Single Digits: Live Like You Were Dyin’!

Only SEVEN more treatments to go!  Lucky Seven!   One of my radiation buddies heralded me this morning with:  “Seven!  That’s just a week and two days!  You’re a lucky girl!”  YES! I! AM! Glad to have 26 treatments behind me.

The boost I’m receiving has turned part of my armpit and a portion of the side of my breast a funky brown color in the shape of the shield that was created for me.  The shield looks like a cookie die that goes into a cookie press.  It’s just in this case the “cookie press” looks – literally – like one of those death ray guns from a science fiction B movie! The shield’s opening is about 3″ across the top, 1.7″ on the right and left sides, and about 4.25″ along the bottom.  The shield is placed just millimeters from my skin.  I’ll admit.  I’m afraid to breathe during the treatment.  The radiation causes a “tan” that is flashed on my body in that shape.  I’m hoping the discoloration will go away at some point.  Would hate to hang out at Oak Street Beach in South Haven, Michigan this summer sporting my new tankini and a “flash tan”!  I wanna turn heads with my stunning bod and beautiful smile.  NOT a funky quadrangle brown mark under my armpit!

Today I also broke my “Don’t ask.  Don’t tell.” policy.   Today I asked my newer radiation buddies name.  It’s Don.  Easy enough to remember.  It’s the same as my husband.  “No wonder I enjoy your company,” I told him delightedly after I’d asked, “that’s my husband’s name!”  I told him he reminded me of my old friend, Geno, who lived off Winter’s Road in southwest Allen county a few decades back.  “Well, I live in the original farm house off of Aboite!” he said, breaking into a big smile.  Did learn that his son was up and walking since his surgery Wednesday.  That’s really all he knew.  Don was called for his treatment right after that. I’m hopeful that all will be well for Don, his son, and his son’s family. 

As I sat and waited for my treatment session I thought back to the days when I enjoyed spending time at Geno’s farm.  It took me back to my early twenties when I had lots of hopes and dreams and plans for what I envisioned my life would look like when I got to be the age I am now.  It got me to thinking.  The only thing stopping me from still creating that life is me.  I’ve still got time.  Maybe that’s why I met Don in the waiting room.  To jog my memories of happier, verdant times of my youth. 

Seven days of radiation left.  Lucky Seven!  I’m gonna live like I was dyin’!  Geno would be very proud of me.  I can see him smiling now.  “An-GEE.  BAY-BEE!” he’d say.  “That’s my girl!  You gotta get a tougher skin.  Don’t let people push you around.  You’ve got something a lot of women don’t have.  Get tough.” 

Oh, how I wish I could have one more day to sit with him at his kitchen table, his wife Marty fixin’ sourdough pancakes on their stove, Geno pouring me a small cup of coffee so strong it nearly dropped out of his coffee press.  I’d tell him all about Don and the kids.  I’d tell him I got tougher.  I’d tell him about “my project”.  I’d show him my card! (You all will get to see it soon!)  I’d thank him for inviting me into his home and his life nearly 30 years ago.  I’d throw my arms around his neck and once more enjoy his big bear hug squeeze and his wet, solid kiss on my cheek.  He always made me feel safe.  He always made me feel valued.  He always made me feel like he thought there was nothing I couldn’t do. “Girl.  You’re somethin’ else,” he’d say with a twinkle in his eye.

Today, I’m living in honor of Geno, and my new friend, Don, and my youthful dreams that can be realized with my adult experience and drive.  I’m living, Geno!  I’m living!

Go make it an amazing day in your world, too!

With love,