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

The Cure

by Kayla TremblettSurvivor, Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Grey Zone LymphomaAugust 18, 2020View more posts from Kayla Tremblett

January 2016

The plastic green chair beneath me squeaks as I move. I’m sitting at the end of the Day Hospital, inside Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, by a large bay window, overlooking the city of Toronto. A television quietly hums in the room, but I’m too distracted by the ominous grey clouds that circle the city to watch. I think it might rain today. Turning to my right, I glance over the five empty chairs that parallel mine; I’m glad no one is here today.

“Ms. Kayla Tremblett?” I raise my hand and nod as a petite nurse walks in with a large cylindrical tube on wheels. The nurse is wearing a white lab coat and black skinny jeans. She doesn’t look much older than me. A white label reads LIQUID NITROGEN: CAUTION on the side and top of the rolling container. The Day nurse comes over and explains to me how my stem cells will be re-introduced back into my body via IV. The petite nurse smiles and hands me three red and white mints.

“What are the mints for?” I ask, even though I know the answer. The nurses explain how the candy will help my taste buds during the procedure. I play with the plastic-wrapped candy in my palm.

Before the nurses start, my vitals are recorded. I stare out the window again. The clouds are swirls of white and purple, illuminating the dank cityscape below. I sigh loudly as the nurses hook me up. I watch the petite nurse in the white lab coat slide on two large yellow gloves. The large, thick, roughed-up gloves cover her small arms beyond her elbows. She opens the container of nitrogen. A bag holding a red liquid is removed. She explains to me that she will thaw the small bags of stem cells in a warm water bath. The water helps loosen up the frozen chunks of cells for easy transfusion.

Every person has a different amount of bags. I have three.

The petite nurse, while thawing out the first bag, tells me that each pouch will take one minute to infuse. In three minutes I’ll be done. Three minutes and I’m supposedly cured. I lean back as the nurses start infusing the first bag of cells.

My chest feels cold. I look out the bay window; I can see my reflection in the clear glass. The sky is a patchwork of grey and purple.

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