Chemo with Walter White

Taking chemo

My six month journey and my poison.

Tickle that cheek, and take your throne; pump your veins with gushing gold. — Glass Animals

On September 15, 2014, I took my first round of chemo for colon cancer. My treatment was FOLFOX6, a cocktail of Leucovorin, Fluorouracil (5-FU), and Oxaliplatin, for six months, infusions every other week. Each time I had a treatment, after the main infusion, I wore a pump which slowly pushed the 5FU into my veins for another 48 hours . Nausea and extreme aversion to cold, likely. Complete hair loss, unlikely. Neuropathy, likely.

Treatment began three weeks after emergency surgery for a complete bowel obstruction and a week long hospital stay. One week before treatment the surgeon implanted the chemo port in my chest.

I considered myself an old hand at chemo. I had helped my husband, Drew, through over two years of treatments before he passed away in July 2013.

Ah, but between the experiences of the support person and the patient — there lies an imposing gulf.

Friends were with me for most of my treatments, but my daughter stayed with her Dad for my treatment weeks, so at home I was alone. It was quiet.

A treatment or so into the ordeal, I watched the first episode of Breaking Bad. This was a series that had held absolutely no interest for me. I mean, why would I want to watch something about a high-school-chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-cooker?

Taking chemo with Walter

Bryan Cranston plays Walter White in AMC’s Breaking Bad

Walter White proved charming and addictive, and he drew close during my treatment.

I still have visions of the nurse’s face inches from mine, as she begins pushing the wicked-looking needle into the porto-cath in my chest. And there is a song that I associate with that vision and with the feeling the chemical infusion, Black Mambo by The Glass Animals:

Glass Animals

Glass Animals — Black Mambo video. — mesmerizing song — I recommend it. Gets to my feeling exactly.


(Verse 1)

What’ll it be now mister mole
Whispers sloth in curls of smoke
Take a back seat
Or play pharaoh
Dance with me
And shake your bones


Slow down
It’s a science
He’s been waiting
To bring you down
Snake eyed
With a sly smile
He can hold you
And shake you child

(Verse 2)

Leopards laze each
On plush pillows
Slender capes
Of red and chrome
Paperback dreams
In their deep doze
Twitch their toes to
Black mambo

Repeat Refrain
(Verse 3)

Wanna play cheat
Now says the sloth
A domino
Flush to his nose
Tickle that cheek
And take your throne
Pump your veins
With gushing gold

Repeat Refrain
We can hold you
We can hold you
We can hold you
We can hold you

***** Note: while the chemo chemicals I took were not really yellow, their cost put them past the price of gold.

4 Comments on Chemo with Walter White

  1. I never took any pics while spending time in “chemo class” as I lovingly? Refered to it. My cocktail of evil was bright cherry red….thank you for sharing your journey, stay well, K


  2. Hugs you for having experienced that ordeal. I have a great fear that such a fate lies down the road for me, as well. Colon cancer runs in my family. My dad passed away from it. His mother passed away from it. My older brother has had polyps removed from his colon.

    Due to my family history, I have regular colonoscopies every 5 years, so I’m no stranger to the whole routine of drinking that giant bottle of bowel cleansing stuff. But I hope never to have to go through what you have and I am so grateful that your eventual outcome fell upon the positive side of the tracks. The world is a much better place with you in it. And I am enriched having had the good fortune of you triumphing over that ordeal to be here in the present for me to meet and become your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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