I hate being there. People look at me with pity, trying to figure out what is wrong. The husband and I try to make the best of it. We take lunch with us, and we have a date while I am getting my treatments. We sit there and talk. When we run out of things to say, we watch television in our little cubicle. When we don't have a sitter youngest joins us. He is the highlight of the day for each person there. Youngest brings a smile to the face of every nurse and patient in that awful place.
Every time I have an appointment, I get this sick feeling in my stomach. I hate being there. I despise being reminded of death and that all of this beauty will end for me one day. I see my husband and how scared he is, even though he tries his best to not show it. He has this amazing ability to always say the right thing just when I need him to. I get so bummed out at times and he cheers me up. Yet, he is there with that look. He hates being there as much as I do. We are partners in this whole experience. I have no idea what I would do without him.
I look around and I see so much pain. At the same time there is so much hope. Each person is hooked up to this bag that they are hoping will somehow cure them. Some have better odds than others. The prayers are almost palpable as you walk past the little cubicles that look like jail cells without the bars. Each time I go in, I know that I will probably never see the same people again. Some will go on to lead long and healthy lives, and others will not.
I sit in my chair, hooked up to my drip and wonder how many years I have left on this earth. It could all end tomorrow or I could be here for a hundred more. I am really hoping for the latter. There are so many things I want to accomplish. I want to see my children grow up. I want to enjoy my husband when we retire. I want a ton of grandchildren to spoil. I want to make a difference in this world, even if in some small way. I realize that even if I have another hundred years, it would never be enough. But why would I be special? My wants and dreams are no different that the person sitting across from me, hooked up to their IV. The sadness at the cancer center is overwhelming when you are sitting there. You can see all of the people thinking the same things I am. It is a miserable experience.
Each time I leave, I am exhausted for days. The treatment wears me out, but I ignore it and try to push through the tiredness. There are a million and one things I want to fit into twenty-four hours. When it is actually time to go to sleep, those are the moments I hate the most. It is quiet and the husband and kids are asleep. There is no chaos to keep me busy and the husband can't distract me with his witty remarks. This is when my mind wonders and the scary thoughts creep in, all of the what ifs. I remember all of the people at the center and wonder if I will actually be one of the lucky ones, or am I just a time bomb waiting to go off? The thoughts don't last long. I give in to the exhaustion and fall asleep. I wake up and make the most of another day with my beautiful family.
We can't choose the hurdles we are given in life, but we can accept them with grace and optimism. It is harder than most would expect. I will be the first to say, there are plenty of days I think this is bullshit. I try my best, but it is my family that allows me to get through these challenges. It is because of their strength and support that I will still be here one hundred years from now. I have to, because there really is no one else who would deal with my families' shit.