It's been slightly more than a month since the diagnosis and after the PET scan (to ascertain the stage of the disease) and a few blood tests, it's finally time to go under that shot of radiation to kill those cancerous cells! I was just telling a friend that I was looking forward to the radiance on my face after treatment - pun obviously intended. And perhaps the first thing I'm really grateful for at this point in time is the fact that the disease had been discovered early, and so I'll probably just require 12 days of radiation therapy - and that's it.
The first day was slightly scary for me, and an inner critic within me would say it's just overthinking on my part. (Though who's to say what constitutes overthinking, right? We have the right to think and stay with our emotions! :D) I'm really grateful for the many people (especially my parents, brother, my theatre family at Split Theatre, and friends from various circles) who have showered me with questions about my well-being - physically and emotionally. One question I really appreciated was a simple one: "are you scared?" And I guess it's really ok to feel different emotions at this point in time, and when we choose to stay with who we are and how we feel in times of crisis, it's a kind of congruence that's really valuable?
I entered the treatment room and was told that the procedure would take 45 minutes, especially because it was the first day and they had to ensure that the positioning of the body was right. I was then led into a dim place and was told to lie down on a narrow bed. A week before, we created a mask that was molded to my likeness - from shoulders to forehead - and they fit that on me to protect the rest of my face, leaving a small part exposed for the treatment. They then started shifting me a little to the right and to the left, just to ensure that the positioning was accurate, and that, as much as possible, the healthy cells were protected from the radiation. (At least that's what I believed they were doing?) I shifted my body to help in the positioning and one of the radiation therapists said a simple statement that got me thinking, "Leave it to us."
What's in that statement?
To me, it's about letting go. I gave up the control that I had over my body and allowed the professionals to take over. To do what they did best. And that required a certain level of trust. I recall the many times in life when I had been really obsessed with being in control and being in the know, and in that manner, it became a really agonizing experience (for myself and others), because sometimes we just hold on too tight onto things and that tightness ironically turns around to suffocate the hell out of us.
You know what? I'm actually quite grateful for this period of rest. When it's time to really let go. When it's time to chill and recalibrate. When it's time to loosen up and give up the control that I've always been obsessed about.
Coming back to the treatment, even though it was painless, there's some form of swelling and tenderness today because my skin probably isn't used to the high level of radiation (duh!). We'll see how it goes. A little tired, but not too much just yet. In any case, it's time to chill, and to just be. I'm grateful for this. :)