What Doesn’t Kill You…

Somehow this song has been doing rounds in my head, persistent just like the low-grade nausea after chemo. They say, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” So I think, by this time I should be able to wring the neck of an elephant with my bare hands (not that I have anything against my pachyderm friends), and probably a whole herd after 16 chemo sessions. Every needle poke, every breathing maneuver, every moment in the scanner, every noise of the breathing of medical equipment is apparently making me a stronger person.

So I accept it. Not that I have a choice anyways. I was told this clearly again last week when, due to my Adriamycin allergy, I had to see an immunologist for a consultation. She is hell-bent on giving me my  Adriamycin. “What choice do you have, you need your chemo!”, says she. So in Uzma vs Uzma, the cancer fighting part of me will be whipped into shape with antihistamines and a generous helping of steroids.

I did finish a 5K this weekend. No I didn’t win, they are not giving me the steroids of the right kind – nudge, nudge, wink, wink. As I was walking, I was wondering whether I would be able to finish and really what is the finish line for me? One thing I know for sure is that I have to cross the finish line before one rogue, mutated cancer cell does, that all of my healthy cells are pitted against a small group of very extremist cells. Cancer seems like a terrorist activity of sorts. A small group with a different philosophy on growth and expansion vs. others who are living ordinary cellular lives staying in their place, not venturing to nearby organs and convincing them to join “the cause.” And chemo does not negotiate with terrorists, and boy, is there collateral damage!

Speaking of collateral, I took my daughter in for a flu shot, and guess what!  She got a blue Popsicle at the end of the visit. Makes me wonder, what happens to the guilt of doctors and nurses with adult patients. So far, no one has offered me a Popsicle anywhere. Not even a sticker. Or a sucker. Oh I get it, because it’s making me stronger. Otherwise can you imagine? “Thank you Dr. Y, you are done with your infusion and here you go –  your gallon of ice-cream and what color Porsche would you like?” Then my thoughts got interrupted by what my daughter was listening to, “Down came the rain and washed the spider out, out came the sun and dried up all the rain, and the itsy-bitsy spider went up the spout again!” Got to get ready, second round of chemo in 7 days. So stay strong my friends, stay strong!

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