My first day of radiation today went something like this: I walked into the radiation room feeling relatively composed, and when I saw the cast for my legs to lie in (the one they made yesterday to hold me in the same position every time) and the hard table and the big machine that would be used to radiate me, I started to feel knotted up inside. I believe my words to my friend Laura, who accompanied me to my first appointment, were: "I feel like I want to throw up."
The ceiling above the table had a picture of a green park with tulips in bloom around a clear, blue lake. I wished I were there instead of here. Then the big x-ray machine swung up over my head, and I couldn't see the picture anymore. By the time they were ready to get started, tears were streaming down my face. I was as surprised by my reaction as anyone. I kept thinking about my family, about Ben and Daniel and how cute they are, and about the fact that I have cancer and this is the first of many, many toxic things that will be done to try — try — to get rid of the cancer. All that reality just hit me squarely in the face all at once, and I cried all the way through it. The treatment itself didn't hurt. In fact, I didn't feel anything except the hard table against my back.
Afterward, we met with Dr. C., the radiation oncologist, and Dr. A., the resident assisting him. I have to give both of them high marks for compassion. (And they're smart, too!) Dr. A. looks like a young guy himself, and I get the impression he has kids. I imagine him wondering what it would be like if this happened to his wife. When I explained to Dr. C. why I was crying, he was honest. "I don't know how I'd handle it if this happened to me," he admitted. It's the best thing he could have said.
Tomorrow, it won't take so long. I'll be in and out in a matter of minutes. Nine more of these trips, and then I start chemo, and that's when I'll really be crying.