Phenon’s last radiation treatment is Monday, March 26th. Only one to go! When she is done, she will ring this bell. We have seen several others get to ring this bell. It’s a happy thing! All of the radiation technologists gather round, and cheer wildly as the (now-former) patient rings the bell. Then they hug and congratulate and send the patient on his or her way. They do helpful rituals very well in Baltimore. For kids, there’s one more step. After ringing the bell, “Princess Jill” will meet Phenon at the “Magic Castle” to grant one of her wishes. We had a little trouble finding the Magic Castle at first, but we found it under the glass stairway into the atrium that is the waiting room for Radiation Oncology.
I wanted to invite a bunch of people to come and cheer as Phenon walks out of cancer treatment and officially pronounces cancer defeated, but she was adamantly disinterested in such an embarrassing opportunity to be the center of attention. She very much wants to have a big party to celebrate the end, but she absolutely does not want it to happen in the lobby of the radiation oncology department at University of Maryland. And much as I’d like to make it into a big-ol’ hulabaloo, the kid has earned the right to celebrate in her own way and on her terms!
Phenon will still have some medical stuff to take care of in the next few months: another CT scan to see whether radiation has shrunk the remaining mass (it may have been killed but not shrunk, which is okay), an ultrasound of her heart to be sure that chemo hasn’t caused too much damage, surgery to remove her port-a-cath, and check-ups every six months (for the rest of her life) after all is said and done to monitor for recurrence. Even though that list seems kind of long when I type it all out like that, it seems like small potatoes compared to chemo and radiation.
In other news, I have amazing parents. (Wait, everyone already knows that! I guess this doesn’t count as news, in that case?) Tim’s car has long had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order, but we’ve been fixing it anyway, so it would continue to hobble along. The engine light has been on almost as long as we can remember, but this week it started making an ominous rattling sound. Not good. But my parents have come to rescue! To keep us from having the stress of figuring out how to manage with one car, they have stepped in and financed a new car for us. They have been helping us all along, but this big burst of help and generosity at the end of this terrible journey is above and beyond, and we are so, so grateful.
It is beginning to look like there could be a restful night in our near future.
Finally, I’m going to leave you with a playlist. Radiation can take a while, and they don’t want you to be bored and uncomfortable as you are strapped (and head-locked) to the table. So, you’re allowed to bring in your own music. This is Phenon’s playlist that she listens to as she’s going through radiation.
- Marry the Night (Lady Gaga)
- Rumour Has It (Adele)
- Distance (Christina Perri)
- Alice (Avril Lavigne) This one sounds like an anthem for getting through radiation to me!
- Arms (Christina Perri)
- Blackbird (The Beatles)
- Someone Like You (Adele)
- Penguin (Christina Perri)
- Uptown Girl (Glee Cast Version)
- Set Fire to the Rain (Adele)
- The Edge of Glory (Lady Gaga)
- Sad Song (Christina Perri)
- Rolling in the Deep (Adele)
The staff play this music loud for Phenon. Even with the thick, radiation repelling door closed, you can hear her music blasting down the hall. It’s almost like it’s all been a f**k cancer party, all along!