I was seeing a psychologist on occasion after my treatments were completed. Her office was right next to the oncology reception, and along the way to one of my chemo treatment rooms. I expressed to her on several occasions that, “I hate coming here, because it reminds me of that miserable time I spent on this floor.” I would get weak in the knees, like when some of us see a bloodied body. Chills all over, I’d fold my arms across my chest to help carry the disgust. “I don’t want to be here, or see this place any more.”
Mariano told me our treatment appointments often coincided with a man who would bring in his wife for similar treatments. At first, we would all walk into the hospital together, and head to our respective chemo or radiation treatment room. Within a few weeks, both our faces paled, and signs of frailty were visible. Our husbands would haul us in with wheelchairs; we had not an ounce of strength to walk to the elevator.
For about a month-and-a-half, radiation would coincide with my chemotherapy. There were twenty-five sessions of radiation – five days a week for five consecutive weeks. My second and third chemo sessions fell on the first and last week of radiation. My time at the hospital, for those daily concurrent sessions, was about forty-five minutes above the normal three hours or so.
The entrance at the back of the hospital I normally took for chemotherapy was the same for radiation, but I would have to walk through a few corridors to get to the right elevators for the fourth floor – it seemed like a maze.
The elevators for radio-oncology were quite slow, so it was frustrating if you had just missed one. People would wait any way, and then scramble to get into a crowded small space. The lack of air was almost unbearable, but with the way I was feeling, there was no way I could take the stairs.
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