Thursday, November 29, 2012

23 monthaversary

Two years ago this week, I was just getting started on my 20 rounds of radiation therapy.  We did not radiate lightly, or for "insurance", but because my bulky, persistent (bitchass) tumor had not been entirely decimated by the 6 rounds of chemo I'd already swallowed.

Every day at 4 pm, I would drive myself over to our closest hospital, leave the car with the valet, and then scan my id card to let the technicians know I had arrived.

Push through the double doors, grab 2 uber-used blue gowns and head to the dressing rooms.

gown de abington
There, I'd strip from the waist up, and replace my soft sweaters and undershirts with those sickly old rags.  Hang all belongings in a locker, take just the key on a spiral plastic bracelet keychain, and make my way to the ladies' waiting room.  There, I get to be the youngest depressed person in the joint.


Hear my name called and mosey on over to the treatment room with the green dot over the door.  Lean mean green machine.  Enter through the bomb shelter-esque doorway.
the long hallway
Assume the position - on my back, in my mold, arms above my head, eyes looking up.  And which Christmas song will add to the soundtrack today?  Ah yes, Jingle Bell Rock.

see the webcam in the corner of the room?  they were watching me from the hallway.
Technicians make adjustments, lining up my tattoos with the red lasers shooting out of the walls, tell me not to move and leave me alone with the death beam.  The indestructible door closes silently.  I can hear the machine whirring.  Spitting the invisible fire in the shape of a tumor.

the source
A squirt from above to the tune of ten seconds, then a squirt from below.

I hear the door open and the cheery voices return to help me sit up, put my mold back into its cubby, and wish me well until tomorrow.
my mold: doesn't it look just like me?
I take my keychain bracelet back to my locker and shed those scraps of hospital blue quickly but carefully, so as not to irritate the red, burned spots on my chest and back.  Going back out the way I came, I return to the valet and ask for my car.  Since I can't possibly tip the guy every day for moving my car 5 yards,  I decide to save up and give him a hefty tip along with some high quality chocolate at the end of the month.  I think he still remembers me.

Radiation was lonely, very isolating, and full of quietness.  Nothing like the constant hustle and bustle of the chemo clinic.  While it didn't make me nauseous, it made me sad, made me feel like a sick person.

Now, twenty-three months later, the crisp, drying air feels the same.  The Christmas songs all sound the same.  The clear sky looks the same as it did that month of December.  How odd for so much to remain unchanged.


  1. Once again, you put me in the room with you. Hard to believe those four painfully long weeks were just a year ago. And so much has changed. XOXO

  2. Mia,

    Such a poet. Hopefully the many who will be beginning the path you've taken will be buoyed by your strength.

    Steve Y

  3. Such a lovely writer, on such an awful topic. I'm so glad that you are able to share this- I believe your strength will help others!