It’s been only recently, exactly a year after I finished radiation therapy, that I have been able to touch my right breast as if nothing had happened, as if nothing was going to break, as it if it weren’t a combustible part of me that could explode at any moment.
Tag: breast cancer
The woman with the crisp white coat who showed me into the darkened ultra-sound room was familiar. In fact, I remembered her well, because her name is Claudia, and she is from Brazil. It’s an odd examination, the ultra-sound: you are in a darkened room, in close proximity to a technician who slides a wand up and down your goop-covered abdomen (in my case), and stares at a screen, without uttering a word on what she is seeing. You can’t make aimless chitchat because she is concentrating so you are left with eyes turned towards the ceiling, wondering if she is seeing something you are not going to know about until your doctor calls you.
On a resplendent Saturday afternoon, driving along the coast in Orange County, a commercial came on the radio for a famed Los Angeles hospital and its cutting edge breast cancer treatments.
“How does it feel, now, when you hear stuff like this?” the friend sitting next to me asks.
“A bit more personal” I answer. And leave it at that.
As a lover of all things old and odd that can be found on Netflix, last night I started watching a 1976 mini-series based on the Irwin Shaw’s book, Rich Man Poor Man whichI vaguely remember reading as a teenager under a boyfriend’s recommendation. At one point, the father of the Jordache brothers accuses his wife of being an old-looking 40 year old. I gasped. 40? I thought she was meant to be 60. Without the benefits of filter lighting, fillers or cosmetic surgery, the actress looked all of her maybe 45 to 50 years but I assumed she was much older, conditioned as I am to see only wrinkle-free faces on the screen.
In the last five days I achieved my goal of doing as little as possible. Sort of.
I came to a lovely resort outside Tucson, Arizona, to see the desert in bloom. And to read. A few margaritas might have been in the cards too, to celebrate the end of radiation therapy.
Dogs in tow, I alighted at the Loews – a very pet friendly chain – not sure what to expect. In my mission of trying not to do, I didn’t even have some research under my belt: no restaurants I wanted to visit; no museums; no tourist landmarks that had to be seen. I didn’t even know what, if anything, was a must see in Tucson.
It starts innocuously enough.
“Can you come in on Friday for a CAT scan? We need it to map your radiation.”
And off I go, to don one more pale blue hospital gown, black marks painted on my skin to guide the alignment for the radiation machine, chatting with yet another pleasant technician while I would rather be home with my nose in a book.