Still Cooking

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It appears I am a big liar – I don’t have weeks of radiation to go: I AM DONE! Radiation therapy is officially over!

I realize I recently posted that I still had a few weeks left. I have absolutely no idea why I thought that my 6 weeks of radiation therapy had morphed into something closer to 8, but by way of explanation I can only refer you to a previous post describing my “ chemo brain .”

The point is I’m done and I no longer have to go into the hospital every single day! I am sick, burnt, feverish, exhausted and yet I haven’t experienced a feeling of freedom like this since the first day of summer holidays back in high school! Right after the bell rang and just before the boredom kicked in.

However I don’t think I’ll be bored with not having to go to the hospital every day anymore. Not a chance. Au contraire.

“The thing is,” the medical radiation technician said to me, as I hopped off the table for the very last time, “The effects will continue for another week and a half or so.” Perhaps this is why my end-date was fixed in my mind as being another two weeks hence.

“Yes,” I said, “I know, I’ll keep cooking.”

“Well, we don’t say cooking…” Replied the technician.

“No. Of course you wouldn’t. What do you call it then?”

“What is actually happening,” she explained, “Is that the cells xhskdjhfoi kdsjfosid sdhfoijgldfkn gliohjhfi and then kjhklf fdfgiodgfdfjghidfuhgjfdih dfjuhgoih so it will take about a week to ten days before you stop seeing these effects and things begin to normalize.”

I blinked twice to express my exact degree of comprehension.

The technician looked at me for a second the way I sometimes look at my daughter when I’m not sure if my explanation as to why we don’t pull leaves off houseplants is being processed or blatantly ignored. Then the technician kind of sighed and explained again how to continue to treat the area; what to do if the burns, the peeling, the raw flesh become too uncomfortable.

“Got it.” I replied, thanking them all and beating a hasty retreat to the change cubicle before anyone else tried to teach me scientific synonyms for “cooking.”

My dad called to congratulate me on the end of radiation therapy and I relayed this exchange to him. He agreed with me about the still-cooking theory.

“Makes sense,” he said, “Like taking a steak off the grill, or a turkey out of the oven and letting it rest before slicing. It continues to cook a bit.”

“Right, and the juices reconstitute!” I added, somewhat irrelevantly. I was just excited that the cooking analogy was making sense to someone else, albeit someone with the same medical expertise as me. “Except there’ll be no slicing, thank-you.”

“Nope,” said my dad, laughing, “You’ve had that done already.”

Giggling ensued. We are getting a lot of mileage out of this still-cooking thing, I tell you.