I’m thankful I have my students tests already prepared. It’s an uneventful day. My rude, obnoxious student is absent, which is
a nice reprieve. As first period hands in their work, I start reading their essays. I’m relieved their answers show an
understanding of the lessons this week. They don’t know, and never will know, the stress I’m going through. I’m not going to
let this affect my teaching. I bring home all the tests and will correct them over the weekend.
I’m driving home. I’m thinking about eating a lot of food so I can take four little pills to keep me alive. Oh my God…I pull off the
road and cry.
I’m mad at myself. I know I can’t be upset. I have to be strong. I stop crying and get back on the road.
I’m home and decide to call my mother. “Hi Mom, how’s everything?” trying to sound upbeat.
“Good, so tonight you start Gleevec, right?”
“Yup, tonight’s the night for Gleevec.” I try to keep the upbeat in my voice. “Do you think I will lose my strength taking
“Lose your strength? No, I don’t think so. Why do you ask that?”
“Well, I want to keep my strength. Remember when I broke that guy’s hand?”
“What? My mother yelled. Oh yes, I do remember, the man who put your hand where he wanted you to put it.”
“Well, I want to be able to still take care of myself.”
“You haven’t dated in two years Mary; let’s just worry about getting you better right now.”
“I know, but I want to be able to handle myself. I want to keep my strength.”
“You will be able to be strong, Mary, I’m sure of it. “I’ll call you tomorrow to see how you made out. I’m glad Bob and Rich are
there when you take the Gleevec. Take it easy Mary.”
“Okay Mom, goodnight, love you.”
“Love you too.”
I change my clothes into my comfy clothes. I wonder why I think Gleevec will make me weak. I know Bob will be home in about
an hour. I start dinner. I make a tuna casserole, the boy’s favorite meal. I make the big dinner rolls they like too.
I hear both Bob and Richie’s voices outside. They both arrive at the same time. I’m glad as dinner is ready.
“Hi Mom,” they both say as I get two kisses on my cheek.
Rich looks at the Gleevec container and reads the label. “So, you eat first, and then take four of the pills?”
“Yup,” I say as cheerful as I can. “Wash your hands boys and let’s eat!”
We all sit down and share a strange feeling as we eat. We make small talk and I know we are trying hard to act normal. They love
the casserole, they always do.
“Okay, it’s time!” I get up and fill my water glass to the top. I know I have to take Gleevec with a big meal and a full glass of
water, one pill at a time, four pills. I take out four pills and I start crying. I am scared. I feel as though I am going to get real sick
right away. No one told me I would, but this is what I feel. The boys don’t know what to say, they look sad and anxious.
I take one pill and drink some water. I do this four times. I walk over to the couch and Rich and Bob follow me and sit on either
side and we hug.
“Are you all right?” Rich asks.
“No, I’m scared.”
We all sit there together waiting for a stupid side effect to happen.