I know lots of people who have had chemotherapy.  I’ve prayed with them.  Celebrated with them when the chemo works and they experience remission or even the disappearance of cancer.  I’ve buried some of them when it didn’t work.

But until today, I’ve never seen chemo happen.  Never watched it begin.  Never been with a person when, for the first time, the orange liquid begins flowing down the long, long bendy-clear tube and into their arm.  I’ve never been with someone as they received chemo until today.

I’m not sure what I expected, but there was something breathtaking to the process all the same.  Realizing that as that liquid enters that person’s body for the first time, it will set about the destruction of targeted parts of their body.  Destroying in hopes that the body will regenerate in a healthy way.

Ironic.  The nurse cautioned the patient that should they feel any wetness, any sign of leaking with their intravenous setup, to let her know right away and not to touch it, not to rub it into their skin.  The chemicals inside that bag are so dangerous that you don’t want to touch them.  But we’re going to shoot them inside your body.  Because if we don’t, the unstated words hover,  you’ll probably die a lot sooner than if we do.  Not necessarily.  But probably.  

I’ve often wondered with my wife about what we would do if we were diagnosed with cancer.  Would we opt for chemo?  Would we try some naturopathic alternative, knowing that we might be gambling with our life?  So many variables to sift through, and in the end you can’t really know what you would do if and when it’s you lying in that hospital bed, hearing the doctors pronounce diagnosis.

As I have for every other person I’ve known with cancer, I’m praying those chemicals work.  Praying it does what the doctors hope that it will do.  Praying that God will work through this or around this to provide healing and remission and life.  But those prayers are a little different now.  Now that I’ve seen it begin.  Watched it happen.  Now that it’s another bit realer.  I can see that liquid moving from the protective bag that required two nurses to sign and authorize, down that long tube and into an arm.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to un-see it, and so I’ll see it every time I say a prayer for someone with cancer.  The slow, steady, silent drip drip drip when we poison someone in the hopes of giving them life.

2 Responses to “Chemo”

  1. Dianne Says:

    I was with my dear friend when she had her first chemo treatment. I was scared. She was fine and we talked, laughed and joked. The next day I was with her when she became violently ill. I held her head and wipped her brow with a damp wash rag. The next day she was her old self. I was with her for each chemo treatment. Her oncologist was a great doctor and prescribed the proper amount of chemo so we were able to go with my friend and her husband to watch their daughter participate in the Olympics. The cancer was in remission for several months. Then the dreaded call from her. Cancer reared it’s ugly head and said, “I’m back.” There was nothing to do. The cancer spread and chemo would do no good. I was with her when she took her last breath. I think of her a lot and pray I never get the dreaded “C” but if I do I hope to be as brave and strong as my friend.

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      Thanks for sharing. What a beautiful testimony to friendship and love, and the God who makes these things meaningful not just for the span of a few years or decades, but for eternity in Christ.

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