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Hall of pain; hall of hope

Entering the oncology infusion center for the second time on Friday afternoon, I was suddenly taken aback with its activity. Like a theater for the premiere of a blockbuster movie, every seat was filled with men and women, comfortably resting, receiving a liquid magic into their veins one drop at a time. What amazed me is they were all there voluntarily.

Chemo is a treatment designed to kill the cancer the same way our own antibodies do. Unfortunately, it acts like a foreign legion…brought in to fight the bad guys…but killing a lot of good guys at the same time. This causes a patient’s white cell count to diminish making them open and easily susceptible to infection. As a new member of this “low white cell count club,” I now find myself isolated from my family, friends and the outside world.

Imagine. This clear liquid, slowly entering their bodies and coursing their veins, is seemingly the most toxic poison a person could infuse without dying in the process. No doubt, this liquid will make them sick. Some of them, very sick. We’ve all heard the potential side effects of drugs advertised by major pharma on TV. As I did, following my first round, these folks are about to experience many of those. Pretty scary! No wonder my journey started on Halloween.

Like everyone here, I entered the same door of my own volition. Why would I, no mind any sane person do this? The answer is simple…hope. Hope that more good cells than cancer cells win this battle. Hope that each successive battle changes the picture for the better. And, by picture, I mean PET scan. This has nothing to do with my dog, Ramsey. A PET scan is like a CT scan that brightly contrasts cancer by location and size and is “taken” intermittently during the treatment process. With each photo, the hope is the images become fewer and less bright.

Yes. Hope for a big picture of more meaningful life with their loved ones. THIS is why these seats are filled.

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