They say the last mile is the hardest. I agree. I have never ran a marathon but I know the last mile isn’t about the legs, it about the mind.Those who cross the finish line do so with their mental strength .A conviction in their ability to do this. I am sure they hurt as their feet pound against the ground and that wave travels up into the knees and hips, the painful vibrations and jarring with a strong urge to stop.But something makes them go on.
In the last 2 weeks of radiation , I have secretly desired to stop. There are times when I am driving to the hospital and I fantasize about taking a wrong turn. Sometimes, I wonder about going to the hospital to just hang out at the cafeteria and have coffee.The gift shop always feel a nice escape. I haven’t done it so far but the urge keeps getting stronger. I keep hearing from others, ” Oh radiation should be easy after chemotherapy!” .Yes, I should be used to adversity by now and perhaps more skilled at dealing with the crap that life dishes out at me. I have to admit though the despite being a physician I was not prepared for radiation burns.
What I did not comprehend fully, was the fact that the goal of my treatment team was to actually burn the skin that has been stretched and pulled together, sewn in a crooked way with the belief that reconstruction would fix the ugliness of it. Over the weeks it gradually started to look red and angry, the protest became remarkably painful. Then it acquired an ashen tone and then it decided that it had has enough and since then has attempted to take off , piece by piece. 28 radiations and the disappointed skin has almost left, giving me a chance to start over. The big rectangle of pink erosion is the guarantee that I can.
The last step of cut, poison and burn, I should look forward to being done with treatment and be thankful of having the opportunity of thinking of a future, uncertain, nonetheless a future.
For the last seven weeks, when I check in at the desk, I would tell the friendly receptionist ” I would like it medium rare” and they would chuckle. Pretty soon it was “well done”, then ” extra crispy” and now “sushi (raw)” . Happy to have kept them entertained in midst of the darkness of cancer they deal with every day.
Nothing worth doing is painless, radiation isn’t either.