• Lori Nanan

Things that go boom (Heinous Little Cells pt. 4)

This piece originally appeared on Medium in 2019.

This past weekend marked the halfway point in Stacy’s chemo treatments. Though it felt momentous, it was rather anticlimactic. There were no fireworks or parades, at least not at the treatment center. There was, however, a great nurse named Melissa who seemed to appreciate our early morning enthusiasm and inappropriate humor. That counts for a lot. When the future is uncertain, kindness and generous humanity go a long way.

This weekend also marked the celebration of America’s independence. We went to a party at the Babylon Yacht Club where people partied like it was 1776 and not 2019 and things seem much more secure than they actually are. And I am not just talking about cancer.

This weekend also marked the pure panic and terror of dogs everywhere. Having had 2 dogs in the past who suffered with noise phobias, I was highly aware of how the booms and bangs and crashes caused Bella to feel like it was the end of times. We tried to keep her as comfortable as possible with a DAP bandanna and some peaceful music, but like many dogs with this issue, she’ll need more help with this. A trip to the vet for Sileo is coming up. If your dog suffers in the same way, I highly recommend speaking with your vet about getting some chemical help. Unlike wildlife, who are forced through the torture of our unnecessarily loud and invasive celebrations, our domestic friends can be made to feel more comfortable.

As she heads into the next rounds of chemo, Stacy will switch to a new drug, Taxol. That means bye-bye to the Red Devil, Adriamycin. This new drug is stronger and the side effects are no joke. Send good thoughts that they are as manageable as they have been up until now.

Watching a person that you care about wonder and worry what’s going to happen to their body as they undergo chemo is difficult, not to mention what could come after. But it’s not nearly as difficult as being that person. I try to remind myself of that as often as possible. Like when I take the Neulasta patch off of her arm, because there’s almost no way she can do it on her own, due to its placement and Intense Amounts of Adhesive. For extra fun this week, its little alarm went off as we were heading into a birthday party, so I took it off in the street. And she started bleeding. A lot. Thankfully, we still have quick reflexes and were able to avoid it getting onto her crisp white shirt. We have decided that despite what the lines on our face might say, we are forever 17. Hence the quick reflexes.

It’s probably a bit weird to say, but chemo weekends have become a bit of self-care for me. They take me out of myself and help me focus on what really matters in life. This in no way means that it’s emotionally easy. But we do have fun and we do have a lot of laughs. We make inappropriate jokes. I’ve gotten to see people I haven’t seen in 30 years or more and have enjoyed being reminded of my younger self. It’s been great to reconnect with Stacy. The only thing I regret is that it took cancer to kick my ass into gear. I’m really trying to change that.

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