First, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your heartenings words in texts and emails. I LOVE YOU! You are my strength!
So yesterday I wrote my pissed off post and then walked through MD Anderson and saw the Christmas tree and Santa Claus set up. I had my first rad cure of the day and then went to meet my rad cure doc for my every-five-days-of rad curecheckup. First I met with a nurse named Josephine. We ran through all 20 or so side effects and I had, like two. And on the pain scale of 1 to 10, I was at, ‘y’know, one and a half. “It’s kind of incredible,” I said to her. She looked at me. “You’re incredible,” Hanging on to that one. Then I met with my main rad cure nurse, Tina. And she finally said to me what I have been thinking. “Your side effects are not going to get much worse,” she said. We decided she would send some magic dressing with me to Wisconsin, but that was as a security blanket. She says it’s only going to get a little worse and then it’ll start to get better. Although my skin will recover faster than my voice. She’s pregnant and due in January. So I will miss her on my first two-month follow-up visit. But I will see her on the next one and then she can show me photos. She said I was a very fun patient and had been from the beginning. Half way into our meeting, the doc came in, Not the one I’ve been seeing all along because he is on vacation—his first in two years—with his family. This doc, named Jack Phan, bombed in, wearing a headlamp. Here’s what he said. “We are really pleased with your radiation.” “What does that mean?” I asked. Basically it means they hit all their target areas exactly as they wanted those rad cure rays to hit. “You mean, like, you nailed it,” I asked, “We nailed it,” he said I’ll take it. Just as I was leaving, Tricia, the nutritionist who I talked to on the phone twice and really enjoyed came in. “I had to meet you face to face!” she said. “I SO enjoyed talking to you!” “Oh,” I said, “you’ll be hearing from me again! I love what you have to say!” So that was all really, really wonderful. And easy. Then I came back to Sarah’s. Eliana had gone for her flu shot. And when she came back, Gav made her this crown. Because now Eliana is the Most Immunized in this house. She is triple vaxed and has her flu shot! So this photo is Gav, paying homage to Eliana. All of your Nightingale friends should recognize that this queenly stance is an act she came up with freshman year of college to make fun of Nightingale. And now she has parlayed it into Most Immunized. I think I should make a hat and just sell it. And then I pulled out the big guns for feeling better: Tomato soup. With milk, of course, and cracker butter sandwiches. This morning I drove to my third-to-last rad cure! It was still dark at 6:15 when I got in the car with my coffee, water bottle and baking soda mouthwash bottle. FINALLY my phone connected with the car’s blue tooth. So, Mary, I played I Won’t Back Down. And Joselin and Sheila, your songs are on the playlist too! I have named it the Warrior Goddess/Fuck This Shit playlist, which is what I have decided will be my rock tour name It was actually fun, driving though Houston traffic with all these drivers who consider the very first part of a light that has just turned red as a signal to floor it. And I love arriving at MD Anderson watching all of the workers arrive to their jobs. Where they save lives. And one of those is mine. Long term survivor. That is me. Right before I turned onto the road for the rad cure valet parking, I had to wait for a slightly beat up small white Ford pickup. Through the foggy back window I could see two people giving each other a kiss. Sweet, I thought, and wondered if the person being dropped off were an employee or a patient. She was an employee. She got out of her car, grabbed her lunch and a bag an walked in the employee only entrance with a stream of other workers. And then I pulled into the valet parking. No line. And Jose and Madjib, the two guys who run their asses off so patients wait for as short a time as possible, both met me at the car door. “No daughters today?”ask Madjib, who is about 6’4” and looks like he weighs maybe 130 pounds. Both girls came yesterday afternoon so Gav could see the radiation machine and me in my mask. “I let them sleep in this morning, “ I said. “But they’ll be back this afternoon!” That’ll be for my second-to-last rad cure and my last chemo! So we can ring the bell for chemo. And then tomorrow we are dressing up for my last rad cure. And then we head to the airport. Spring Bank and Sparta, here we come! Full of love and gratitude. And a tiny bit if fuck this shit! I love you all. Kate