Thursday, May 25, 2017

The chair

I used to think flushing had to do with toilets or Meadows and tennis tournaments.

For almost two years I've had a new definition. It is that cute little thing planted in my chest that was used to deliver my chemo in 2015. I loved it because I have veins that run away from needles which meant I could be stuck up to eight times before each treatment. The port-a-cart was a single poke thru numbed skin.

Even though my last treatment was in early 2016 and I am reported to be cancer-free, a state I want to continue, the oncologist recommends keeping it in. It also needs to be "flushed" every six months, a relatively simple procedure of deadening the skin, inserting a needle, drawing blood, inserting sterile water--a few minutes at best.

Some people thought I was crazy when I said chemo was fun--the treatment itself was--not the weakness afterwards.

The wonderful nurses at HUG  (Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève) made each treatment almost like a tea party with terrible tea. It was a group of women sharing recipes and stories.

This week when I went in for my treatment instead of doing it at the nursing station, they took me to the chemo treatment room. They were rushed because the next day was a holiday and they were trying to get everyone in.

I saw my favorite nurse Marie-Odile, a treat.

They sat me in the chair where I had most of my treatments. The view of La Salève out the window was still rocky and beautiful. The room was still cheerful with its decorations. The atmosphere still cozy.

But I didn't want to be there. I wanted that part of my life to be over.

Then I reminded myself, it is over, as long as I do the checks. The women on each side of me still have a lot to face. I just hope it will be as all right for them as it has been for me. There is life after cancer.

I still don't want to sit in that chair, good memories or not.

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