Today was 37. Thirty seven days of IMRT radiation... 37 days of saying good morning to an office staff of five, dropping my pants in an examining room chair and donning an operating gown before reciting my name and birthday grants me entry into the subduely lite room of the one-eyed Cyclops. On day 12, I told the nurses I was born in 1921 to see if anyone paid homage to this ritual. No one barred my way. Once I snuggled into the treatment table form and raised my arms over my head, I asked, "Do I really look like I'm 100?" There was a long pause as the staff pondered my deception. I learned long ago that not everyone gets my dry sense of humor that often spirals into the cryptic. I brought them breakfast biscuits the next day to go with their now acute awareness I was born in 52.
Each day I watched the plastic and metal arms spin, the green laser line circle, the red beam glide from left to right and back again until its buzzing abruptly stops. I saw Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years come and go, collecting glimpses into the lives of people behind the machine as the buzzing continued almost daily. Several times I wanted to quit... just not go again. I gave up coffee for my own version of caffeine less Boston brew. My bladder discomfort actually improved; my fatigue and body aches didn't. So far, no bloody greeting in the morning stool. Often my thoughts waffled behind radiation is killing cancer to radiation is killing the normal cells too, maybe setting them up to become monsters in the future.
Out of the blue, my RO said I could stop treatment today. Her treatment plan called for 39 sessions-- 25 whole pelvis and 14 boosts to the three glowing avid nodes lined up like stars in a vertical Orion's Belt on my right side. "Three more treatments. Why stop now?" I said. She then asked what are my plans for future treatment. "Wait and see," I replied. My wait will end in April. My next MO appointment, blood tests and a second six month Lupron injection are scheduled at Duke this coming April. I want to know my PSA and T levels now, but would it make any difference other than satisfying my own curiosity? Often visits to a medical professional is a battle, a no-win confrontation between my Googled/Malecare supported education and their university degrees with me trying not to be totally clueless or tolerating curt smugness. I'm pretty sure I will never legitimately tell a nurse I'm 100, but it would be nice to see the earth move though more cycles of its seasons without skylines of medical buildings on the horizon, or the smell of antiseptics in the air.
Sent from my U.S.Cellular© Smartphone