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Arrive at MISTI at 9:15 a.m. My mom drops me off on the street corner. I wave good bye and send her on her way.

I stroll into the Chemo Lounge and it’s like Cheers “Jodeen! Hi, how are you?!” The atmosphere is generally happy and there’s a lot of laughter. My ladies and I laugh a lot during my treatment.

My favorite woman who seems to be the head of the program is great. Chit chat, catch up, port access which involves plunging a needle thru the port into your body to then hook the tubing up to the bags of drugs. So many bags of drugs. All clear, unassuming. Could all be saline, But, oh no, they are not…

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You can do the drip in a space age bark o lounger or in a bed. I always choose a bed in a window bay. Sunlight pouring in and on this day followed by an epic rainstorm. My favorite.

Special wrist bands strapped to you which need to be scanned every time they change bags. Asking you each time “What is your name? What is your date of birth?”

Making sure they are giving you the proper cocktail.

Took well over an hour to actually get hooked up and then we were on our way. First thing, I take Tylenol to prime the pump. Two capsules.

First bag: Perjeta a new chemo drug for HER2-Positive breast cancer. On the drip for an hour. Occasional sensations of liquid nitrogen flowing through my veins. Softly, but pushing open the veins and capillaries. Making room for the drugs to flow through.

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Second bag: Herceptin. Another chemo. Another hour drip. A slow motion swirly stirring of the depths. Ink added to water and watching it spread out and become dense, saturated.

A saline flush. A palate cleanser. The sorbet.

Then premeds before the Taxol, the heavy hitter.

A small bag of the steroid Dexamethazone which is used to control inflammation from the chemo drugs.

I have a low threshold for steroids, so I am on a super low dose, which I will gradually be weaned off of. Last time I did this I didn’t sleep for 3 days and ended up in the hospital. Dr. duly noted this…

The next bag is Pepcid to aid in curbing nausea that can accompany the chemo drugs. Then Benadryl. This all takes 45 minutes. The swirlyness infiltrating deeper in to the interior. The inside of your body is liquid and then you are also floating in liquid, but there is a thin glass wall that separates the two. Like an aquarium full of water resting inside a bigger aquarium full of water and you are having the experience of being in both tanks simultaneously.

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A quick saline flush and then the Taxol for an hour and 10 minutes.

As the Taxol moves in the swirls feel heavier like sand or sediment instead of ink. Skin prickling ever so slightly. Hair gently raising and swaying on head and body.

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There is a moment where all of the colors in the room dial a couple of notches brighter, everything inanimate and mechanical in this room is breathing in as natural a way as trees and grass and animals.

Medical world no longer frightening. No longer “other”, just a different flavor of healing.

I invite the drugs in, asking them to do a deep cleaning. I will not fight them, but work with them. Allow and trust.

Finally six hours later I am sent home.

Note to self: Don’t ever eat hospital food. Call in a friend favor next time.

The rain has stopped and the light is spectacular. It would be under normal conditions, but in my current state it is almost too much to take in. So much beauty. The steroids have me rather hopped up, in a not unpleasant way. I do laundry, write, eat, go for a walk, pay bills, listening to music. The windows open and the rain pouring down, then the sun coming out. Again and again. This flow. It’s great actually. If only the whole experience could be like this…but I know the roller coaster is heading up the hill and eventually it will tip over the edge and then….I have no idea…

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No projection. No anticipation This is s different cocktail. I am in a different place. It is a unique and new experience. Like it is for every single person and their how they walk through their life and the different challenges that are placed before them. Uniquely theirs, even as there is a level of understanding that we can glean from it.. The beauty of telling and sharing stories. To find insight and shared human experience.

Right now is all I know, and this is a really pleasant way to spend an evening.

One down. Eleven to go.