To The Best of My Memory…

I have fairly clear memory of my first day of radiation and chemotherapy, or at least clear individual memories. I can picture walking into the facility where I would have radiation therapy as clear as if I were doing it right now. Signing in at the window, making fake bright chitchat with the girl checking me in, her incredibly long straight black hair. The admission wristband she wrapped around my already thin arm; and realizing it meant that when I checked in each day, I was considered inpatient for the time I was there. I now understand they did that so it would be an easy transition if anything went wrong and they needed to transfer me to other areas of the hospital. I remember sitting in the waiting room, looking around, trying to not stare or be too obvious while sizing up the other patients. I think I was trying to judge how much discomfort they were in – a predictor of what I was in for. I rememeber thinking how lucky they all were, they each had someone with them.  It was fairly easy to guess the relationships. Daughters there to support their elderly mothers, middle age husbands who were the patients – trying to act brave for the wives clinging to their arms. The other husbands looking horrified as their wives were called in for their treatments. Even the few who arrived by van and were wheeled in by wheel chair by attendants looked comforted by the attention they received from them. I remember thinking they were lucky, then rationalizing that by being alone I was allowed to be completely selfish, could concentrate completely on myself without having to worry if anyone else was ok or upset or handling it well.

I don’t remember much about the actual first treatment, lying on the table, the machine moving around me. I do remember walking out of the building, across the street to the parking lot and getting into my car. I stumbled a bit crossing the street, just the slightest miss-step. I remember wondering if anyone had seen me. Once in the car I took inventory. Just sat there for minute thinking up and down each part of my body. No real discomfort. I remember a few slight feelings that would increase as time went on but were no big deal at the time. Hard to put into words exactly. The descriptors that come to mind are ‘thick’, ‘dry’, ‘vibrating’. I don’t expect that to make any sense. I also remember thinking that it wasn’t bad at all, thinking, “I got this.” Ha.

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