It sounds just like a Polaroid camera.
Every 90 seconds or so, it “snaps another picture.”
It’s actually the chemo pump that I’m wearing for 46 hours or so this week. Each “snapshot” is another little dose released.
Snap. Snap. Snap.
Don’t remember the name of the chemical. It’s the third in a triad of medications being released into my system to hunt down any wandering cancer cells from the cancerous tumor removed last month along with about six inches of bowel. This third chemical evidently doesn’t get along well with the others if administered simultaneously. And so it gets its own party. She said it’s derived from the same substance as mustard gas. Comforting. They send me home with a box that is essentially a hazmat kit in case anything happens. Lovely.
Fortunately the box is in almost all cases called a “car box” – because that’s where it stays throughout the time of the pump’s use, because nothing untoward ever happens. Here’s to not being unique.
They said on the phone that the pump is the size of a TV remote. They must have been talking about a 50’s TV. It’s more like the ultimate remote. A new ball and chain.
But take none of this for complaining, whimpering or whining. An eight-year-old girl I know enduring a much harder chemo path would call me a total wuss (and I think already has) – not to mention my now almost 21-year-old daughter who went through a full year of much sterner stuff.
No, I kiss my pump and all that it represents. Through it and the chemical it infuses – and its other incompatible companions – something much deeper is being purged than potential cancer cells. I feel it, even though I can’t fully identify what it – they – is – are. Peter says that “he who has suffered in his body is done with sin, and as a result he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” I like Petersen’s rendering: “Think of sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”
Purged of a relentless tyranny of self. That’s what this whole process is to me. Anemia. Cancer. Surgery. Chemo. My own current Via Dolorosa – but one ultimately marked more by joy and freedom than pain. Each IV, each line but a tether to grace. And twelve chemo rounds becoming for me twelve stations of my own cross, infusing life. Waking up before 5 AM this morning with a sudden foreboding, the words of Mark 16 flashed across my mind: “And if they drink any deadly thing it will do them no harm.” Made me smile. And then I listened for it.
Snap. Snap. Snap.
Suddenly I saw Abba’s face. How good you are, Abba. How good. In what creative, unexpected and even undesired and toxic ways your goodness comes. Infusions of grace.
Through a pump.