I’m not at the cancer clinic today!

My last radiation treatment was yesterday. The nurses and techs congratulated me for sticking with the 40-day program. I told them I felt like I was being let out on parole. The main tech said, “Aw, it wasn’t that bad.” I told her it was the commute that was tedious because I had to drive 35 minutes each way. (Nothing like my one-hour Atlanta commutes in the old days.) I think I’ll probably end up being the most wild and crazy patient they ever had since I see the world differently and am liable to say anything–and did. (When they asked me what the doctor said about the chills I had recently, although he said it had nothing to do with the therapy, I told the techs he said somebody put a hex on me but I wasn’t allowed to say who it was.)

The treatments, which lasted about 10 minutes each, were done with one of the clinic’s three Varian Linear Accelerators. Very high tech. I’ll have a follow-up appointment at the clinic in a month, presumably to go over everything.

Hormone therapy continues with my next appointment in January, three months after the last radiation treatment. This takes away what the cancer cells need. It could be three to six months before we know about remission. The hormone therapy provides false readings on the tests until the therapy is complete.

A breakthrough with the MRI about five years ago that can see cancer cells based on the sugars surrounding them is not yet out of testing (presumably) and in the field. If it passes muster, it should make all or most biopsies unnecessary. And, for my purposes, would tell me exactly where I am right now.

The treatment program I’m following is usually successful. I got a certificate from the clinic saying I’d undergone that therapy. One of the nurses grabbed me by the hand and dragged me out into the waiting room where there’s a mounted bell on the wall, along with a plaque that says patients should ring this when they finish a therapy program.

I asked if there was any particular approved way to ring it. She said “no.” I looked at my watch and said, “It’s 2:30. In the Navy, that’s five bells,” and I proceeded to ring it briskly in the proper manner: Ding Ding. . .Ding Ding. . .Ding.

I heard a lot of applause, but have no idea whether or not there were any former sailors there who understood I gave the time I was leaving the clinic.

It’s nice to be done with this phase.

Malcolm

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