Chemo should be a four-letter word

To watch someone you love go through the horror that is chemo is a torment all it’s own. It is like watching from a distance while the person you love is mercilessly tortured, and you can’t do a thing to stop it.

Suddenly you realize why people wear ‘fuck cancer’ t-shirts to drop their children off at school and smile as they go.  Because you know what, fuck cancer.

I did all I could to brace myself for what was coming, I knew it was going to knock her down and everyone she loves with her.

It did.

But there’s not enough preparation in the world to ready someone for this.  You’re never ready to watch your mom cry by the toilet as she dry-heaves for hours.  Never strong enough to keep your heart from breaking when she says it’s so painful she just wishes she could let go and not go through this.  There’s nothing to prepare you to watch her age 20 years overnight or wait for her hair to fall off while she tries to smile.

The truth is, I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t have been.

Mom has always been physically strong.  I could count on my right hand the number of times I’ve actually seen her sick in the past 30 years.  She’s a tough cookie, and not much knocks her down…..but this has.  And I don’t know what to do with that.

I don’t know how to do this….how does anyone?  I’ve cried myself to sleep,  begged God to offer relief and keep her safe.  I’ve taken her every good thing I can think of for comfort, and any food that she thinks she might keep down.  Since yesterday I have been running a high fever myself, which has kept me from having any contact with her for fear of giving her whatever I have.

This morning I left what I could on her front porch, and watched from behind my car window as her frail body slowly picked it up and waved back at me. I couldn’t hug her or tell it was going to be ok.  We were only 30 yards apart from each-other, but it felt so much farther. I never want to have to do that again. Ever.

If you’ve been through this, my friend, God bless you and the one you love.  May you find comfort down the road.  I hope to find it there too.

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