I’ve decided I’m not going to say 'chemo' anymore but instead use the full word. Chemotherapy. The therapy part has a nice ring to it. Chemo sounds like you’re fucked. Like someone jumped you outside of a shitty motel and stole your wallet and took your pants. Like “yeah I got chemo’d outside of Days Inn off 95. I was walking to the Waffle House and boom - chemo.”
Chemotherapy however… sounds lovely. Sounds like there’s gonna be scented candles and carafes of water with cucumbers. “I’m here for my chemotherapy. Where’s my robe?”
It felt like the first day of school. I laid out my outfit the night before. I bought snacks. I was nervous. I kept wondering if I was going to meet new people and make new friends. Would the other patients like me? Would I be invited to happy hour?
I was excited to get the whole thing started because I was tired of building it up in my head. It has been my experience that things in my head are often worse than things in real life. Our brains can take the thinnest reed and twist it and turn it and spin it out of control. Like making cotton candy out of nothing. Besides it’s never the things you worry about that become problems. I was certainly not worried about colon cancer. I was worried about booking an audition or if my car could make it to 200,000 miles. Cancer was the farthest thing from my horizon and that was the thing that made all my other worries obsolete. Which, if you think about that, is actually pretty terrifying. “Hey- don’t freak out- all those things you are worrying about aren’t going to be an issue…but something completely unknowable is going to destroy you. Here’s your cotton candy.”
Besides, on the 17th they had found more cancer in my lymph nodes. They had done a PET scan and then a biopsy. So candles or no candles, chemotherapy was something that I needed. This wasn’t some elective procedure I was having done. It was necessary. And today is the first day.