This morning was my last radiation treatment. The purpose of the radiation is to knock down any cancer that might be lingering in my hip and pelvis. The radiation does not cure my cancer.
Overall the radiation experience has been pretty straightforward. I only had 10 sessions and I haven’t really noticed any side effects. Fortunately, the treatments are quick and I live pretty close to the cancer center so the impact to my daily routine was minimal.
Radiation is done one person at a time and so you don’t interact much with other patients. I did get to know my 2 technicians relatively well. Interestingly, both of them were here on assignment (one from Tennessee and one from the Caribbean). The cancer center does not have enough full time local employees and so they contract health care workers from other parts of the country. This is not a new phenomenon, it’s been happening a lot since COVID not just here but across the country.
Did the radiation help? It’s too early to know. There won’t be a clear, obvious signal. If my cancer become stable again then, yes, it probably helped.
So I’m “done” with radiation. When I arrived, the technicians greeted me with “happy graduation day.” When I finished, the nurse I met with to ‘discharge’ me handed me a certificate of sorts congratulating me on finishing radiation, signed by all the staff. It was a lovely gesture. After I met with her, I cried.
I shed tears not because of the kindness of the radiation staff or for finishing radiation. I cried because I know this is just one small blip on my road of trying to keep this disease under control. I’m not “done” with cancer. I haven’t really graduated to anything. I don’t feel like this venture into radiation is anything more than documenting and checking off a procedure.
I know it’s ok to cry about this. I feel sad knowing the reality of my situation. I let tears fall until I got to my car. I composed myself and drove home. I have things to do today and I’ll tuck this into the back of my mind and get back to living.
Hope you have plans to live big today too.
See my day-to-day living with MBC on Instagram: @nottodaymbc
Sciency-cancer stuff on Twitter: @dcharlevo