Here I Am

Here I Am
I remember when my daughter performed at a talent show at her school. I’d just had my fourth round of chemotherapy, and my condition was critical. For me, every chemo session had its own little life cycle, each with a unique set of challenges and logistics. Because of insurance issues, I couldn’t get treatment locally. So, during the first part of my cycle, my husband, Gary, and I drove to the hospital located many hours south of where we lived. My sisters would come to our home to care for our daughter, and during their stay, they cleaned house like Mary Poppins on steroids. Maybe karma was finally paying them back for the time they got to see "Bambi" at the movie theater and I had to stay home to take a nap. While that travesty happened over 40 years ago, I’m happy to see the score settled at last. My chemo infusions took about seven hours, after which Gary and I stayed in a hotel. I’d be jacked up on the steroids included in my chemo cocktail, so at four in the morning, I always found myself staring at an unfamiliar ceiling while my husband snored or mumbled in his sleep. The next day, we’d head back to the hospital so I could get a $40,000 shot in my belly before we headed north again. During the long drive home, I’d worry. I worried about the cost of bridge tolls, the cost of hotel rooms, the cost of those mysterious shots, and the cost of the arsenal of nausea-fighting meds that weren’t covered by insurance. “We’ll figure it out,” Gary always told me. “Just survive.” Halfway home, we’d stop to eat and I’d pick at a baked potato while Gary indulged his robust appetite. Then, four days after chemo, my period of quarantine kicked in. During this segment of my cycle, my onco
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