Nurse Kate at Infusion Room, University of California, San Diego, Moores Cancer Center

Archive of a Breast Cancer Survivor

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01.09.05
The Injection of Chemo

This is Nurse Katie. She is a traveling nurse. She worked first in New York City, and then Denver, Colorado. Now she is in San Diego and has decided to stop and plant roots. She likes it here—and she was good at explaining what would be happening. The fluid you see her injecting me with was the first in two applications of chemotherapy named Doxorubicin. She told me my urine would turn red, and sure enough it did. For the whole day. Later, during the treatment my father stopped in to visit. We had this quiet private moment but perhaps not so quiet since there were seven other people in the room. Standing near me he said in a very quiet tone, “I like you in your cancer, you seem so much happier. Before you were always concentrating on things that made you depressed and sad but now you are not. You are a happier person today.” And I wasn’t sure how to digest that comment, and I didn’t even respond other than stutter and make a noise in my throat. In fact I am not really recalling the response other than the shock of his statement. Is that really true? Has cancer given me a place of reprieve? Do I have something to focus on other than what seemed to weigh me down—moments that were nothing but weightless issues we all seem to think are important? I guess that is the gift I received for the day—to realize what is important in life: not the small moments that bog us down with weighted realities, but rather the larger moments like the gesture of your father leaning into your ear telling you how lovely you are under the gossamer of red fluid flowing eagerly down the winding brook of your life.

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