Yes, that’s right, I’ve finally completed my four-week course of radiation. Five days a week for four weeks – that was almost like a job, man! A job which consisted basically of the following:
1) driving myself to the clinic, leaving early enough so that I could drive through a nearby park on the way and enjoy the wonders of nature before enduring the wonders of modern medicine:
2) finding a parking space (which could take a while, since this is a busy area!), going inside and greeting everyone,
3) changing from my “civvies” into my hospital gown,
4) putting my stuff in my locker, all except my glasses case and my Kindle, then sitting in the waiting room to read while waiting* to get called in (*hence the name, lol!) (among the books I enjoyed were the wonderfully funny “Not Cool: Europe by Train in a Heatwave,” by Jules Brown, and the fascinating “The Fifties” by David Halberstam, which I’m about halfway through),
5) getting called into the “Inner Sanctum,” and almost always earlier than my scheduled appointment time, for which I was very grateful.
6) putting my glasses in their case, putting both case and Kindle on a chair next to the machine, and letting the techs properly position me on the table, which was then raised and moved into the zapping machine,
7) holding completely still during the zapping, just trying to relax and focus on my breathing,
8) getting OFF the table, and remembering, after a couple of missteps, to wait till it had been lowered all the way down,
9) putting my glasses back on and remembering my Kindle, while saying goodbye to the nice techs,
10) getting my stuff OUT of the locker, changing back into my civvies, saying goodbye to everyone, and going back to my car, where I would ponder what to do with the rest of the day.
Rinse and repeat, five days a week for four weeks. And now it’s over and I’m glad! However, there is one thing I’m going to miss:
The absolutely beautiful framed photos on every wall of this clinic, taken by none other than Dr. Bernard Lewinsky, retired oncologist and photographer. (And yes, Monica’s dad!)
Those photos reminded me that there was a beautiful world outside, a world of mountains and deserts and wildflowers and sunshine. And knowing that made it soooo much easier to get through that daily routine – to the point where I actually looked forward to it!
I mean, not to the zapping! But just to the whole atmosphere of hope and optimism which permeated the whole place. Hence the name:
So what’s next? Well, I have a couple of weeks of complete, utter, and absolute freedom.
Well, *almost* complete! Next on the agenda is a return visit to the oncologist who approved the radiation treatments, who I’m sure is going to recommend I start taking a pill called Arimidex. I’ve read enough about it online to be ambivalent about some of the side effects.
However, I’m willing to try it for a while and see how it goes. Worst case scenario, if the side effects are too wonky, I can ask for something else – or even (dare I say) stop taking it. Yes, I could Question Authority! That always goes over well, right?
Well, that’s all in the future. For now, though, I’m free, it’s sunny, and I’m going to go out and enjoy as many of those beautiful things I saw in Dr. Lewinsky’s photos for myself!
See you next week!