Saturday

Radiation Red

Last night I celebrated my final radiation treatment for my breast cancer.

First, after work, I met and had drinks with my best girlfriend. We've been friends for a good forty years now and we had a great visit as always. We toasted me and talked about how great I am and I even allowed her to talk a bit about herself and the struggles she's been having lately in life. We left happy and refreshed with thoughts about taking a trip together somewhere this summer.

After that, I grabbed my husband and we went for dinner and indulged ourselves with whatever we wanted off the menu. I'm all for rewards when we achieve or conquer something and I feel like I've endured and conquered quite a bit these past 10 months so stuffing myself with rich food and wine for one night seemed like just the right thing for me. I even ordered dessert.

Today I awake knowing I am finished my radiation. I think back to the beginning when I didn't have a clue what to expect. I think about the good information and support I got from people I know who've survived cancer and realize I am now one of them. Another club I belong to.

On my second last day of radiation, while I waited for my technician to fetch me from the waiting room, a woman with a cane wearing a turban sat down near me. It was hard to tell her age but I did feel she was a few years older than me. I had arrived a little early so had poured myself a coffee and mentioned it tasted pretty good when I noticed the woman looking at me. We got to talking and it turns out she herself has survived breast cancer. She'd endured a double mastectomy (and all the other procedures that lead up to that point) and had been cancer free for 9 years. Now its been discovered she has brain cancer and she's enduring all that that entails. The ease with which we discussed such a terrifying and exhausting situation blows me away when I think about it. I only teared up when I talked about her to the radiation technician and then my husband the next morning. I will remember that lady forever and wish for her to eventually be well again.

I'll also remember the older gentleman I saw on my first day of radiation. As I waited for my name to be called, a total newbie amongst cancer treatment veterans, some with hair, more without, a man's name was called. It was a gentleman of 78 (which I knew because they ask our birthdays every time we receive treatment) and as he walked with the tech they excitedly talked about how it was his last day, and he told her how he was going to celebrate with a bottle of Boost. Too cute.

There have been a ton of special people I'd never have even known existed had I not had to do this cancer thing. It's been tough in ways I could never have anticipated, easier than I thought it would be in other ways, and I have no reason to believe I haven't beaten it. At least for now.

I've seen too much in my life now to not know that shit happens, so I am as prepared as I can be for anything. If its good shit, I will enjoy the hell out of it. If its bad, I'll fight as hard as I possibly can to kick it's ass.

I still think they should make a paint or stain colour called Radiation Red.

Maybe donate a portion of it's sales to cancer organizations?

9 comments:

  1. Girl, I am glad you are done with that I hope it is smooth sailing from here on out. Sorry that I have been so out of touch.

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  2. This is great news, Campbell. I'm thinking of you and hoping that from here on in things go well for you.

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    1. Me too, so glad you are done with radiation and hope all will be well from now on.

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  3. My sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. It was truly a life-changing event. It inspired to return to school and get a Master's degree. Sometimes adversity can be a blessing, because it leads us down paths that we never would have gone down. We meet people, we learn to love them, and we become more than we were before. I would not wish cancer on anyone, but I am happy that this very difficult experience has been a growth experience.

    I am so glad you are done, and am celebrating in spirit with you!

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  4. Thanks all

    And...a special thank you to my big sister for the beautiful tulips. Yes, they are perfectly red enough.

    Love you : )

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  5. Congrats on finishing radiation. I wish you much health, happiness and peace in the future.

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  6. Hi Campbell, I haven't been around in blog-land too much lately so I just read your post. Congrats on finishing radiation. Wishing you all the best and of course good health!

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