Don’t panic

Let me ask you, who willingly chooses to drink poison?

I do! Once every three weeks. Mind you, I’d prefer another option. I’m longing for that elusive targeted thereapy. But if it’s a choice between controlling the cancer or being controlled by the cancer, then I’ll take the poison. Having now spent nine months in regular chemo, you’d think that I’d be pretty cool with it by now. I know roughly what’s coming. There aren’t too many surprises. Well, at least there weren’t until last time.

As the chemo flowed into my veins, I found myself tensing up. My heart rate increased and my breathing laboured. I just wanted to pull out the tubes, get free and run out of there. The treatment only takes a couple of hours, but suddenly that seemed like a lifetime. I felt trapped and I started to panic. I knew it wasn’t rational, but it was real nonetheless and I needed to deal with it. So here’s what I did – three things:

  1. Prayed. Dear God, please help me. I’m not handling this. Please help me relax.
  2. Breathed. I concentrated on controlling my breathing so as to calm myself down.
  3. Listened to music. I put in my headphones and distracted myself with some James Morrison and Eva Cassidy.

I have a hunch, based on what others going through chemo have experienced, that this might not be the last time I’m tempted to panic. So I’ll keep talking to God about it, I’ll keep breathing, and I’ll make sure the iPod is charged.

(first published in on 16/10/12)

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