The First Chemotherapy Treatment

The First Chemotherapy Treatment

They brought me back to my private suite for chemo, and it was very comfy. Reclining chair, TV, you can turn the lights off and relax, perfection. Well, it was until the first chemo drug…

They started the treatment by loading my IV up with Benadryl and anti-nausea meds, which made me sleepy, but I was relaxed and ready. About 30 minutes after they dropped in the first chemo drug, I started to feel like I had really bad heartburn, I felt flush and like my throat was a little tight. I wasn’t too concerned, but I pressed the call button, and a nurse came in. I explained what was up, and suddenly there were four nurses whirling around, asking questions and giving clear directives. They called my medical oncologist, then they paused my chemo drug, gave me more Benadryl, waited thirty minutes, then restarted my chemo at a slower rate and then increased it gradually, no issues after that!

After the first chemo drug was restarted, and I was feeling very loopy, a black woman walked in with a guitar. Yes, you read that right. She started asking me seemingly random questions, then introduced herself and told me she is a music therapist. She asked if I knew what that was, and I laughed and told her yes, and that I was a musician as well. We started talking about our backgrounds, what instruments we both play, and so on. She asked me what bass players or genres influenced me, and I told her that my absolute favorites were James Jamerson, Charles Mingus and Paul Chambers. We talked about Jaco, Carol Kaye and Motown. Along the way, we talked about how white artists in the 50’s and 60’s were heavily influenced by the blues and jazz world – black culture – and how the black artists who originated these sounds weren’t in a position to – or in some cases allowed to – bring their incredible music to a wider audience. She summed it up perfectly by playing a song by a local artist; the black man make it, the white man take it.

We talked for about 45 minutes, and then DING! the machine told us that my infusion was complete. That was an unexpected and serendipitous moment in life, and while I certainly am not a fan of cancer, that was a welcome respite from the day to day of treatment. So, my thanks to her.

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