Tales of Life & Death – Celebrating the Chemo


Someone I love is fighting with cancer. I have therefore decided to make that person, their life, and their battle my priority over the next few months. Under the name “Tales of Life & Death,” I’ll be sharing more from this journey.

The best piece of advice I got in the days leading up to the start of the chemotherapy was that we should “celebrate the chemo.”

I was talking on the phone with a good friend who beat breast cancer a few years ago. And as we were talking about her experience going through chemotherapy, she said that most important thing for her was to start appreciating chemotherapy – despite all of its nasty side effects and the burden it puts on both the patient and the family.

I was really surprised, but also curious to understand why. As my friend put it, the days/weeks during which the patient receives chemotherapy, are basically the time when the fight against cancer actually matters. Yes, chemo is full of chemicals that fuck up your body, but the chemo is also what makes the difference in the patient’s fight with cancer. If it wasn’t for the chemo, the cancer would keep doing its thing. But it’s because of the chemo why the patient is getting a chance. 

It’s a curse, but it’s also a blessing. So why not fully appreciate the blessing-side of it?  

I really liked this change of perspective. And one of the first things I did was to call the patient and to call the people around the patient to let them know that we should all look forward to the chemotherapy. That we should celebrate it, cherish it, appreciate it. And so we do. Chemo week has been the week we are eagerly longing for.

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