The new James Cancer OSU hospital is incredible. Simply that. Beautiful (or should I say Handsome James?)
Like returning to the new Children’s hosptial for chemotherapy, returning to the new James for radiation is different. Although I’ve done radiation 2x already, it seems new because of the building. Different waiting rooms. Different check-in. Different doctors even.
Instead of radiation being in the dungeon-basement of the old James, it is now on the second level. Look down from the railing at the people. Look outside, through windows (windows!) and see Hope. We are now elevated from darkness to light, rising higher to see the Hope now. It is truly beautiful and refreshing.
Both of my parents are with me today. We don’t wait long to see the nurse, then the fellow residing with the doctor, and then the Radiologist himself. Impressive.
“Even though you’ve been through this before…” says the Nurse as she hands me a book on what to expect during radiation; it reminds me of those books What to Expect When You’re Expecting that I used to sell all the time at Barnes and Noble. She looks…sad to say that to me, but its the truth. Here I am, here we are, time number 3. Perhaps she looks sadder because of my age, because she’s used to working with adults who are on average 2x my age and doesn’t see all the kids who are half my age and younger down the cancer halls of Children’s like I do.
You can blame cancer of being a lot of things, but ageist is not one of them.
Both the Fellow and the Radiologist are soft-spoken, gentle. My parents and I have to lean in it seems to intently listen. And we listen. Listen to the possible side effects, to the procedure, to the timeline. We’ve been here before but not: what an odd dejavu moment indeed. We’ve done this, but not on this hip, not here in this building, not here at this age and moment in time.
One thing that is different and exciting for sure about this time: only 5 days of treatment! Woohoo! Typically you have weeks of radiation, weeks of coming in consistently every day (clock in, clock out: man, getting well is its own job indeed) and here I am, only 1 week! Praise God! My heart is joyous in comparing the time frame, the side effects, the recovery time of surgery. So minute it seems compared to surgery. Yes yes yes [!!!]
Later in the day: CT scan. Lay down, watch the machine circle around you, wooshing and swirling, like a hula hoop (if only this was childhood playtime). As I’m watching, waiting, my legs from the knee down are laying down on a something like a bean-bag. The nurse kneads the bean bag closer to my skin, forming it around me, and then lets its air out that it was connected to. It shrivels up, tightening up against me to create a mold of my leg-shape. It will be used every time to help hold me in place perfectly, for the radiation beems to consistenly strike the cancer-bullseye of their arrows.
Another helpful target for the arrows: markers. The nurses come and seem to stitch up my sides, both left hip and right hip, by marking lines so straight. What odd tattoos that are to stay on me for the next several weeks in anticipation for radiation.
We leave, and look up, down the hall, it’s Joel! My twin brother of survivorship.
Joel and I are twins, and yet only met a few weeks ago.
We have the same diagnosis.
We have our cancer in the same places.
We have had the same surgery, the same treatment.
We have the same doctors.
We were both diagnosed the same month.
We are both 23.
Yes, he is my twin brother of survivorship, and today its almost as if he is greeting and welcoming to this building that is new to me but home to him. Another great joy of the day, one that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t stayed longer for spur of the moment CT scan!
Radiation I know is where I am suppose to be instead of surgery. Thank God for unveiling his plans and his guidance!