Up close – Funny, How I Reacted to Chemo
Ella Tan | On 31, Jan 2015
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo chemo- and radiation therapies, many friends sent me Christian-type books to prepare me for the coming trial. My dear brother-in-law sent me a book of jokes instead. It was not even a book of Christian jokes – just plain, even slightly wicked ones. I remember thinking – does he expect me to still have the energy or disposition to laugh? But laugh I did, all the way through the treatment. And I share with you some of the lighter moments.
After the mastectomy and removal of the lymph nodes, I had to do certain physiotherapy exercises, one of which involved flapping my arms like wings. I did this even while I walked. My kids laughed and said that chemotherapy had made mummy so strong that she would rather fly than walk!
I also had a breast implant and this new asset is sitting pert and pretty although for many weeks after the surgery, it reminded me of something familiar but I could not pinpoint what. It was my husband who hit the nail right on the head (ouch!).
One day, after thoughtfully examining my breast implant, he announced – it is like a computer mouse pad – the type with a silicon bump on which you can rest your wrist.
I graciously told him that he is welcome to rest his wrist there whenever he wants to. It is an arrangement that suits us both fine and proof that marriage and romance can flourish even after a mastectomy.
For chemotherapy, I usually took a medical taxi to the hospital while my husband worked and minded the kids. The taxi driver is from the village, and more a friend than a driver (and secretly), he treated me better than my husband did. He carried my bags, opened doors for me and would have laid his coat down should I ever have had to cross a puddle. While waiting for the treatments, he asked, every once in a while, whether I was hungry and offered to buy me hot chocolate and croissants.