I’ve officially had my last radiation treatment. Time has passed quickly and it’s kind of hard to believe that it’s over. Sam went with me and I made sure to bring 7 more cds I’d chosen to add to their music collection. When I was going through possible music choices, I came across the Dixie Chicks – Taking the Long Way and felt like maybe that should be my last session music instead of Lucinda. I came to a compromise and listened to Lucinda on the way there and then the Dixie Chicks while in treatment. It guaranteed that I was surrounded by the sounds of women I admire, and my wife, which was comforting.
The song Easy Silence has always reminds me of my relationship with Sam and the comfort, love, and joy we share together. She always tries to relieve my worries and make sure I have whatever I need to be happy. We can simply hold hands and be in each others company and not need anything else. I found myself lying on the gurney today, holding her hand, and listening to the very song that defines that feeling. It was a happy moment.
I’m going to say goodbye to radiation with a fitting tribute to the process. Some of it may make you uncomfortable, but I figure my goal is to be honest and to share my experiences with others in order to remove some of the mystery and fear around cancer treatment. In order to do that, I’ve decided to feature a photo essay from Sam’s perspective. These were taken over my last two sessions and I think they capture what happens and the kind and caring folks who took care of me.
I have to thank everyone who had a hand in treating me. I have to give a special shout out to Steve and Andrew, the physicists who took time out after my last treatment to show me, and describe to me in detail, exactly how they use a ct scan to calculate where the radiation “source” should be placed and how long it should be at each location. Steve showed me that I had 11 points along my vagina where the “source” moved to radiate the tissue. He also showed me the three views of my pelvic area that were captured via ct scan. It was pretty darned cool. The four of us also spent some extra time nerding out about nuclear energy, radioactive waste, Chernobyl, Hanford, and so on. I explained to the guys that I have a fascination with such things, since I was in high school during the Cold War era and have created some artwork relating to the subject. It was awesome. I mean, how often do you get to hang out with nuclear physicists and talk about such things in detail?
Lastly, I want to say that it was fitting that the first song I heard during my last session, while waiting on the gurney, was this one. Part of my accepting and working through all of this is believing that having cancer is just another step in my “taking the long way”. It’s a learning experience and most of all, a growth experience. I’m going to leave you with this. Feel free to sing along.