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Cancer Comes-A-Calling: Chemo Treatments Are…Well…Super Boring

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My boyfriend, significant other, whatever you want to call him was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As the support system to him on this, it has been an amazing journey of what goes on for a patient. Recently, his cancer journey has taken him to cancer class and chemotherapy. What a learning curve he is facing.

Let me tell you a bit more about Patrick. He is this mix of sweet and salty with a ‘unique’ sense of humor. For example, you ask him how he is doing he will say “Not to be bad for a short, balding Irishman!” He may complain about he noise the kids are making in the neighborhood, but if he hears a noise that sounds like one of them is in trouble (and these kids can make some blood curdling noises when they are playing), he will be the first one looking out or stepping outside, just to double check they are ok.

So, about a week and a half ago, Patrick has his ‘chemo class’. (Yes, you get a class!) It covered the meds, precautions, self-care…all important stuff. But sort of on the back burner was the schedule. I found that so odd. You get your first appointment, but they wait until you are at the first chemo day to schedule the rest of your week. (Remember, I am a planner and so is Patrick, so this was driving us crazy!) But one leaves this class with a ton of info, more prescriptions and despite all the info and tour of the Alfond Cancer Care Center there is still an impending sense of the unknown. (As you leave you can almost feel a cosmic countdown clock running to the first day of the chemotherapy treatment.)

The women who was going over the information in the ‘chemo class’ was great.(Really great!) She handled the ‘humor’, answered the questions, covered the big stuff, acknowledged that it is a lot to know and remember, gave him tons of paperwork on…everything! She gave him a tour of the chemo area and how a treatment day goes. So, Patrick was as ready as he could be for his big day.

A few days later it was his first day of chemotherapy. (Not sure who was more nervous him or me!) After he arrived and checks in, one of the nurses on your chemo-team takes him into his treatment area and it all begins. It starts with all the introductions to the people on your team, then the oral meds, putting in the access to the port in his chest, the hooking up of bags of ‘the stuff’ that are flowing into his body through the port in his chest…and then….and then….and then…he waits. And he waits, and waits and waits. The nurses keep checking his vitals, checking for reactions, making sure ‘the stuff’ is flowing as it should. The doctor came by for a couple of visits, but mostly he waits. (I don’t have any answers to what else I expected, but it was oddly calm and relaxing to see Patrick and all the other patients being so cared for.) They offer a rather tasty looking lunch to the patients, there are beverages and snacks, and there is a TV in each treatment area and Wi-Fi. And he waits. The first day was long, just over six hours. But I guess, it will not be that long again. The next three days, were about two and a half to three hours each. Same sort of routine, but ‘the stuff’ can flow quicker. He even drove himself on the last day. (I am such a slacker in the support area….huh?) Now he has 24 days off and then he does it all over again, a longer first day, followed by three shorter days and another 24 days off.

In few months there will be more tests to see how the chemo is working. But for now, all that has happened he is tired, bored and some of the meds have made him a bit agitated. But Patrick is doing well.

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