The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.


by JVPatientJanuary 13, 2022View more posts from JV

It’s Tuesday, and I’m scheduled for another chemo day. I look excited, happy and hopeful, which shows in my cute outfits for chemo, how I carry a lot of energy filming and taking pictures trying to document the entire experience, and how I just look like an innocent lady who has no idea how cruel the world can be since I am the youngest patient in the room. 

The nurse would call me, and here we go, another round of treatment, which is like going to war. I walk into the hallway, and they greet me with warmth and all smiles; when I walk into the room, it’s like everything lights up. I don’t know if it’s me who has the ability to bring light into that room or the team who makes me believe that there is hope (or it probably works both ways). I hide some emotions all to myself: how scared and terrified I am, and when I see all these people around me, my mom, my nurses, the assistants and my doctor, it’s like there is no way for me to show these vulnerabilities. I have to soldier on, be strong, and be brave, bold and fearless — there you go, you little warrior. You don’t have to be brave for all of it, but you have to be brave enough for this.

Then the treatment starts. There goes the poke, here comes the fluids, first the premedications; I can feel the tingling sensation, like a radioactive energy creeping into me, preparing me for a major transformation. Though it makes me weak, I have to fight, remember this is war, and in this very moment, my body is a battlefield. Then there goes the main event: target therapy drugs being infused, followed by the killer chemotherapy medication; we’re talking about bags of these drugs. I tell my body, “Hey, be strong, take it all in, because though it may feel like they are the ones that are going to kill you, if you win, they are the ones that would keep you alive.” There’s no way out — I have to win. When the session is up, I feel like I am being transformed into a superhero. I feel like I’m Supergirl.

Then I go home, when you think that it’s all over and done. You are wrong; that’s just the first part of the war, because real war happens right after the infusion. This time, it’s you versus the body. Again, there’s no way out — you have to win. The first few days I feel mighty and strong. It’s like I can do anything in this world, like I can save myself here, there and all at once. But after a few days, I become a captive of my very own body and cancer itself. Supergirl’s mask and cape are wearing off, and the superpowers become weak. 

First is fatigue; I feel restless, and then there’s pain. I’m feeling beaten up, and everything just hurts, then I start to be resistant to anything, withdrawing myself from everyone and from almost everything. I would tell my bed everything I felt. If only the pillows could talk, then it would know everything; my secrets, my emotions and all the things words can’t say to my own self and to others. This is when my guard is down, and I remove my armor. My surrender. I feel powerless, but then, sometimes being brave also means giving in to your own kryptonite and allowing yourself to be weak. I take my time to recover and gain enough strength. Then, my mask is on, guard’s up once again and ready to fight over and over again just like what I’m built for — Supergirl.

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