Thursday, February 19, 2009

2-4-6-8! Five more weeks to ra-di-ate!

It's really inconvenient that my cancer cells are nesting inside my head, of all places.

That makes it all too easy for them to eavesdrop on messages that I listen to on my cell phone.

On Wednesday afternoon, someone at Kaiser phoned my cell and left a message telling that my radiation therapy appointment had been canceled because of a power outage in the Hollywood area.

Right after the message was over, I heard the gang of cancer cells on my tongue all shout "Kegger!!!"

Wednesday's session was to have been a mini-milestone: it would bring me to the 25-percent mark of my cancer treatment adventure. I wasn't thrilled about skipping a day and allowing cancer cells to run roughshod on my tongue for a day, like microscopic Bluto Blutarskies.

So I decided to pretend that I didn't get the call canceling the appointment, and to head to Kaiser anyhow. I have a stubborn streak running through me as wide as Duarte.

Sure enough, when I arrived at the Radiation Oncology Department, the power outage had been resolved and the reception area was full of patients waiting for treatment.

I weighed in at 129.9 pounds –a drop of six pounds since last week.

I stared at the scale and asked myself, "129.9? Is that a weight, or a price for a gallon of gas in the '70s?" I think I last weighed less than 130 in my fingerpainting period.

If I'm not careful, my doctors might decide to give me a second G-tube so I can pack twice as many calories into my belly.

Once I entered the treatment room, I unbuttoned my shirt and picked up the stuffed frog that sleeps in my ThermaSplint mask in between radiation sessions.

The radiation oncologist helped me on to the treatment bed. "Does the frog belong to one of your kids?" he asked.

I looked up and shook my head no.

"Do you have any kids?" he asked.

I shook my head again.

"Oh," he said. "Well, is the frog from your wife?"

I was slightly stunned. I just can't remember the last time that someone failed to instantly size me up as gay, or at the very least, as someone who prefers to sleep on Disney's Aladdin pillow cases.

Well, you don't need to have good gay-dar to operate a radiation machine, right? I hope some cancer cells died on the battlefield during Wednesday's session.

Time –and tongue– will tell.

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