I had my last treatment today and rang the bell. It’s bell for patients who have completed their radiation treatment regimen to declare a victory loudly.
Renee, Jasmin, Jeff, and Rose have been very patient with me and making sure I am comfortable and ready for each treatment. At the first treatment, they had to remove the mask when I freaked out with an overwhelming feeling that I was drowning. The face mask felt like a wet towel over my face. My anxiety flared up three times during the first treatment. But each of these people made me feel safe to be vulnerable.
But they were gentle and kind and helped me prepare each morning. Lots of Xanax and a cup of Sleepy Time tea initially. Then much less Xanax.
In the two weeks, I was with them; I developed a connection to these people. There was a connection around the shared goal of helping me back to health. But there are other connections as well.
Renee and I discovered that we both loved Star Trek, especially the original 1960’s television series. We’ve both seen all the television series as well as the movies, including the reboots. She’s a Trekkie! We commiserated about which episodes we loved and that we both didn’t like Star Wars as much. We had made a connection.
Rose and Jasmin both liked my socks. Let me explain, I have a nonmatching pair of socks that are sold that way. One has the design of R2D2, the other C3P0. So one blue sock and one gold-coloured sock to make a matched set. Rose loved it. It turns out she also loved wearing “funky” pattern socks. One day she wore socks with sushi patterns. Another day, it was flamingos. I wore a pair of socks with clinking beer steins. We had made a connection.
I have been documenting my progression with the treatment by taking a daily photo of the street scenes on 11 Street between Walnut, Samson and Chestnut Streets outside of the Bodine Center for Radiation Therapy. But this photograph of my care team is the best of all the images I have taken.
Thank you, Jasmin, Renee, Jeff, and Rose.