On Thursday, we had our first round of chemotherapy and it was nothing like I had expected.
Before this, I’ve always thought of chemotherapy as this huge, evil process that consists of scary looking doctors and complicated machines that will suck your soul out and turn you into an evil minion. But instead, when we arrived in the morning, we were led to this non-threatening chair by a nice lady nurse. She pulled up this IV machine and hooked my mom up with a bag of Paclitaxel which lasted for about three and a half hours, followed by a bag of Carboplatin which took another hour (Note: medication and dosages may differ for different types of cancers). And that was that. Once the bags were emptied out, we were free to go. No evil doctors. No robots. The first session of chemo wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Mom didn’t turn green and start smashing things up. She was a little tired and didn’t want to talk much but that was about it. She could even walk to the taxi stand without any help.
But the next day, she lost her appetite. She stayed bed all weekend and could barely swallow more than a few mouthful of dinner. Talking made her breathless and her muscle pains were so terrible that made it impossible for her to move. It was heartbreaking for me. I tried, I really did, to not be so affected. But when I see her struggling to swallow her second mouthful of dinner or slumped against a pillow in pain, I just felt like crying. When she asked if it had been a mistake that we sought treatment instead of leaving the cancer to grow because the pain was unbearable, I lost it.
It’s hard watching the woman who raise you slowly start to disintegrate. I know this is only the first week of treatment, that at this stage of cancer, we have a ton more of chemotherapy and daily radiotherapy to do just to extend her life. (Stage 3B lung cancer doesn’t have pretty statistics. Just like Katniss said, the odds were never in our favor.) But I’m praying with all my heart that something will come up along the way to ease her pain. If I could take it for her, I would in a heartbeat. In the meantime, however, all I can do is to be around and make sure that she’s comfortable.
Praying for everyone in pain,