This week starts chemo session 10 of 12. I’m anxious to be done, get new scans and possibly start radiation. I would love to tell you the type of radiation but I’m deep in the throes of “chemo brain” and anything more complicated than making myself tea with milk or lemon confuses me. I’ve actually made tea with both and It doesn’t taste too good.
I spend about two days prior to chemo getting my chemo bag ready. It seems all chemo patients have their own recipe for a proper chemo bag and I have my own recipe as well.
The first thing that goes into the bag is my laptop and phone. God forbid I’m without the ability to see who had a tuna sandwich on Facebook! The second is a very generous supply of salty carbs and an apple (as per Dr. Schmoopy), ice tea, ginger hard candies for nausea, cheese sticks which could survive the apocalypse and still be good and whatever else I find on the floor of my backseat that looks good. Lastly I have a small blanket to counter the cold feeling you get from chemo over the 6 or 7 hours that I’m there. I’m amazed at what I see coming out of others chemo bag. A large bag of produce, multiple water bottles, candy, potato chips, a fan, a queen size quilt, slippers and nail polish . These bags remind me of Mary Poppins bag. Mary Poppins was able to get her entire arm into her bag and pull out a floor lamp! I haven’t tried that yet but I’m not a big fan of floor lamps..
When you stop and think about the importance of a well stocked chemo bag and the effort that goes into preparing it, I believe it gives us a sense of control. Going through this journey, all the autonomy is essentially taken away from you. You have put yourself in the hands of others. If your anything like me and a control freak, this is no easy task. And so dear readers, the point of all this is: I obviously have no control over what drugs to take. I have no control over how long I will live. I have no control over the side effects despite the ginger, the pomegranate juice, the compote (thank you Grammy), the nausea meds or the pain meds. I have no control over the stress I am putting my family and my posse through. Preparing our chemo bags gives us back some brief sense of control.
My Sac de Ballet was a very pretty faux shiny patent leather bag with a ballerina on the front. The first day I got it I thought it was the most perfect bag anyone ever had. I had to decide what exactly was going into the bag besides my leotards and shoes. I really had nothing else to fill it with so I had to improvise to make it heavy and seem important. I decided a small portable radio, a picture of David Cassidy in a popsicle stick frame and Little House on the Prairie ( the entire series) books, and last but not least, a baloney and cheese sandwich on Wonder Bread . Just in case…