Cancer Community? Hell, No

Meet Snowball, my pooch.

Who, me? A member. Hell, no. Neither is my dog.


I notice the gray-haired, wrinkled faces, bored eyes, portable oxygen tanks, and the tubing filled with milk-looking solution.

The patients from chemotherapy floor. The people from my chemo class. The tired-looking faces of breast cancer patients pictured on my cancer binders and booklets.

“Why are they are old mom?” my daughter asks as she points to pictures on the our coffee table.

“Most breast cancer patients come from older age group, hon. Fifties and older.”

Part of me still lives in denial. My heart feels I don’t belong to this community. There’s more to that. I am healthy, darn it.

Well, I was healthy. I was.

I still feel uneasy.

Perhaps when I finally meet the Young Survivors group, I will feel more fit into the cancer community. I hope I make it. The meeting falls on the same day as my first day of chemo. I wish I will be well enough to go, not fatigued, not nauseous.

Speaking of the chemotherapy class, one thing I learned is not to schedule any dental treatment during the cycle. I will try to move my cleaning appointment if I can to prevent introduction of germs in my mouth, possible if my gums bleed.

I have several questions but I will save it till I meet a chemotherapy pharmacist as the educator nurse implied. She suggested taking Tylenol instead of any NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents) secondary to possibility of prolonged bleeding with NSAID use. You know, chemotherapy will decreased blood count, particularly platelets that play a role in clotting?

I want to know if, since chemotherapy drugs are mostly metabolized in the liver, I should be extra careful and take less Tylenol too if I need it, much less than the normal limit of four grams a day?

The bulk of what’s discussed in the class I have read from the binder. I thought I will get more new information but instead I heard over and over after questions by Paul and other patients, “Call the office for that concern, ask the pharmacist, ask your oncologist…”

Oh, well.

Snowball prays for a good game for Broncos.

I head home and Snowball, my fluffy, bright-eyed, miniature poodle welcomes me. His innocent eyes puts a smile on my face. Don’t you think he’s cute? The little thing even prayed for a good game one night, ala-Teebow style, for the Broncos. It didn’t work but he tried.

Till next time.


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