Monday, November 9, 2009

Just Keep Swimming

At this very moment I'm in a lounge chair at the hospital with every comfort imaginable--Internet, relaxing music, aromatherapy, hot chocolate, a good book, pillows, blankets...and the first of three chemo drugs pumping into my veins. All good so far. Except for the steroids they started me on yesterday. I didn't even get drowsy last night, despite taking Ambien and a sedating pain pill. The doc assures me I'll make up for that tonight--I hope he's right.

They said something in our chemo class last week that stuck with me: Chemo is not the enemy. Cancer is the enemy, and chemo kills cancer. I knew that, but even so had been thinking of chemo as the bad guy. So I'm trying to think more kindly towards these drugs. They are saving my life after all.

And last night, when I had plenty of time to think, I finally thought of my 'visualization'. You may have seen the movie with Cher about a boy with tumor that he caled Planet Meatball? He routinely shot at it like it was the target in a video game. Well, at that same chemo class they encouraged us to use visualization as part of the battle. I'm told one lady brought a Wonder Woman doll to each of her treatments. Another used Elmer Fudd "get that rabbit". Personally that worried me, since Elmer always loses. But I've drawn a blank on my own ideas for a couple weeks--until last night I thought of Dory and Marlin from Finding Nemo.




Of course I've way overthought this--since I had eight or so sleepless hours to kill. But I figure the two of them are like two of my chemo drugs--the ones that kill any fast growing cells. (One gets the drugs that are sitting in wait, the other finds the ones currently growing. Haven't decided which is Dory and which is Merlin.) Sometimes they get a little confused and end up in the wrong places (like shark meetings or my bone marrow and hair platelets), but because of their persistence and dedication to the cause they succeed in their mission of saving Nemo (ie. lille ol' me in this case.) There's even the third drug, Herceptin, (the one I'm getting as we speak, and which possibly gets the biggest credit for saving my life--if it weren't for Herceptin my odds of this cancer coming back in a rage are like 50%). Herceptin doesn't kill cells, but tells them not to keep feeding ravenously on cancer cells the way they've been doing (as if it's chocolate or something)--kind of like the kindly sharks and turtles keeping the water safe for Nemo.

Besides, and most of all, they all make me smile. Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming.

5 comments:

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Dory is a great champion through all this. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Libby said...

You are such a good writer. Thanks for your thoughts. I love you and my heart and prayers are with you.

Mike & Jen said...

Best 'visualization' ever! Love you Mom!

Bethany Wiggins said...

Suzanne I just happened to stumble on you blog today. Your post brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful perspective you have. Thank you fir a dose of inspiration.

--Bethany

Suzanne Reese said...

You're all making me teary. Thanks for the support.