On Thursday Elaine went in for her 4th of 8 every-three-week chemical infusions, a 4-hour exercise involving three very powerful drugs, followed by another 24 hours later. It is a communal event. A group of women sit together, each receiving a specific mixture. Some have been fighting cancer for 10 years or more. It goes into remission, then recurs. The doctors dig deeper and deeper into a limited arsenal to find something the cells will respond to. It is not a pleasant prospect.
A couple months ago I visited close friends, both oncologists, who now live in Truckee, CA, just outside Tahoe. Elaine was just beginning the chemo treatments. Larry told me, “The first round is the worst, because its unknown. After that, people say, “Well, it wasn’t pleasant, but I can get through this. Then around the 5th cycle, they’re literally sick to death of it and thinking, “Oh, just go ahead and shoot me!” Elaine’s not there, though.