Chemotherapy for Christmas


Tuesday 23rd December

A room is ready in the ward at 4:00pm for my son, and I will be staying with him for two nights. He is to have two bags of saline to flush through his system tonight, (six hours each), then the chemotherapy starts in earnest early tomorrow.

He lays on the bed looking at the internet or the television. He eats a small sandwich for supper, then decides it is time to sleep.

He becomes really upset and devastated, when he looks on the bed and realises that he is starting to lose his hair.

No bald patches, just many, many hairs appearing on the bedcovers.

He does not sleep well at all, tossing and turning for most of the night. The saline bag is changed at 3am, and we are still awake! A little after five he tells me we need to talk. There is such a lot of hair on his sheet.

“I’m going to die. That’s why my body is shutting down. You can’t cheat death. I’m dying. Just let me die. There’s no point any more. Just respect my wishes and let me die. I don’t want anyone to see me”

This shouldn’t be happening. Not on Christmas Eve, not now, not ever.

The saline bag is changed at 8:45am, and then the cocktail of chemotherapy commences.

10 minutes of chemo, 1 hour chemo, 10 mins flush, 6 hours chemo, 10 mins flush, 3 x 6 hours chemo. Twenty-five and a half hours, if there are no breaks, and no waiting or delays in between. We should be finished some time after 11am ish, tomorrow.

During the day both my husband and younger son come to see us, staying a few hours, talking, cuddling and just passing the time, keeping us company.

It is a strange and different Christmas Eve. There are no decorations or tree in the ward. I suppose people in the hospital with cancer don’t really have a ‘Happy Christmas’, they just come here to have their chemotherapy, lose their hair, and be sick. Nothing really to celebrate.

But, we will be going home. To celebrate. To be with family. To laugh. To love. To live.

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