by Deanna Maria R.

For those of us who have watched loved ones who have struggled with cancer, not knowing how to help nor what it feels like to go through it, it can be a roller-coaster of emotions. As a reporter, LJ Rich has viewed other’s struggles, a view from the outside looking in, but, this time, she’s on the inside, LJ has cancer. Always the reporter, LJ decided to use video to record her journey and in the process, show others what it is like to go through chemotherapy (an umbrella term for chemical drug treatments).

As the video opens, we see LJ getting ready for her eighth chemo treatment out of ten. The first step, pills. Lorazepam is a pain medication to help her cope during the treatment. Showing where her port is implanted, a fast-track tube under the skin that connects directly to the heart, she orders lunch. The port allows medical staff to quickly administer the chemo.  LJ likens it to ‘plugging in a phone charger’. As a piano player, she didn’t want any catheters placed in her fingers or arms due to the toxicity of the drugs. It alleviates the necessity to hunt for veins constantly and makes it easier on the patient.

LJ’s point for sharing her journey was to ‘demystify the process’ because, like her, prior to her diagnosis of cancer, it can scare people when they do not know the practicalities of the process. She then shows the cold cap, placed snugly on top of the head, that helps to prevent varying degrees of hair loss. At the end of her treatment for the week and this video, she gets to enjoy her lunch.