Radiation and Losing Friends
Radiation started this week. So far it has only been two treatments. They go pretty fast. Immediately afterwards I find myself wondering if I’m feeling anything. Can I tell that the invisible beam is attacking part of my body?
We did have a bit of a misunderstanding, for which the radiation oncologist felt bad. I might have just been misremembering. Radiation is on the lymph node chain the goes from my under arm to my neck – that part I knew – but it also covers around the surgical area. She showed us the CT and where the surgical clips were, and the radiation target areas which included the area between the surgical clips. It makes sense, I just somehow didn’t realize it.
Last week I also lost a friend – Lilani – who loved to send me postcards from where ever she was travelling. She loved to send and receive letter mail. She was diagnosed metastatic just at the beginning of covid. She was such a light in this world, I am so sad that she is gone.
I met Lilani at a young survivors support group when I was newly diagnosed. I had just had my head shaved, so had not lost my hair yet. She taught me how to tie a headscarf and commented that wearing dangly earrings was the key to making the headscarf look good. I remember that as if it were yesterday. Myself, Lilani, and Katie were all from south bay, so we carpooled together for that evening support group. Later, after initial treatment, I convinced her to join BAYS – which at the time was hosted at my house. BAYS – Bay Area Young Survivors – is a peer led support group and became my close friend circle. I miss being near all my BAYS friends, and I do hope to get down to California to visit them in the Spring. I need their hugs.
I’m mad at cancer. One of the things I was looking forward to in the fall was a trip to California to see my friends – a trip that was cancelled when my recurrence was found. One of the friends I was looking forward to hugging was Lilani. Cancer took that away from me.
On the drive to Halifax for my first radiation treatment, it occurred to me, the lymph nodes that I’m getting radiated are the same ones where Lilani found her metastatic lump. We had been at a sleep over and she noticed something under her collarbone. And now, I’m getting radiation under my collarbone. It is so triggering.
Radiation also seems to have me crying more often. I don’t know if that is a side effect of the radiation or just a reaction to everything that is happening.