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Woman Takes Her Daughter For Chemo Treatment

May 18, 2010
By Bonnie Jarvis-Lowe, R.N., Retired From “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book”

"Cinnamon Hearts And Rocky Mountains"

"It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sunbeams pour in through the windows, warming the room and giving it a cheery atmosphere. In the distance, I can see the stately Rocky Mountains, appearing deceptively close in the morning mist. People lie in huge, comfortable reclining chairs, their voices soft and muted, interrupted by an occasional beep. Enjoying the taste of a tiny cinnamon candy, I sit and soak up the glorious vista before me.

Then, a quiet voice brings me back to where I really am, and why.

"Mom, can you please adjust the blinds? The sun is shining in my eyes."

Turning to my daughter, I notice that the sunlight is directly in her face. As I rise to adjust the blinds, the reality of our situation pierces my whole being.

We're in a treatment room in a large Calgary hospital. Each of the large, blue chairs holds someone receiving intravenous therapy, enabling these people to regain their health and move on with their lives.

A young man studying the lines of a play in which he has a role is receiving a much-needed anti-rejection drug. A grandfather receiving blood transfusions has a photo of his grandson taped to the IV pole. My daughter is receiving chemotherapy for the malignancy that has invaded her young body. Her purse holds an angel given to her by my sister to accompany her to treatments and various appointments.

The intravenous flow control pumps - so familiar to me from my years of nursing - hum, beep and blink their miniature lights like futuristic, decorative trees. My daughter is settled in a chair at the end of the line, surrounded by her much loved books, yet constantly observing her fellow patients, chatting with her nurses and occasionally reaching for her candy dish, filled with tiny red cinnamon hearts. A kind mother, whose son had undergone treatment, has told her that the cinnamon flavor will disguise the chemical taste caused by chemotherapy.

So many of those ailing people and their worried family members are sharing tips and stories. I've seen it often as a nurse and admired it so much. Now the situation is reversed, and I am the family member appreciating these tips, and my daughter is the patient.

We share anything helpful, anything that might ease the hurt for someone else. When I adjust the blinds, my eyes are drawn to the candy dish on the table connected to my daughter's chair. A tiny, dazzling sunbeam glistens off its shiny rim. The sun's warmth causes the red candy to emit the sweet smell of cinnamon. It's a smell of special occasions: mulled apple cider at Christmas time, stirred with a cinnamon stick, warm cinnamon rolls my daughter enjoys after skiing, and the smell of her favorite loaf I used to make. I decide to make it again soon.

As I remember these occasions, I am filled with heartache, but I won't let my daughter notice.

Never once have I heard her ask, "Why me?" I've never seen her be anything but pleasant to those she meets in this room or anywhere else in the hospital.

She shares her cinnamon hearts, telling her fellow patients, "Mom got lucky, they're on sale after Valentine's Day," which makes those around her smile. I cannot help but admire her courage.

She is the young wife whose wedding pictures show a healthy, athletic, beautiful bride. She is the mother of a smart, equally beautiful 3-year-old child, and she is my daughter who spreads words of encouragement to all she meets. I cannot help but be impressed by how patiently she sits for five hours while her life-saving medications are administered.

Peeking through the blinds a little later, I see that the mist has disappeared from the Rockies' peaks. The mountains look like the rock candy we had as children; the cinnamon hearts show their red blush and share their wonderful scent. Put it all together, and it is a healing recipe for the soul.

I am in a room full of fear and courage, with a smiling, but very ill, daughter. And I have cinnamon hearts and Rocky Mountains. It is a moment to remember forever."Cinnamon Hearts And Rocky Mountains"

By Bonnie

Jarvis-Lowe,

R.N., Retired

From "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book"

"It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sunbeams pour in through the windows, warming the room and giving it a cheery atmosphere. In the distance, I can see the stately Rocky Mountains, appearing deceptively close in the morning mist. People lie in huge, comfortable reclining chairs, their voices soft and muted, interrupted by an occasional beep. Enjoying the taste of a tiny cinnamon candy, I sit and soak up the glorious vista before me.

Then, a quiet voice brings me back to where I really am, and why.

"Mom, can you please adjust the blinds? The sun is shining in my eyes."

Turning to my daughter, I notice that the sunlight is directly in her face. As I rise to adjust the blinds, the reality of our situation pierces my whole being.

We're in a treatment room in a large Calgary hospital. Each of the large, blue chairs holds someone receiving intravenous therapy, enabling these people to regain their health and move on with their lives.

A young man studying the lines of a play in which he has a role is receiving a much-needed anti-rejection drug. A grandfather receiving blood transfusions has a photo of his grandson taped to the IV pole. My daughter is receiving chemotherapy for the malignancy that has invaded her young body. Her purse holds an angel given to her by my sister to accompany her to treatments and various appointments.

The intravenous flow control pumps - so familiar to me from my years of nursing - hum, beep and blink their miniature lights like futuristic, decorative trees. My daughter is settled in a chair at the end of the line, surrounded by her much loved books, yet constantly observing her fellow patients, chatting with her nurses and occasionally reaching for her candy dish, filled with tiny red cinnamon hearts. A kind mother, whose son had undergone treatment, has told her that the cinnamon flavor will disguise the chemical taste caused by chemotherapy.

So many of those ailing people and their worried family members are sharing tips and stories. I've seen it often as a nurse and admired it so much. Now the situation is reversed, and I am the family member appreciating these tips, and my daughter is the patient.

We share anything helpful, anything that might ease the hurt for someone else. When I adjust the blinds, my eyes are drawn to the candy dish on the table connected to my daughter's chair. A tiny, dazzling sunbeam glistens off its shiny rim. The sun's warmth causes the red candy to emit the sweet smell of cinnamon. It's a smell of special occasions: mulled apple cider at Christmas time, stirred with a cinnamon stick, warm cinnamon rolls my daughter enjoys after skiing, and the smell of her favorite loaf I used to make. I decide to make it again soon.

As I remember these occasions, I am filled with heartache, but I won't let my daughter notice.

Never once have I heard her ask, "Why me?" I've never seen her be anything but pleasant to those she meets in this room or anywhere else in the hospital.

She shares her cinnamon hearts, telling her fellow patients, "Mom got lucky, they're on sale after Valentine's Day," which makes those around her smile. I cannot help but admire her courage.

She is the young wife whose wedding pictures show a healthy, athletic, beautiful bride. She is the mother of a smart, equally beautiful 3-year-old child, and she is my daughter who spreads words of encouragement to all she meets. I cannot help but be impressed by how patiently she sits for five hours while her life-saving medications are administered.

Peeking through the blinds a little later, I see that the mist has disappeared from the Rockies' peaks. The mountains look like the rock candy we had as children; the cinnamon hearts show their red blush and share their wonderful scent. Put it all together, and it is a healing recipe for the soul.

I am in a room full of fear and courage, with a smiling, but very ill, daughter. And I have cinnamon hearts and Rocky Mountains. It is a moment to remember forever.

 
 

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