Thursday, September 20, 2012


I finished radiation today. We had quite the little plan. I'd bought gifts and written cards for my therapists. Our sweet neighbor was taking the middle kids for the morning. Megan, my mom, and Annie were going to join us at the hospital to witness the ceremonial bell-ringing. Then we were going to have a sweet celebration with friends and be home in time to nap before Talya made me carrot cake (her random idea).

And, really, it all seemed a bit ridiculous to me. Because, really, I haven't done a dang thing to be proud of except for take a snooze every morning on an uncomfortable table with lasers pointed at my head. But these things are important to Ben, and I love him for it. It's like when he forced me to go to my college graduation even though I'd finished school a semester ago because he thought I should do the diploma/shake hands with Jay thing. Well, I'm right about most of our things, but he's right about these ones. It does feel good to gather with those who know you well enough to know what you're celebrating and what you're not and ring a bell and shake some hands and give some hugs and be given a piece of paper that says "you did it."

But the machine broke. It's happened once before. It's not a comforting thought to think that the machine that aims damaging light rays into your brain can malfunction so easily, but it can and it does. And, for me, that meant our little plan got derailed and we spent most of the day waiting for them to tell us we could come in.

Our celebration shrunk, but it did include Dairy Queen. And 6 really loud kids. And two friends who turned their days inside out to be with me. One friend who knows too well that you can celebrate treatment ending even when you know that it doesn't mean anything is over.

So, it was anti-climactic. Charlie rang the bell for me. I signed the board, joining my name with hundreds of others to say, "I was here. I walked this walk and even though I'm tired and half-bald, I've come out of these past 7 weeks a little better than the broken machine."

And that horrible, horrible mask? I got to bring it home.

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