A Cliff Notes Version of Cancer Therapy

Since I don’t have time to describe everything that has gone on with my treatment since my last post in detail, I bring you this summarized version:

Wednesday, August 12th: Went to Jackson to the Cancer Care Center for my “Planning Session”. This is where I strip down to my socks and a hospital gown while the nursing staff plays tic-tac-toe on my abdomen with permanent markers. Actually, they had place marks on where to line up the equipment for my radiation treatments the following Monday. I go to work looking like a curved, flesh-colored radar screen.

Thursday, August 13th: I commented to my wife how the marks on me look like targets. She spent the next twenty minutes shooting me with a Nerf dart gun while saying helpful things like, “Roll a little to your left”.

Friday, August 14th: I went to the Cancer Care Center in Paris for them to line up their equipment to my targets/marks. Not thinking that I would be stripping down again, I wore my glow-in-the-dark, smiley face boxers. The nurse said that I “must have personality”. I told her that I have oodles of personality–and that she’d have to wait until thong day to see just how much.

Saturday, August 15th: I worked. A lot.

Sunday, August 16th: I proposed to my wife exactly ten years ago at the Biltmore Estate. Had I known then that she would, a decade later, use me for target practice as I lay preparing for radiation therapy from my recent cancer surgery, I would have done it anyway.

Monday, August 17th: On the one-month anniversary of my surgery, I went to Paris for my first radiation therapy following an overnight shift babysitting the store while our floors got stripped and waxed. I lay on a table, aware that I was being judged solely on the character of my underwear, and got zapped for ten seconds on either side, the X-ray machine rotating and making me feel like a rotisserie chicken. I slept most of the day, awaiting my second (and final) overnight shift.

Tuesday, August 18th: My daughter, Alex, turned 14 and my mother turned older than that. Following my long night, I had my second treatment and asked why the X-ray machine had a “Broil” setting. The nurses laughed. A few hours after the treatment, I began to feel tired and a bit queasy. I went to bed and slept for most of the day and all night.

Wednesday, August 19th: Off from work, I went to have my treatment and spent most of the day at home feeling lousy. Tired and queasy again, I did as little as possible.

Thursday, August 20th: I went for my treatment early and then to work immediately following. I was feeling tired and queasy again, although this time I didn’t make it through unscathed. Crouched in the bathroom floor at the store, I vomited while holding a paper towel in one hand and a can of Lysol in the other. I know what kind of stuff happens in that restroom and it’s bad enough crouching in the floor without thinking of the nastiness I’ve had to clean off the toilet from time to time. Vomit, spray, wipe, repeat. Then, I finished my shift, feeling like that word minus the “f” and went home. I was feeling better later in the evening, but felt as though someangry biker had kicked me in the gut a few times with steel-toe boots.

Friday, August 21st: My middle daughter, Haley, turned 12. At 3am, I was sick again, going back and forth from the bed to the bathroom, trying not to wake my wife, as the storm system in my belly moved south. At 6:30, when my alarm went off for me to get ready for my treatment, then work, I was exhausted and still sick, so I called the CCC and was told to not come in that day because I likely had a stomach virus that has been going around rather than the effects of the radiation. I then called work and told them I would not be in as there would be no sense paying me wages for sitting in the restroom all day. I slept until about one in the afternoon, got up, and made a wonderful chess pie. I always feel guilty about calling into work, even when I need to, and baking something for my wife seemed like a good way to alleviate some of that negative feeling.

Today, August 22nd: Went to work this morning and listened to my boss rant for two hours about how he had to take a cold shower because his water heater went out. I didn’t mention any of the above, because anyone who would be so self-indulgent probably wouldn’t have anything close to perspective, even if it was handed to him. Still, except for a little fatigue, I felt almost normal today.

So, there it is. My apologies to anyone hoping for a day-by-day rundown of my underwear selection. If demand is high enough, I’ll post pictures of them on here as soon as possible. In the meantime, just know that I’m working my way through the radiation and will hopefully be back on top of the world very shortly.

Also, to those of you who have told me that you would like to comment on my LJ posts, but don’t have an LJ ID to reply, feel free to email any comments, questions, concerns, or credit card numbers (with expiration dates and any applicable PINs) to leesmiley@gmail.com. Thanks!

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