Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Chemo ended without a whole lot of fanfare. There was some confetti thrown, maybe a lot of confetti, but minimal fanfare. I'm actually happy I wasn't the one who had to clean up all of the confetti, but I thought given the circumstances I deserved to toss some paper into the air without regard to its sweeping.

Round fourteen brought with it the familiar aftershock that I was anticipating, but as expected I'm beginning to crawl back out of the tunnel and into the daylight. I'll admit that this time, even though it was a 5-day and when I finally got home I felt as if I had been hit by a truck, it wasn't quite like the thirteen rounds preceding it. I was aware that I had finally reached the end, and my adrenaline really carried me through. Over the past few days, I've revisited a lot of the journey in my mind, at least what I haven't blanked out, and it seems that exploring my memory will always be an unpredictably emotional ride.

Fourteen was always my number in basketball. I wore it ever since my dad told me about Oscar Robertson, the "Big O," and the way he forever changed the landscape of the game. Now, that number is forever changed for me. I still have tons of shirts and sweats, assorted gear with fourteen embroidered onto them, but I'm no longer able to think about one without the other. I have a bookcase littered with trophies and plaques from leagues, camps, and competitions, but they don't make certificates or medals for this. I have scars and cobwebs draped across lesions where pieces of my brain used to be, and apparently I've been left with an exaggerated flair for the dramatic.

Fourteen suddenly carries with it a lot more baggage than should a beacon of one's youth, a first love that taught me about dedication and hard work, and so many of the things that got me through fourteen rounds of chemo. I guess it's sort of fitting that it worked out that way, though I'd prefer to associate the things I love with joy rather than resentment. I'm hoping that over time, I'll learn to better appreciate this latest experience, since time is inevitably the eternal healer.

Just as quickly as chemo ended, radiation began. I like it that way, though, one thing right after the other. I don't need a whole lot of time to sit and reflect on the toxic wonder that is chemotherapy. From what I remember, it will be pretty hard to forget.