Anticlimax

The cancer journey is a series of roller coaster rides. After each phase of treatment, I experienced a depression.

After all the daily posts of different colors and styles of wigs as I went in for radiation therapy, the much-anticipated climax passed invisibly. I never posted the pictures of my last day’s special photo-op with the team. I’d written about how the rad techs were so excited about donning wigs for it; I even moved it up a day so one of them, who was scheduled elsewhere on my last day, could still participate.

Before the previous weekend, I’d given them wig caps to try on at home. On the day of the photo-op, I brought an extra one for the new rad tech whom I hadn’t had a chance to get to know yet and vice versa. He had been aloof because the others and I were so buddy-buddy and he’d only just joined us. But when I pulled out the extra wiimageg cap and handed him the green wig, his face burst in a huge smile.

The rainbow one went to my special lady, whose favorite it was. My other lady, who wore the blue wig, stunned everyone with how great it looked on her – who knew blue was her color, lol 😆 And we all got a kick out of my putting the white wig on our guy – he’d been angling for my orange wig but I said I’d reserved something special for him, hahaha! Everyone loved it!!! And he pulled it off so well 😂

The daily radiation schedule is compressed into such an intense experience that, after the six weeks are up, you feel like you’ve spent 4 years of college with these people… Graduating was so emotional – while you had longed for the treatment period to be over, when it is, you suddenly feel an acute sense of loss.

The photo op was the buzz of the entire radiation floor that day. On the following day, which was my actual last day, we had the usual bell-ringing ceremony and my kids were with me and got to meet the rad techs. I remember that Bones was engaging both of my daughters in a spirited conversation when, suddenly, our lively cluster broke up as a newly-arrived patient emerged from the bathroom, feeling faint.

Bones immediately dashed off with a purpose, returning with a wheelchair, while Teach and the other techs held on to the patient. My heart went out to her as I backed myself and my children away to give them space. The reality of other people’s struggle with cancer treatments, which seemed to me to be harder, struck me. I desired so much to be able to help. Since my time with them was done, my daughters and I left. But that abrupt closure captures the essence of the inevitable end of the various phases of treatment on the cancer journey.

During the various stages of the cancer journey, you feel a lot of love and care being focused directly on you as you go through chemo, radiation, reconstruction, etc. After each stage, when the particular treatments are done, you lose that as your caregivers, by necessity, move on to their next patients.

The daily radiation schedule, while short (lasting about 15 minutes or so each time), is compressed into such an intense experience that, after the six weeks are up, you feel like you’ve spent 4 years of college with these people… Graduating was so emotional – while you had longed for the treatment period to be over, when it is, you suddenly feel an acute sense of loss.

In our modern times, people barely connect with one another in general. During the various stages of the cancer journey, you feel a lot of love and care being focused directly on you as you go through chemo, radiation, reconstruction, etc. After each stage, when the particular treatments are done, you lose that. Your caregivers, by necessity, move on to their next patients.

The cancer journey is a series of roller coaster rides. After each phase of treatment, I experienced a depression. And now after completing the last stage, reconstruction, I have been going in and out of that unavoidable sense of loss.

In my particular case, besides a series of recent deaths of people close to me, one of the hardest things I am encountering is loss of time with my younger daughter.

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