I am a rad grad.
The last radiation treatment was yesterday afternoon. The last of thirty-eight sessions of lying beneath the giant manhole cover thingy, listening to it sing its radioactive note as it fried my chest into cancer-free submission. My wonderful rad techs, Steve, Gina, and Paul, each gave me a gentle farewell hug. “Fare well.” And they meant it.
I am not unscathed.
These radiation wounds sure as heck look and feel like burns, but they’re not burns. Radiation wounds, essentially, are “missing skin.” Whatever. In total, there’s about twenty square inches of flaming red, oozing, painful landscape. Think of a deep blister on your heel that peeled away the bubble on top. It’s like that, only bigger.
I am Neopolitan colored. Mountain biker tan, trout-belly white in the middle, with strawberry zones interspersed.
I grizzle and yelp in the shower, which rains onto my owies like needles. Wearing a bra is like wrapping my chest in barbed wire, but with lefty gone, and righty droopy and sad without her, I gotta wear something. The silicone foobie is too heavy to wear. A rolled up Swiffer duster (without the handle, in case you were trying to picture it) is soft and light, and just the right amount of frontal bumpage. Thank you, Proctor and Gamble.
I am finished with radiation.
Today Jerry and I rode a trail that we haven’t ridden since last Christmas, right before my first chemo treatment. We rode it back then because we didn’t know if I was facing being flat-out sick for months, and we wanted a special ride before we headed into the storm. As it turns out, I was fine through chemo, but today’s ride was just as special. It was beautiful. Summery, shaded with leafy oaks, just the right amount of challenge.
Life is great.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91: 1-2