Last night I had a chemo anxiety dream

I dreamt I went for my treatment and hadn’t brought the drugs I needed with me. With Canadian chemo all you need to bring is your arm and some anti-nausea meds you pay for out-of-pocket if you don’t have a drug plan. But my dreams are taking place in other parts of the world where you have to BYOCD, bring your own chemo drugs. The nurses in my dream were annoyed, and blamed me for contravening the BYO. I was sent away to find what I needed.

This dream was much less fun than the one my psyche had cooked up the night before, where I hung out with Barack Obama. He set me up with his fabulous, hair dresser. She did a great job cutting away all the dry purple and pink pieces a less talented stylist had convinced me to get. I then joined a number of women who worked with Obama, in a fight over a closet full of unattractive purple tweed suits. Yes, purple tweed suits.

In last night’s dream, home was messy and chaotic. It looked a lot like my parents’ condo, which is under renovation. Piles of ripped up flooring and dust. My drugs buried somewhere underneath it all. After frantic searching, I finally unearth the things I need. They include snacks because, as with economy air travel, chemo serves only juice and cookies (although occasionally there is soup made by volunteers.) In this detail, my dream is true to reality, although I bet there are ritzy private catered chemo parties somewhere in the world where they serve Bendamustine reductions drizzled over hot goat cheese.

When I get back to the dream hospital, which looks like a massive, overcrowded LaZ Boy showroom, there’s a lineup of folks with their carry-ons. I’m told I have missed my opportunity. "There will be no chemo for you today." I cry. I scream that it’s on the schedule, so it has to happen.

Like you do with dreams, I’ve gathered up a pack of fears, and stuffed them into this one. In part it’s my response to my friend in Rhode Island, whose sister has ovarian cancer. The doctors fucked up her care, and forgot one of her chemo treatments. They forgot. I’m outraged on her behalf. The cancer itself is enough of an insult. So, maybe this takes me to a place of never feeling secure or trusting anyone in this land of uncertainty, of statistically-based informed guesses, of reliance on ever precarious human competence. How can I not wonder, relentlessly, every minute, what hasn’t been done, or what’s been done wrong? What doctor, or nurse, or administrator has taken an urgent call from their mechanic, or their kid’s daycare, and forgotten to schedule a chemo treatment?

I must have had cancer dreams before I had cancer. But now that I actually have cancer, give me a break. It feels like overkill. But at least I don't have them every night. And every now and again, Obama and I get to spend a little time. He’s a nice guy. He’s sending lesbian athletes to represent him in Sochi. And that’s a dream come true. 

I wonder if they’ll be wearing purple tweed.

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