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False Endings

I got to the cancer center at 7am, excited about my last day of radiation. I parked my car, said hello to the guy who works the door, checked in for my appointment, and made my way to the waiting room. I was the first one there. The television wasn't even on yet.

I heard the door open again. My friends the ex-postal worker and the ex-Army guy walked in the room. We said hello and complained about how cold it was. She said they were predicted snow. I had the appropriate amount of shock. "What is this, Michigan?" I joked. They laughed, but just to be polite. I appreciated the gesture.

I had thought about how I would say goodbye to them. Should I get them a Starbucks gift card? Should I write them a note? It's only been three weeks, but it still feels like a significant parting.

One of the techs popped their head into the room. This was it. This was the moment. Right as I was about to goodbye for the last time to the ex-postal worker and the ex-Army guy, the tech informed us that the machine was down. Someone was coming by to fix it, but it was going to be at least an hour.

My final treatment was postponed.

This wasn’t the first time this happened. Back in December, the day I was scheduled to have my tenth and “final” infusion, my port decided not to have a blood return. I had to leave the hospital with the cancer equivalent of blue balls. Not that that’s a real thing.

Maybe there’s a lesson in there. Each time I’ve reached the end of a major phase of treatment, it’s been delayed, pushed back. A smarter person would say to stop looking for the end. Or to be happy that I get to see my new friends for another morning. Or to see another sunrise over Paris Mountain. Whatever it is, I get to go back in tomorrow morning. Maybe the reason will present itself then.

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