Kim’s breast cancer journey continued with chemotherapy treatments. I had committed to accompany her to the clinic so she didn’t have to face it alone or make arrangements for someone else to go with her each time. I’d heard stories; we’ve all heard stories. However, when faced with cancer, you can follow the script or you can make your own story. Kim was making her unique story.
For my part, instead of doom and gloom, I chose fun and games to keep our minds positive and to provoke laughter when I could. There’s little for either patient or companion to do during the treatment. I had anticipated a long stretch of near-fatal boredom. Other than that, neither of us had any idea what the process would be like. How would we pass the time? As readers, Kim and I always carry something to read in case we have to stand in line or languish in a waiting room.
This occasion was shared, not solitary, so instead of books, I thought of taking puzzles and games as well as magazines to entertain us. My favorite was a book of visual puzzles, Double Vision: Addictive Photo Puzzles that Challenge Your Attention to Detail, by Megan McFarland. The objective is to look at two photos that appear to be identical, but have a number of subtle differences for the viewer to discover. You can choose from several levels of difficulty and complexity. Each puzzle tells you how many differences there are. Your task is to discover the most differences in the shortest period of time. After several rounds of competitive play, we moved on to talking and laughing; gradually, Kim wound down and said she needed a nap. I watched her sleep and wondered how she was doing.
Later, starving, we looked for a restaurant. The clinic staff had told us we could bring food the next time. No need to tell us twice! In fact, we became almost festive about the prospect of eating and packed a picnic basket every time with foods from Kim’s blood type diet. Fun, games, and food — who knew?