Tuesday, April 23, 2019 continued. Em and I got on the elevator. I could feel the emotion beginning to swell and whirl around me like a warm summer breeze. It made me light-headed. I was on my way to say goodbye to a group of caregivers I’d come to love in a deep and soulful way. They watched over me and cared for me as I allowed myself to be infused with mean and nasty liquids that seeped into every part of me leaving me shrunken, weakened, vulnerable, fragile, nauseous, brain-addled and bald with sensitive skin. They were careful that every ounce of pre-meds they gave were for me, scanning my wristband for each. They had me double-check that my name and birthdate were on the bags of the Taxol and Carboplatin they administered. They constantly asked if I was okay, did I need a warm blanket, something to drink.
Em sat with me as Caroline removed the access line from my port, and we all rejoiced with broad smiles that I was finished with chemo. Steve came off the elevator with the gift bag and the three of us went into the infusion area to find Lisa and the other oncology nurses.
I’ve been thinking about my oncology nurses a lot. They truly are angels on earth. And I wanted to express my appreciation with a little token of thanks—a beautiful plate of dried fruit and nuts along with a couple bottles of Prosecco. You know, something good and sweet and nutritious. And something a little naughty, because we all need to cut loose once in awhile and those oncology nurses deserve it. I included a card that had a lovely little illustration of a black and white cat with shimmering angel wings sitting face forward. Inside I wrote:
I just can’t say it enough—thank you for taking such good care of me these past few months.
Your patient, kind and nurturing attention provided me a safe environment to battle with this demon called cancer. In spite of the grim circumstances, every Tuesday you made me laugh and feel at ease.
I don’t know how you do what you do every day. I’m just grateful to my core that you chose this profession and that I, like so many others, are the benefactors.
Be well. I’ll miss you.
My announcement that my time with them had come to an end was met with laughter and celebratory hugs and tears. Lots of tears. I told them I loved them and I would miss them. They were all so happy for me. It was hard to walk away, but we did. We were headed home from infusion for the last time. True recovery had begun.
Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom? But we hope it; we know it. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe