She’s started radiation therapy. It is extremely boring.
Five days a week we have to drive to the radiation center where she goes in with the other patients to get radiant and I sit in the waiting room with all the other pensive loved ones. I am always among the youngest people there (aside from the occasional offspring). I fiddle with my Kindle Fire or read my Paperwhite or stare at the coffee table books (“The Australian Landscape and its Artists” – where did THAT come from?”). It only takes a few minutes – no more than 15-20 and she is out again and ready to go. Not even time to get really into a good book.
I am a child of the cold war, so there is something about radiation that makes me feel uneasy. Having spent my first couple of years of school diving under my desk periodically before everyone in authority decided that fuck it, all the kids are going to be dead anyway so why waste school time drilling them, I knew much more about how much radiation it took to kill you than how much radiation it took to keep you alive. It didn’t come in tiny measured doses focused on destroying only very specific areas of tissue – it was flung at you across the poles in megaton packages by inscrutable Russians and Chinese.
And the comic book promise that it could give you super powers? Totally a lie.
Aside from that, however, it has been a breeze compared to chemo and the run up to surgery. Fifteen minutes of “bzzap!” and done for the day. She isn’t suffering much in terms of side effects (though the skin in the area remains sensitive and is starting to sunburn) and an online friend, SJ, who has been through radiation treatment, sent her some moisturizing cream that helps.
I think we have finally achieved the new normal. The normal where it doesn’t seem strange anymore that she wears a scarf on her head every day (though her eyebrows and eyelashes are back, and the short stubble on her head is a deep brown). Where cooking restrictions (much reduced in any event) are just part of the meal planning. The daily trips to radiation therapy are just a part of the daily schedule.
You get used to almost anything, I suppose.