Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Nothing about this video is routine - my first days post-chemo. More of my videos here.

I received my ninth radiation treatment today. Every time I go in I see the same two radiation techs. Each time we tell each other one thing about ourselves. This was my idea and they go along with it kindly. Already old friends, the challenge for them is to come up with something they don't already know about each other. For me, it's easy, they know little about me beyond the margins of my disease.

I've told them that I have three brothers, that I took figure skating lessons a few years ago, that I spent a year living in a van traveling the country, that I grabbed the opportunity of a misplaced iPod to break my addiction to wireless internet. It's been almost two weeks now that I haven't wasted nocturnal hours next to my sleeping husband checking email and surfing YouTube. And they've told me about their high school days, their creative endeavors, their home towns, their freakishly long arms, and near misses with junk food cravings threatening to disrupt a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. I wish I had more than five minutes with them each day. I like these people.

I also wish I didn't have to lie on that table pretending, unintentionally mind you - I guess that's called denial - that radiation is entirely make believe, hocus-pocus, that I am fine, that I am not actually engaged in a dark and dangerous fight for my life. But the pretending only goes so far. I know the secret handshake now. I'm a full-fledged member of the cancer club, which means other members in need of an understanding ear slip me the inside scoop on their recent scans, the cancer now in their bones. Don't tell anybody.

I keep coming back to this: live now. Live now. Live Now. Then turn the page, accept all changes to the landscape, and live now.

Speaking of which, last Thursday, after my sixth radiation treatment, I did a triathlon. It was a short triathlon, just 600 yards of swimming, 12 miles on the bike, and a 5K run. I made no particular training effort for this, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision and just my second ever tri. The first was two years before, at the same place, and a good eight minutes slower. I was so nervous then. This time it felt easy.

Go figure.


Jody said...

Fantastic post. I really enjoyed reading this - way to go!

Anonymous said...

Amy, soon you will be half way through this particular segment of your journey. And while I know you do not necessarily feel it generous to share what you've shared, from the outside, from a few thousand miles away, please know that it is.

A few weeks ago my airway got cut off from a choking incident that defied two Heimlich maneuvers. I eventually got what was stuck down but I thoroughly echo your Live Now sentiment.

You are incredibly good at balancing a dark and dangerous fight for your life with living that life in the here and now with appreciation and grace.

Hugs to you and Millie from California...