In The Chemo Waiting Room

IMG_3163My mother-in-law has myloma, cancer of the blood. I take her for her Chemo treatment every other week.

Remarkably, she hasn’t had the terrible nausea and vomiting that many patients experience. I’m very grateful for that.

While we sit in the waiting room, usually we are held captive by the television which is spewing some nonsense. How I wish they showed nice movies (old classics) or positive messages instead of either a) News such as CNN or MSNBC or FOX – any of which can make an Optimist depressed, or b) chatty-chatty talk shows about which actress wore what to whatever big event.

None of that really matters when you have cancer.

What matters is your family and friends. What matters is your relationship with God. What matters is being comfortable, warm, and not sick.

The magazines aren’t any better. Instead of something to take your mind off things, like maybe House and Garden, or even Hot Rod (I’m partial to Camaros), all the magazines are about 1) living with cancer, 2) how to eat better or 3) lose weight and look hot; like which actress wore what to whatever big event.

As I look around the Chemo waiting room, and I see families pulling together to care for each other. A hug, a pat on the shoulder, a bottle of water from the vending machine. All the little things that show they care.

I overheard one family conversation that was very touching. The father was in a wheelchair and he looked to be in his early 60s. His son (the family resemblance was stunning), in his forties, was reassuring him, “Dad, no one thinks you are weak for doing this. It takes a lot of courage and strength to go through Chemo and to do what you are doing. No one thinks bad of you.” The look on Dad’s face told me that he was of the “John Wayne generation” when men were men and “apologizing makes you look weak.” It must be difficult for those men to accept help from others, such as pushing the wheelchair. Those men are used to taking care of everyone else. For him, the role reversal is just as difficult as the diagnosis.

After Chemo, we usually go out for coffee and soup and have a nice comfortable chat. Life is strange, that is would take cancer to push us to make time to just visit with each other. But I enjoy our visits. I like hearing about how life was when she was training to become a nurse, what it was like to raise five children (one of which obviously is my hubby) and how things were different then.

It’s common for comedians to make fun of in-laws, but I actually like my mother-in-law.

So strangely enough, I somewhat look forward to our time in the Chemo Waiting Room. It’s obviously not because of the TV, magazines, or the reason why were are there. It’s because I enjoy spending time with my mother-in-law.

Last week after Chemo, she came over to my house to help with the curtains, pictured above. I stood on a chair and fell off (on my bad leg, of course, the one with the artificial hip) onto the floor. I dubbed us the Abbot and Costello of Home Decorating. We had a good laugh.

Nothing is impossible with God, and I covet your prayers for her healing. (That’s one thing we’re allowed to covet ;-) ).

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8 thoughts on “In The Chemo Waiting Room

  1. Some of my fondest memories are with family when one of us was sick. Life is weird. God keeps giving us time to appreciate everyone, but we so rarely do. I have a friend I keep meaning to call, but always put it off till tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder to seize the time before it’s gone.

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