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The Big and the Small

Big things and small things. Small things and big things.

I tasked my Advanced Theatre class with writing about their summer. I thought they would it would be this dramatic assignment with Covid-19 and the Pandemic front and center, but it kind of wasn’t. They were mainly focused on their lives. Learning to drive. Seeing friends when they could. I don’t like asking people to do something I’m not willing to do myself, so I am joining them on their daily assignment. This summer was all about the big and the small. That’s what happened to me this summer. The very big, and the very small.

On Monday morning I finished another around of radiation. I think I did four this summer to all different part of my body.

Magic Beams. That’s what that guy’s wife called them. Each time I go into the room, magic beams come out and make me better.

Occasionally it sounded too much like Magic Beans which is a slightly different context. But still. I suppose a context that could work.

The only scary thing about the Magic Beams, or Beans which ever floats your boat, is that I don’t know how many shot of them I have. How many rounds of radiation does one get in this life? I’d love an unlimited supply of them because they seem to be working. But there is also something very nerve-racking about having things work. Mainly— how long do they last? How long does something stay working? How long does a thing stay healed? I suppose that is the answer no one knows. No one knows the time and the place. The hour or the day. Doesn’t the good book say something about a thief in the night? I’ve just got to be prepared? Prepared for what I’m not totally sure of. Doesn’t Hamlet say, “The readiness is all.” I think he says it somewhere in Act 5. I don’t want to be quoting Hamlet anywhere near Act 5.

But I would like to know how many rounds I get. Because when I get them they seem to work, so I will take a big heaping handful. Or just as many as I want. Let me fill my pockets and sleeves and anything else that can hold anything. Even thought that doesn’t seem likely. Surely radiation isn’t like a Rita’s Italian Ice. Surely I just can’t come get a punch card for ten free punches and then they give me another round of radiation for free! Or maybe I can? Is there a manager I can speak to? I’ll become a Karen with a Karen hair cut to get some answers to a question like that. I guess that’s the fear of every cancer patient. Or or every person suffering with anything. How many rounds of medicine do I have? How many weapons in my quiver? Because as long as I have weapons, I have hope.

But radiation only targets one area, and I’ve got other places I’ve got to thing of. A week from Friday I start my systemic treatment. It’s similar to the trial I was getting down at Emory, but different. Hopefully, since that treatment stopped working. And quickly. By the end that treatment made it difficult for me to walk my stairs and by difficult I mean basically impossible. The radiation has certainly helped with that. I can now make it to the top of the stairs! Without stopping. It doesn’t feel great when I get to the top, but my recovery time is pretty short, and that’s a victory to hold onto. How many victories do we get? I guess that’s a question for the manager. When I find the person with those answers I’ll let everyone know.

But the weird thing is, I’m wondering if that person/thing/entity exists. Because one of the weird things that has happened this time was that none of my doctors really suggested one treatment over the next. There is one that people want me on but there are financial issues and lung issues with the drug, so I need to get healthier before I take it. And richer apparently. They basically laid out a few options and were like, “So, what do you think?” I said, “Well, I think I’m a writer. How about what you tell me what YOU all think?”

But I also suppose it’s my choice. I’m the one in charge of my medicine. Especially once the answers get harder. I wouldn’t want any other way. The good news is this new kind has very few side effects. I say that like it’s good news. And it is since I don’t like feeling bad. But are side effects evidence that it’s working. That’s what the guy told me at the beginning of this whole thing. It was kicking his ass and that’s how he knew it was working. Wow, that feels like so long ago. That’s good. A sign that at least some of it is working.

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