While I had to endure another six months of chemotherapy, I did at least have piece of mind where my medical aid was concerned which was a much better one than I’d previously had. They had agreed to pay for all my treatment, and whilst on the phone to one of the consultants, I became uncharacteristically emotional. All the lady at the other end of the phone said to me was, ‘Don’t worry, all the finances are taken care of…all you need to do is concentrate on getting well again.’
That is all a cancer patient wants to hear. Going through cancer treatments is stressful enough without having to worry about finances, and I was especially on edge given what had happened three years prior.
Half way through my treatments, my sister flew over from South Africa to lend moral support and help out wherever she could. As always, it was wonderful to have her. We drove into the mountains and explored, we played card games, went to the top of skyscrapers and much more. She accompanied me to one of my treatments. We talked and played cards to pass the time. Card games in our family are not exactly a quiet affair. They are always loud and excitable events and soon some of the nurses on the ward, including the nurse manager were peeping in to get a piece of the party. It’s always amazing how time flies when you’re distracted and having fun. To date that was the best chemo session I’ve ever had. About a week later, and she had to return to her family back home. I always treasure my time with her, but it always goes so fast, and after she had gone I was left with the feeling that I didn’t quite make the most of the time that she was here. The thing about having chemo is that things tend to pass by in a bit of a haze. You can splash your face with cold water or pinch yourself as much as you like, but it won’t make any difference. You still feel as if you are moving around in some sort of slow motion dream and you desperately want to be more present in the moment. Somehow if you can do that, then you’re under the false illusion that the time will pass more slowly and with more lucidity. That time will slow down and you be able to savor the moment for much longer.
During chemo I’ve always felt like I’ve been walking around with a very heavy rope around my waist that was connected to a tractor tyre behind me, and wherever I went I had to drag this tyre around with me. After a while, the fatigue, pain and queasiness made me zone out and become completely numb. Call it self preservation if you will.
Needless to say, the rest of my chemo sessions after having her there with me dragged and were boring beyond endurance. Inevitably when you are in a ward where other people are receiving treatment as well, there are always some nasty sound effects of others being sick to the stomach. For my remaining treatments, I adopted my daughters Ipod and took it to the hospital with me. Listening to relaxing music and reading my favorite book if energy levels allowed, I shut the rest of the world out for the remaining two months of the slog.
Even though this was my third time of completing chemotherapy with the possibility that I may have to do it yet again in the future, I was still so excited when my last day of treatment arrived. Soon my energy levels would rise, my hair would start to grow back and I would slowly but surely get some sense of normalcy back into my life again. I was ecstatic…but before getting carried away, there was still a CT scan to be done to see if the treatments had in fact been effective.
When you’re a cancer patient, you become very good at holding your breath.