Entry 6 in the colorectal cancer blog journal "I've Got a Mass in My Ass".
Was it really just six weeks ago that I arrived at the Royal Victoria Hospital oncology ward as a wide-eyed wisp of a lad enchanted by a wondrous oasis of complimentary tea biscuits and cranberry juice? Today was "Graduation Day" after 30 radiation treatments and a month-and-a-half regimen of chemo pills. I even got to wear a graduation gown of sorts, although it didn't have a backside, and instead of throwing my hat up into the air, I just threw up.
Actually, that's not true. I've been very fortunate in terms of side effects, or - more to the point - lack thereof. No nausea, no hair or weight loss, no dry skin, no need for adult diapers (thank you, baby Jesus) and no more fatigue than normal for someone who gets up for work at 3:30am five days a week. Except for an inflamed sciatic nerve that would have put a dent in my belly dancing game if I were a belly dancer, it was a seamless experience that left me short on grievance and long on gratitude. Even the subsequent discovery that it was cranberry cocktail and not juice failed to dampen my appreciation for the care and compassion I've received since being diagnosed nearly four months ago. The most important and revealing thing I've learned is that as much as the health care system can seem impersonal, the people are dedicated professionals who give you everything they've got and then some when the chips are down.
It was a pleasure to engage daily with Javier and Mariko in treatment room 6 at the radiology department, and I hope I never seen them again, except when I drop by to thank them for their help after the doctors tell me I'm good to go.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and take nothing for granted - except that the Leafs will miss the playoffs again.