I am sitting in a very comfortable Naugahyde lounger in the hospital's medical oncology department. My nurse is about to begin "pushing" the first round of chemotherapy drugs into my system. Two jumbo syringes full of a cherry Kool Aid red-colored liquid will soon be coursing through my body, helping to eradicate any microscopic specs of cancer that might still be hiding. Then, it's on to a large intravenous bag of clear liquid that will take about half an hour to drip through the line.
It's fortunate that I am a freelance writer because chemotherapy and all the subsequent visits to the hospital are almost a full-time job. Having a bilateral mastectomy was quick work compared to everything that comes after. This is only my first treatment, so I'm thinking this will all be routine before too long.
It is hard to concentrate on writing about the experience; there is so much I want to say, but words are failing me. I'm too busy trying to eavesdrop on other patients in my immediate vicinity in this expansive room. Talk of alternative treatments and side effects; nurses bustling to and fro; family members wandering around looking both bored and shellshocked. It's a lot for the brain to take in, especially since I've never been here before.
My treatment is almost complete. I will remember the perfume one of the nurses has on, and likely associate its aroma with this experience going forward. The kind, concerned faces and their interest in my welfare are a comfort, as is knowing that I'm doing what is best for my health. It might not be pretty at the moment, but it will benefit me in the long run.
Coming up: How did I get here, and answers to other pressing questions. I am currently dealing with some mild fatigue and queasiness as time passes.