I’ll admit it: I was apprehensive about the chemo. Some decades ago a female relative of mine—not long married, infant daughter—was diagnosed with cancer and subjected to the treatments of the time, both radiology and chemotherapy. The results were appalling. She lost her hair; her face and body shape changed horribly; she became immobile. The little infant daughter couldn’t understand what was happening to her mommy, and no one could explain to her. When the poor woman died at last, everyone in the family murmured, “Thank God!” to each other, usually followed by something like, “If I get what she had, please please someone put a pillow over my face.”
These things are much better calibrated now. I doubt anyone’s ever going to enjoy chemo, but it’s a long way from the horror show of that childhood memory. What happens is, you go to a 20-by-20-foot room with Barcaloungers set around the sides. Next to each Barcalounger is an IV stand on wheels. You sit in one of the Barcaloungers and roll up a sleeve. A nurse pierces a vein in your arm and fixes a grommet in it, with a tube leading up to the IV bag. Then you sit there for anything from two to six hours—bring a good book—while every so often the nurse comes over to change bags.