Last Friday, a patient scheduled to receive his chemotherapy walked into our infusion center with his wife, both wearing t-shirts with this printed on the front.
I noticed but didn’t pay much attention until his treatment started. I was a bit slow on the uptake that morning and the patient was kind enough to explain what it means. “Kemopalooza” …an extraordinary event in his life that lasts 3 or more days where he receives “heavy metals” aka “kemo” (chemo). Ya know, like lollapalooza…..dig? …..then laughter erupted in the room…
The patient wears this t shirt each time he comes in for chemo. That day, he had several long infusions of “heavy metals” and we laughed all day as he told us stories, in between his “benadryl” induced naps, about attending “lollapalooza” during the summers of his youth . Yup, those days…he said…I was one “cool dude”!!
Humor as a way of coping with cancer has been documented in many scientific and professional journals as well as in patient literature. No doubt, humor can provide a sense of familiarity and kinship often needed for the prolonged relationship with a patient and their family. Humor has an important role in establishing these relationships by breaking the ice, reducing the fear of the unfamiliar, and encouraging a sense of trust. For him and for me, “kemopalooza” did the job!!
Thanks Mr. Cool Dude, I had a blast!!