At the start of my second round of chemo (week 4 of total chemo series) A man about my age came into the communal chemo room with my oncologist to begin treatment. This was a Monday, and I had already received my benedryl drip so I was pretty out of it. But a few hours later when I came to I discovered that this guy was just beginning the same treatment I was receiving for testicular cancer.
We made our introductions and then saw each other (and our wives saw each other) just about every day for the next 2 months. During our initial introductions my wife and I misunderstood his name and thought it was Constantine, and since I didn't ask his permission to use his name on this blog I'll stick with that here. He and I went through some tough times together. Most notably for me was the DVT issues that put me in the hospital as I neared the end of my treatment, and for Constantine it was developing appendicitis while undergoing chemo. We both think the other had it worse.
We've kept in touch via email as things progressed post-chemo, and this past Thursday we all (Constantine, his wife, Julie & I) went out to eat together. We had not known each other socially at all, only medicinally (if that's a word I can use that way), but we had a wonderful time (as well as too much to drink on a work night).
I found out that Constantine and his family referred to me as "The Mentor" and we had a lot of laughs about Julie & I thinking his name was Constantine. We were able to swap post-chemo notes and we've both suffered from the same symptoms, except for the man boob pain. Constantine was happy to note that he was not suffering from that nor did he need to have a mammogram.
It was really an incredibly enjoyable evening, and just fantastic to see someone back in good health who I had watched slowly drift into sickness before my eyes. It really drove home what it must have been like for Julie to watch me go from a healthy, active (youngish) man into the sickly sight I became, as I had to watch the same effect in Constantine.
Conversely I was able to see that once pale, chemo sick man now smiling, healthy, and again enjoying food and drink; just as my family has been able to see that happy return to health in me.
It was a really enjoyable evening, and I hope Constantine and I continue to have a friendship going forward. Julie and I are not always the best about maintaining relationships with our friends, but I really don't want to let this new found friendship drift away.