract myself so I took notes and doodled in a pad of paper while I listened. We were told what the likely affects of chemo would be, what to watch for, when to contact the Center, and how symptoms and side effects would be handled. We were also told what foods JJ could have or not have.

JJ's Dorky Hat
The Dorky Hat I might get JJ

Apparently no one needed comic relief. I did not faint. This means JJ has to wear a dorky hat. I wouldn’t have insisted he wear one if he didn’t really want to, but he said, “No, you won the bet. I have to wear the hat.”

As everyone was leaving the room, the woman on the other side of the table said that she had been an oncology nurse so she’d not used to being on THIS end of things. I said, “So does it seem easier or harder to know exactly what is happening through all this? We  know absolutely nothing.” She said that it doesn’t matter, it still is really awful. She asked if JJ was our son and if I minded her asking what type of cancer he had. When I told her, she teared up. She said that when she saw him sitting there, so young, her heart just broke. We gave each other hugs. We chatted a bit–suddenly good friends. EJ asked later, “So what is her name?” I said, “Oh, we never gave each other our names. We forgot.” Maybe we will see each other at Chemo. I suspect friendships are made there, similar to soldiers in a foxhole.

Yesterday, my friend asked me if JJ’s laptop was getting repaired. I told her that our friend was going to work on it because the computer will be absolutely vital for JJ during this. The last time we went to the store, I looked at IPad’s because I thought that would be a perfect thing for JJ to take with him to Chemo because they are lightweight and not bulky. I had no idea how much they cost, but I discovered that they were a bit too expensive. So my friend discussed tablets with a friend who works with computers and he recommended a Nexus 7 Android 16GB. Then she, and he, and a few others contributed to buying JJ one. We are overcome with the absolute awesomeness of friends.

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