Thursday, August 20, 2015

5 Things You Should Never Do During Chemo Treatments

“Cancer. The word meant the same to me as tsunami or piranha. I had never seen them; I wasn't even quite sure what they were, but I knew they were bad and I knew in many cases they were deadly.”
― Natalie Palmer

One of my very, very good friends has gone and gotten breast cancer.  She's now inundated with appointments, information, more appointments and the well-meaning actions of the few people she has told.  She's living every single day by putting one foot in front of the other and just getting through it. 

Because she's just not ready to go public, we're going to call her MGFWC (My Good Friend With Cancer) for short.  Actually, we'll just drop it down to MF to keep the character count down.  MF has been through a lot these past few years and cancer is just the icing on the sh*t cake she's been living.  (Yeah, I said "sh*t cake."  And I meant it.) And just a few weeks ago, she had been presented with the chemo treatment facility where her doctor has privileges to treat.  Laughing, she told me about her visit with the Chemo Nurse who showed her around. The sad little room was barren with a couple of chairs and no television or any artwork on the walls.  It was a dreary room intended for an even drearier purpose.

"We have Wifi," Chemo Nurse said proudly.  I think MF (who, I just found out, has her nephew download things onto her computer because she just doesn't "get it") was singularly unimpressed.  The nurse THEN said that they strongly encouraged interaction between patients during treatment.  MF may have mumbled something about having enough friends and the average age of the other patients being old enough to remember the suffragist movement.

MF then said perhaps I should write blog posts to entertain her during treatment.  So, I shall.  The first one is all about Things You Shouldn't Do During Chemo. I mean, she doesn't have TV.  But she DOES have Wifi.  And she's a freakin' troublemaker.

  1. Porn.  The very first thing you should not do during chemo is surf porn sites with your tablet.  If you accidentally knocked the headphone jack out of your tablet, then everyone (including that Chemo Nurse) would hear the...well...whatever sounds it is that people in porn sites make.  Also, I hear those things aren't free and you should probably be saving money for your deductible.
  2. Sing out loud.  OK, I REALIZE that when we were little kids Karen Carpenter encouraged us to "sing, sing a song...sing out loud...sing out strong" but, c'mon.  Unless your name is Beyonce or Kelly Clarkson, no one really wants to hear you singing.  Especially during chemo.  Because for goodnesssake people are SICK.  They're already feeling nauseous from that chemical cocktail coursing through their bodies and you over there belting out "My Way" isn't going to help anyone.
  3. Scratch yourself.  You might be itchy.  And uncomfortable.  But did you ever notice how, when you're in the room with people who are scratching themselves, all of the sudden you feel itchy, too?  I feel kind of itchy just WRITING about scratching.  Oogie.  No one needs cancer cooties.  
  4. Cry.  Nope.  Not the time and not the place.  We'll go to another oldie but a goodie:  "Don't Cry Out Loud," that old Melissa Manchester favorite that begs you to very healthily stuff everything inside.  "Learn how to hide your feelings."  'Cause that's totally what well-adjusted people do.  Like baseball, however, there is no crying in chemo.  Crying is for later with a pint of chocolate ice cream and Lifetime Television for Women.  ('Cause just THINK, YOU could be imprisoned for a crime you didn't commit or have a cheating husband just like those poor chicks on the Lifetime Movie Network.) 
  5. Call me.  Whatever you do during your treatments, you should probably avoid any phone calls to me.  This is not only because I'm now working in a highly library-like environment but it is also because I am likely to be fairly irreverent and make wise-cracks about cancer and the other people sitting beside you and Nurse Ratchet and pretty much raise holy heck on the other end of the phone.  And because you're getting cancer treatments and not treatments for some kind of bladder problem, you probably aren't wearing Depends undergarments. This can be a problem for excessive laughter. And I will not be held responsible for the stains on your seat because of that fact.  
I love you, MF.  I truly do.  And I have a lot of faith that you're going to make it through this.  And that your life is going to be amazing.  And that we'll be sitting together in rocking chairs when we're 102, drinking tequila and telling dirty jokes to the staff at the nursing home.

You've totally got this.  And when you don't have the've got a lot of people who will carry you.

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