This morning the oncologist’s nurse is supposed to call to tell me when I begin chemo. They’ve been waiting to get approval from the insurance company. I won’t say anymore about what I think of all that. I’m just ready to get on with it.
Worse than waiting is not knowing what to expect.
Two weeks ago when I had a day surgery to extract some of my lymph nodes and place the chemo port – a device that allows me to receive the chemotherapy drugs intravenously without having to have an IV every time – I knew what to expect. I’ve had surgery before. I’ve had IVs before and I know how the drugs used to put you to sleep make me feel. I know what it feels like to wake up from surgery. I know that, depending on the type of surgical procedure, you just don’t feel good for a few days, but then you start to feel better.
Knowing what to expect makes all the difference in the world.
Not knowing is the hard part.
First, I don’t know when I’ll start chemotherapy. It could be as early as today, or it could be as late as the second week of May. The nurse could call this morning and say, hey, can you be here this afternoon? Sure. I’d rather hear that I can wait until the second week of May, because then I’d be able to go to the Pepperdine Lectures and co-teach class with Pat and eat at Duke’s and hear Landon Saunders preach and see a bunch of friends.
Yes, I’d rather do that. But I’ll do what the doctor says.
Second, I don’t know how chemo’s going to make me feel and that’s the thing I don’t like. I’ve had enough medical procedures in my lifetime to know that every time, the anticipation was always worse than the actual event. Well, almost every time.
I’ve had some great conversations with friends I trust who have shared their own experiences with me, not sparing the hard stuff, but giving me practical tips that made things easier for them. Their positive spirits and encouragement are what I hold onto. Whenever I have to go, that’s what I’ll take in there with me.
It’s just still scary.
I’m thinking of dear ones who had earlier chemo treatments – or treatments for more advanced cancer where the drugs had to be stronger – and the side effects were horrendous. I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine having to go through that, and still wondering whether the treatment was going to be enough to get rid of the cancer.
But they did it.
My doctor tells me that the chemo I will have is tolerated fairly well by most of her patients. I could be the rare exception that has even fewer side effects. Or I could be at the other end of the spectrum.
But this is one time in my life that I’ll be overjoyed at being right smack dab in the middle of the Bell Curve.