© 2019 by Jason Elbinger

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The Cancer Polka

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

Last week on Wednesday, when the Miami Cancer Institute removed my transfusion device, I thought I’d be okay. Round 2 of chemo was easier, and the only side effect I had for the 49 straight hours of chemo was a little nausea; I figured my body had adapted to the treatment.


What an awful week. I was sicker than I’ve ever been in my life. Vomiting was disgusting and tasted like sweet chemicals mixed with stomach acid. There was no chunky viscous spewing past my teeth like normal puke, rather my diaphram contracted, my stomach squeezed, and forced clear, mucus-like substance up my esophagus which then dripped from my lips rather than flowed over them. I must’ve heaved two or three times, then it was just dry heaves until I curled up on the bathroom floor while I waited to stop sweating.

I had been in bed sleeping but I had to wake up for a 5:30 pm dentist appointment to fix a crown that cracked in half while I was eating the box of Boston Baked Beans that Rachel got for me from Walgreens. But it was severe nausea that woke me up instead of the Weird Al Yankovich polka that is the alarm on my phone, so after I puked and washed my face,  I threw on a mismatched outfit of blue Adidas track pants and a purple polo shirt, and drove to the dentist. 

I shouldn’t have driven.

It was pouring rain, and my head hurt so bad that my vision was blurry. I couldn’t stop sweating, but I couldn’t turn on the air conditioning in my car because my hands get numb when they’re cold because of the chemo. And I couldn’t get the blob of puke mucus stuck in the back of my throat to go away. Would the dentist smell it? I should’ve brushed my teeth. 

I was too sick, so the dentist couldn’t take an impression of my tooth. I told him what I was going through, because I must have looked like a junkie jonesing for a hit.

Did I mention that I also had a sinus infection? When I blew my nose, I could hear the mucus bubbling in head.

What I’m trying to say is I’m afraid my next round of chemo. Fuck being brave. I dread it. Really. But I’ll do it because I’m committed to getting healthy, however I know everything will be worse next week with all of this poison that is being forced into my veins through the little plastic port in my chest and building up in my system. It has to reach a tipping point.

This whole experience, though, is just the process I’m going through to get better. Faith, as the religious say, without works is dead. 

Thursday I see my oncologist. I’ll update you on what he says.

Thanks for reading my blog! Be sure to check out the books I list on my resources page. They’re not just for people with cancer!

Check this out:

Youtube Weird Al polka playlist!!!!!