Cancerland’s Sunbeam

Beam Me Up

The troubling part about having the wrong date and time and wasting a couple hours of time, wasn’t really about the time, because tht ended up being time well spent.

It might seem that, but I knowwhatwas going on inside of me.

A couple of things.

One is that I like to do things pretty much right. I like to trust my brain and body, and there are times that those things seem to betray me. The word ‘betray’ is an insult to my brain and body, because they have served me well, andI am thankful for both. But both are changing.

It isn’t something that doesn’t happen to most everyone. It does. From the moment we are born, we change. Babies change. They start out not having a clue as to how to walk or talk or feed themselves.

Humans go through adolescence, puberty, sexual awareness, physical and mental maturation, working toward our preconceived peak, and then, certain things continue to change, in ways we go, “What the beansprouts?”

And when I got the wrong day, I thought my brain had betrayed me.

The fact is, I have had a lot on my mind. Not necessarily ‘my’ stuff, but other things. Important things. So, it really shouldn’t have rocked me that I messed the date up. But heaven forbid I would have looked at the paper with the date on it, before we left.

The bigger element was, and it didn’t dawn on me until last night, after I had my first experience with the Sunbeam, is that I was disappointed. I just wanted to get this show on the stage.

I have known this was coming. Is it something I look forward to? No. Is it something I dread? No. It is simply something that needs to be done and when I have something that I know needs to be done, I want to get er done.

so, when last night came, and it was the correct night, and I lay on that hard table, hands over my head, grasping a grab bar, I was relieved.

And then, I was in awe.

My Sunbeam is what I am calling her. It is a her, this machine that should sunbeams. And I think that Sunbeam sounds like light and hope and life.

I sat on the table and stripped my top off. No need for an ugly half gown. Let er rip. I figured that these people had seen everything, so let’s cut to the chase.

It took a while to get everything set up. I had walked through the room where the computer monitors were. There were several. One had the CT Chan of my chest. I have ribs. I have a shoulder. I thought it was nice that my ribs didn’t look fat.

The radiologist and technicians monitor from that control center. They can see me and hear me. I found it fascinating.

On the table, I had to have my head in the head-well. My arms were over my head, and there was a bolster under my knees. I had to keep myself from crossing my ankles.

It took about 20 minutes to get everything in place. The technician moved me here and there, bits of an inch. I looked overhead and around, as best I could while remaining still.

Finally, it was takeoff. The table moved backwards, the machine came down from overhead, white and red lights came on. The machine rotated around me and made noises. Sometimes, when the bright lights were on,I closed my eyes. But I also had my eyes open.

The actual radiation didn’t take long. The technician said it would take less time from now on, since the settings were in order.

I hopped off the bed, threw my top on and sorted to grab my phone so I could take a picture of my insurance policy … the Sunbeam.

For me, Sunbeam is an insurance policy. I have been deemed cancer-free. This is our attempts to make me stay that way.

For others,likethe man I met the night before and again, last evening, whose wife and I chatted with in the waiting room, it is a different scenario. Sunbeam needs to do its job to shrink or eliminate his lung cancer. He has already had nine back surgeries and some other medical issues, so the doctors have said this was the best treatment. He and his wife have been married 53 years. And they are a delight.

When he came out of his hour long treatment. He needed sit down a minute. He told me his wife had talked about me and that they were both praying for me. Both of them are a delight. That is one reason when my misstep of showing up on the wrong night wasn’t a waste. I needed to meet them.

I also needed to meet the 81-year old black man and the younger man he had brought for his treatment.

“I’m 81, he said. I was here thirteen years ago.”

He continued on with how he had been very ill, another time, for six months. They thought he’d die. But as he said, “The man upstairs is the one to thank. You have to say thank-you.”

The husband and wife left. Chances are, I will not see them, again. My treatments will be daytime, because they are brief. Longer appointments come later in the day. But they will stay in my mind and heart. They are the perks of going through this.

My name was then called, and I went in to meet my sunbeam.

Afterwards, since it was Tuesday, and my first visit, a nurse talked to me about protecting my skin. Some people just get a bit of dry skin. Most getsun tanned. Some, sunburnt, and a few, well, let’s not go there. And then, I saw the first radiologist I met on this sojourn. He remembered me as we had a great talk during our visit. It was like seeing an old friend.

We caught up on how things have gone. He didn’t need a look-see, as that had been done,earlier. We talked about radiation, I mean, how many Sunbeams they used on me.

Two. One from the back and one from the front. I asked him if they ever used more.

Yes. They can’t basically, send a circle of Sunbeams around a person. Egad.

I mentioned that since they do all body parts, that radiologists had to know about the whole body. They can’t just learn about the waist up, or waist down. The Sunbeam is used on every part you can think of, even the heart.

Thank goodness that the nighttime visit is over. It was weird going to such a thing at night.

Cancerland has greeted me with the nicest of people, some of the smartest people, and people that lift me up in the realm of my thoughts on humanity.

The evening before, I mentioned to the man with lung cancer’s wife, that Nick had gone through cancer, chemo and radiation 13 years ago. Apparently, she mentioned that to her husband because he said that she had. With a tired look on his face, but with resolve in his voice, he said, “I guess there is hope for me.”

“Absolutely,” I said.

We all need hope. Don’t we?

One down … nineteen to go.



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