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In the Mirror

     The day before Thanksgiving this year, I finished the "AC" portion of my chemo treatment plan.  The drugs are known as one of the most potent things ever made, and I finished it, but it wasn't without awful endurances.  In the picture below, Adriamycin is in the large red syringe, my nurse in a Hazmat suit as he slowly injects it into my bloodstream over 15 minutes.  I'm staring intently but my mind would relive this and instantly make my stomach turn, it also made eating and drinking things that are red like jello, Gatorade and popsicles impossible.  My mind was affected as much as my body which endured typical things like puking, diarrhea, fatigue, staring off in space, headaches, mouth sores, loss of appetite, and dry mouth. My friend who recently went through Cancer, told me Doctors can tell you about the process, but know one can you prepare you for the Emotion Shit that you must endure. 

    The chemo literature highly suggests to use your own bathroom for the first 48 hours after infusion as your system flushes out chemo, avoid young children, stay in calm locations and not get sick.  So my wife and I thought it would be best for me to move into what she calls it my "Habitat" set up in our finished basement where I could get away from the children, chill out, throw-up comfortably in my own bathroom, etc.  I sleep on a twin bed (it makes washing sheets quicker) complete with a new "Alexi" who plays repeating calm ocean sounds for me nightly, a green mini fridge stocked with water, jello and adjourned on the outside with a page from my "Fuck Cancer" coloring book given to me from my work colleagues.  It all sounds like a party, but when the lights are off and I lay motionless to me Cancer is a lonely thing, it is not in my family and friends. 
    At night, I frequently enter my bathroom with my eyes looking downward and brush my teeth with my eyes closed so not to stare in the mirror at myself.  The nights, I've stared, my body stares back, my scalp bare of hair, my port incision in my chest, my left nipple crumbled with blood and crust and discolored skin.  So I choose not to look in the mirror, this is one of the emotional shit of cancer.  I told my Oncology Social Worker my experiences, she softly reminded me at night our cancer bodies are tired from the day and looking in the mirror is every ounce as hard.  She asked me to stare at myself in the mirror in the morning and be positive, stay something nice to myself.  Positivity is not lonely in cancer, it's abundant, echoed through your doctors, family and friends through good reports, signs, coloring books, cards and just plain hugs.  A co-worker came up to me last week and said "It's a much better place when you are here at work, great to see you."  Positivity is all around you, don't give up HammerOn!   


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