Saturday, January 28, 2012

The other chair

Today, I visited a dear friend of mine while she was receiving her first chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. Now, this isn't the first time I have visited others while they received their chemotherapy, I was surprised by the reactions I experienced today. So surprised in fact, that I find myself needing to blog about it tonight.

Today found me sitting in "the other chair" at a local oncology center.  The chair that sits next to the person who is receiving medications to eradicate any evidence of cancer from invading her life....ever again!

My first reaction was of incredible gratitude...some of the dearest people I know were all sitting in today's circle, offering encouragement and support to our dear friend who recently joined the " Survivor Sister Club."  I am so grateful for this group of women...our individual cancer journey's give us a unique bond, our belief in a mighty God--give us our strength.

My second reaction was when I saw it....It being the red chemo in a syringe also known as the "Red Devil." Suddenly, I felt like time creeped back to 3 years ago when I was sitting in the other chair.  As I watched the red liquid slowly make its way through the IV tubing, I could feel the nausea starting, soon followed by the familiar headache that often accompanied my chemo treatments.  The "icky" feeling of chemo dripping in my veins came back with such a vengeance. Oh, how I wanted to flee!   How can a person's body have such a physical reaction by just observing?   The mind is amazing...and so powerful!

My third reaction came when I was leaving the infusion center and I looked back at the chair I had been sitting.  I experienced an overwhelming sense of appreciation for those who sat in "the other chair" for me.  Today gave me a new appreciation on the challenge of being the person in "the other chair." The struggle of watching someone you love experiencing sickness and pain. The desire to make their road a bit easier. 

Tonight finds me giving praise and thanks to God...for the blessing of being able to sit in "the other chair!"

PS. please say a prayer for my friend...that her treatment side effects may be minimal.


Susan Stilwell said...

Praying for your friend, and praying for YOU as you share your journey and offer hope to people in both chairs!

Maryann said...

What a blessing you are to your friend for being willing to sit in that other chair while she recieves her treatment,praying for your friend and you

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

You were reliving your own trauma. That is so brave of you. I love how you look back with gratitude. Prayers for both you and your friend.

Play off the Page said...

I'd never thought about actually sitting in the other chair. James was there, every time I went for chemo. He made it look effortless to sit beside his wife, not knowing how things would turn out. It was brave of you to sit beside your friend and remember your own experiences.

God brought both of us through that time, and I pray He brings your friend through as well.


Julia Tomiak said...

Wow. Two things. First, I'm so impressed with your courage! My mother spent her last days in a nursing home, during the Christmas season, and I still can't go into a nursing home without feeling ill and terribly sad- I skip singing carols with the church youth group because the smells and sights disturb me so much. And it's been 16 years.

Second, on a lighter note, what great use of sensory details in your blog post! I've never received chemo, or sat in the other chair, but your description of the red liguid making its way through the tubing evoked a strong response in me. Good job!

What a great example of turning something difficult into a personal victory!


Robyn Campbell said...

Definitely praying for your pal, Kim. And I agree about the detail. I hope you are writing a book about all of this. It could help so many. You are one remarkable woman! (((hugs)))