Cancer is like a vacation

3 min readJun 7, 2022


I know you just rolled your eyes. But hear me out.

I’m a planner. I start for a vacation the minute we decide where we are going to go. What should I pack, how much should I pack, should I pack snacks?

I started treatment yesterday, chemo all afternoon and Proton therapy in the evening. But my snack sack was packed sometime last week. Snacks, two new books, some hand sewing projects, extra charger for my phone, water bottle. Practically did need a suitcase.

My husband actually made the vacation metaphor yesterday morning when we were both wide awake at the crack of dawn. My “flight” wasn’t until 12:30 but I was ready to go hours before. And then like getting to the airport early, there was lots of waiting.

Check in at the first floor and have my IV put in and blood work. Up to the 4th floor for vitals, a nurse consult and oncology pharmacist consultant, then up to 5th floor for infusion. A lot of waiting, watching other folks board their flights.

Once you board your flight or rather, get to your infusion room, you’re just sitting on the tarmac for a while. They come and check your vitals again, they go over the whole process (no oxygen mask from the ceiling but,) they give you all your pre-chemo drugs- benadryl, pepcid, wonderful, wonderful steroids. Then you wait some more. They don’t actually order your chemo drugs until you get in the room. Another hour sitting on the tarmac while they mix your drugs.

When the drugs come, your flight attendant/nurse does a cross check, calling in a second nurse to confirm the drugs you should be getting are the drugs you are getting.

Please fasten your seatbelt, here we go.

I don’t know what I was expecting: pain, vomiting, dizziness, crying, I don’t know. I felt fine, no symptoms at all. Wonderful, wonderful steroids. Mostly just boring. I did learn trying to pull up leggings in the bathroom with an IV in your arm is nearly impossible. I’m sure once I trust that I’m not going to tear the line out it will be easier. But maybe sweatpants next week.

When my flight landed I still felt fine. Better than I usually feel after an actual plane landing (I’m a lifetime motion sickness champ.) Hubs and I were both starving by the time I got done, it was almost 6:30 and we had been at the hospital since noon. I had only packed bland snacks, not knowing how my stomach would feel.

Next stop: Proton Therapy. Different hospital. We stopped and got shawarma on the way! It was delicious. I only ate half, trying to be cautious (then I ate the other half, cold and soggy on the way home, still delicious.) Proton radiation is a quick flight on the most sci-fi rocket you can imagine. Easy peasy. First class, which includes a free plush robe and slippers.

I know things are going to get worse, it’s going to start to wear on me. I’m pretty sure the radiation is going to be the real ass kicker. So I’ll hold onto laughing and eating soggy shawarma in the car. Six more chemos and 34 more trips to the radiation rocket.

So yeah, cancer is like a vacation. It’s a lot of planning, you make some good memories, you have some rough times (and I know there are going to be a lot of rough times.) And when you get done, you’re going to need a vacation from your vacation.

Bring snacks!




Part time erotica writer, full time estate saler, cancer haver.