I had my second chemo treatment exactly ten years ago today--Friday, January 2, 1998. My parents had taken me to the first one, back on December 18. A girl named Michelle who'd lived on my floor the year before drove me to this second one. My doctor was extremely upbeat when he found out I'd never been sick after the first treatment.
"That's great! he kept saying, and told me that if one is going to be sick at all, one would be sick the first time. "So," he smiled, "if you didn't get sick at all the first time, I'd say that's a pretty good sign you probably won't get sick."Two treatments in, I was beginning to be surprised that Having Cancer wasn't a continuously grueling ordeal every moment of every day. I was about to start the second quarter of my sophomore year at SPU, trying to maintain as many of my routines (school, work, campus volunteer activities) as I could and amazed that it looked surprisingly possible. With two down and ten to go, I was 17% done with chemo already.
More than anything, I was beginning to be humbly astounded at how many people were adamant about wanting to do what they could to help me. I've always tended to be a shy kind of person, standing on the sidelines dragging my toe awkwardly through the dust and assuming nobody likes me. So I was taken aback that so many people who were so much cooler, smarter, more popular, prettier, richer, more spiritual, and funnier than me--in my own true opinion--were genuinely enthusiastic about wanting to help me out.
I was also beginning to be flattered (and slightly uneasy) by the number of people who were already telling me I was inspirational, strong, and brave. Some had already started appropriating my cancer fight as a parable for whichever sermon or object lesson they happened to want to tell. At the time I remember being flattered and proud to be so recognized; but I remember a stirring of discomfort with that aspect of it, too.
And meanwhile I was secretly mourning that the boy I had a crush on had started dating someone else.