Mind drop

December 2, 2009 erinmcgrathwo

I wait for you to start speaking, stare at you for something remarkable to come out of your mouth as I sit there hooked up to the pinkish liquid.  But then I realize I had already heard the most remarkable thing: the cancer cells in my body have become so smart that they have taught themselves to pump chemo out of them. They have survived, against my will, against all the chemo, against all the tears and the pain, and the lost pounds, they have grown. We have sent poison into them for nine months now. It is really hard to believe its like being swept into a horrible time warp where your life is no longer your own but belongs to some time-space continuum that has you trapped.  And I have been trying so hard to find the right access code to escape– but there are so many combinations.

I watch the people in the transfusion room come and go.  The older ones look at me like I am lost, that I don’t belong there.  The younger ones with understanding and acknowledgment of this same battle playing out every day they wake up and say, “I am going to fight cancer today.”  Even though other mornings its easier to stay in bed now, the march to law school finals weeks incessant my lap top comes to bed easily.

I ask Cory, my nurse the names of the new drugs again, I have hardly heard much from the doctor after the revelation about these damn smart cancer cells, it figures, these cells go to law school after all: vinorelbine: an IV push, doxil an hour IV drip, gemcitabine a half an hour IV drip.  The combination is more gentle than the ICE, but has proven to be effective in cases where the hodgkins has become non-responsive to other chemos.

I go to class after chemo. I am feeling pretty good, considering. Tired, and hot flashes but that’s nothing new. My classes go late @ 8PM, our professor lets us out and tells us he’d like to take us all for a drink at the pub.  I want to thank him for being so great this semester, he told the best stories, and I really enjoyed the lectures but need to get to bed. I go up to him to explain the situation, and he asks me to stay after a moment. The class trickles out of the room, to head to the pub. He looks at me and tells me he’d love to write me a recommendation or doing anything to help me out because I have incredible work ethic. He says he cannot get people who have a cold to come to class and I come after chemotherapy.  I cannot find words to expression my thanks, instead my eyes well up and I whisper thank you.  This day has been more emotionally overwhelming that I can take. But I am going to be okay.


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One Comment Add your own

  • 1. Emilie Manhart  |  January 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Erin, I can’t get on FB, but I just got your message. I feel like jumping for joy and hugging you. Such good news, just what you needed to start the year. Again, let me know what’s next. Thinking of you so much!


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