One of the side effects of chemo is a fanny pack.
That’s right…a fanny pack.
I get three different bags of medicine. Avastin is first, that drips for ten minutes. Then there is the oxaliplatin. That goes for two hours. Then I get the 5FU and that goes for 46 hours. Which means when I go home I'm still hooked up to my IV. Since I can’t be hooked up to a pole for two days, the bag of 5FU lives in a fanny pack.
The first few hours are fine. After chemo I feel like I have the flu so the fanny pack is the least of my concerns. By hour 40, however, I’m staring at the thing like Jack Nicholson looked at his family in The Shining.
What is it about this little pouch that can turn a mild mannered writer into raving lunatic in less than two days?
First off, it’s always with you. It’s just there. It’s like that assignment in home economics when they make you take an egg home and carry it around for a week so you’ll know what it’s like to have a baby. Except if you break your baby egg you can just get another one out of the fridge. If I break my chemo bag I have to put on a hazmat suit and call the hospital.
And what the fuck do I do with it? Sometimes I wear it over my shoulder like a satchel. Sometimes I wear it around my waist. Sometimes I take it off and carry it around like a pizza box. Sometimes I put it on a stick and pretend like I’m a hobo.
Then there is the cord. I try and keep it tucked away but I would say at least five times in a 46 hour span it gets stuck on a knob and I get jerked back like I’m in some sort of slap stick comedy. Like this fanny pack is my rascally sidekick always getting me into crazy situations. Like it’s the Balki to my Larry Appleton and this is some weird episode of Perfect Strangers.
Davey and Fanny Pack: Now we are so happy, we do the dance of joy!
Side bar: I don’t care if that reference aged me. Those actors are brilliant and that show was amazing.
Oh, and the noise. The chemo is hooked up to a little machine that times its release. Every time it releases the medicine- it makes a click. It’s fine if you are running errands or watching television, but I write. In my office. Alone. And that click is constant. Much like the twitch in my right eye that starts around hour 14.
Every ten seconds:
Click, click, click.
Davey puts on his hazmat suit. Pulls out an ax. Stabs fanny pack.
End of play.
Finally- it’s a fucking fanny pack. And yes it’s medicine that will keep me alive and yes I’m thankful but come on! There wasn’t any better option? Those things have never been in style. You can’t even make it cool ironically. There are hipsters out there rocking nut huggers and mesh tank tops who wouldn’t be caught dead in a fanny pack. There are grown men out there wearing the athletic jerseys of other grown men who are like “a fanny pack? And cover my Tom Brady jersey?”
There are fucking frat bros wearing fucking ROMPERS who are like “look at the dork with the fanny pack.”
I know it’s a small price to pay and way better than the alternative. But if in five years I see a fanny pack and start screaming “here’s Davey” you’ll know why.