What to Wear to Chemo

February 9th, 2011

Photo by Nelson

Long dark plum sweater with green/mustard/white floral hand embroidery-NYC flea market, vintage mustard velvet hat and vintage mustard fabric gloves-estate sales, with the foundation of contemporary black boots, pants and turtleneck.

‘You present a complicated picture,’ are the words from Nelson’s oncologist.  The PET scan indicates disease progression, which then involves more decisions.  Nelson’s chemo dose will be increased, but not to the full standard dosage because of concerns about his liver numbers.  So poison is the first line of defense, and consultation with specialists and Nelson’s wishes will determine the path forward.  The options of cut, burn and poison are included in most cancer treatment protocols. I long for the day when less brutal choices are the reality for the many afflicted with this disease.  I am thankful for treatments which can produce remissions, but the methods can be as influential and painful as the disease. Surely there will be more gentle possibilities in the future.

I have decided to discontinue adding numbers to the ‘What to Wear to Chemo’ series, as it’s misleading and only indicates the number of chemo treatments that Nelson has endured since the launch of Style Crone.  The total number over a six year period is about 75.  Researching the exact number does not deserve focus.  Today is the first time that I heard Nelson say to his physician, ‘I’m starting to feel like a sick person.’  With a heavy heart I experienced the moment as if we were watching ourselves in a film and not one for which we had auditioned.

Today in the chemo lounge an entirely new cast is on the set.  A woman with a bright yellow tee and an equally bright yellow textured scarf travels by with her chemo pump, tubes and transparent fluid filled plastic bags.  A  striking  young woman walks by encumbered with similar equipment, with a vibrant long purple, lavender and black striped scarf with fringe.  I am touched by the efforts and remarkable courage of these women; they have added a touch of splendor to the intense experience of this gathered collective.  I am reminded of my yoga teacher’s statement, ‘Find something that you like about this pose.’  Today The Style Crone finds beauty and inspiration in these women in this moving picture in this much too expansive room.

10 Responses to “What to Wear to Chemo”

  1. LindaG

    Oh, dear Judith. You look so magnificent in this photo, and I am unspeakably moved by the contrasts you present us with, and by the dignity and clarity you maintain through all of this. I do not possess a fraction of your grace, but through your words–and the absolute radiance that you and Nelson send through this blessed cyberspace–I can aspire to. I do not pray TO a diety, but I pray FOR the end of suffering for all beings. You and Nelson remain at the top of my list tonight.

  2. Rose

    I’m so sorry at this turn of events. I agree with LindaG in that you have shown us both visually and with emotions what your life is like, and it is a very moving testiment. How brave you both are, and unfortunately, how brave you have to be.

    Love from England

  3. Judy

    I’m so sorry for your ongoing pain and fear. At least that is what I would feel. I cannot help but feel more grounded and more concerned with reality from reading your blog. I am certain there are many who need prayers and I think I will just begin to pray daily for you and Nelson, for your daughter, and for the rest who might need it.

  4. SizzleandZoom

    Your blog has brought inspiration in so many ways. Your strength and Nelson’s
    courage as you live through this challenging time. Your style perfection. Your
    attitude with grace and thankfullness. What a blessing in my life that I found
    you and Nelson.

  5. Rebecca

    The other comments totally express my feelings towards you, Nelson and your wonderful
    Style Crone blog. Warm and positive vibes are heading your way from so many directions!

  6. carolyn

    I can see you standing behind this gorgeous exterior, filled with all the emotions that comes with playing this hand. It is a play you two didn’t want to be in, and here you are, heroes in your own stories.

    Keep making your art with your clothing/armor/amore and telling your stories with your short and very truth telling words. We are with you both! And we need to hear your story.
    Love C&B

  7. puncturedbicycle

    I often want to comment on these lovely, moving posts but don’t know what to say. You are in my thoughts and my heart goes out to you and the wonderful Nelson. Best of luck to you both. There is so much love between you, it’s quite an awesome thing.

  8. Camille

    I sit here reading this post and tearing up at how beautiful you look on another unbeautiful day in the life of a cancer patient. I too feel as if I am in some movie that is about somebody else and not Nelson Boyd and am in denial that it is all going on. How you manage to put a smile on in this picture is beyond me, and I look forward to your posts everyday because I love to see you smile.

  9. Paula

    I almost didnt comment because it is so hard to really feel someone else’s pain and fear. But I had to say I admire your courage and I understand how you can find some bit of happiness in dressing. I would hope I could too. Best wishes for both of you~Paula

  10. Terri

    I’ve come across this post after reading your subsequent post. I gasped at the number of treatments Nelson has endured. What a testament to his strength…

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