Solidarity Nausea

red ink . . .

In case you were wondering, my girl wore black pants, an animal print top, and heels (thank you very much) to her chemo session last week! She looked very sharp (I know because she sent me a picture), and felt well enough at the beginning of her session to call me for a chat. (She was actually calling to ask about me because I had a tough teenager day the day before. She also knows I’m usually somewhere worried about her on chemo days, so she probably just figured she’d call me to let me know that she was feeling pretty good.) Minutes into our conversation, after we laughed about my having “solidarity nausea” for a couple of days prior to her treatment, she started to gag and suddenly had to get off of the phone! [Her husband sent me a text a few minutes later telling me that she was o.k., but I really felt better after I talked to her later that night and she sounded like Barb.]

The nausea is no joke, though. Just after her diagnosis, we talked about the things she dreaded the most, and nausea, along with its cousin – vomiting – were near the top of her list. Maybe the queasiness that strikes me when she is suffering is my body’s subconscious way of letting her know that she’s not alone — that she has someone (there are many of us) walking with her on this journey.

As the friend supporting, sometimes you honestly don’t know what exactly to do — — so you just feel, and listen, and laugh, and cry when necessary, but not too often. Before I went to visit her, I definitely felt nervous about “doing the right thing,” but when I saw her, it just came naturally. You see our “solidarity” isn’t new – we have really been doing this for each other for years BC (before cancer). Our husbands say we are both a tad dramatic, but it seems that we have always been able to feel the other’s pain. She’s the girlfriend who asks just the right number of questions with a heart that says “I really want to understand” so that she can walk in my shoes or at least try them on for a moment, without making any assumptions that she understands what it’s actually like to have to wear them all day! I’m blessed to have her and a few other “solidarity friends” – who will go along for the ride – even if it’s bumpy – or nauseous!

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