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The first few rounds of zapping began the Monday following my initial radiology visit, and besides being spaced out in la-la-land for a few minutes afterwards, it was a piece of carrot cake topped with cream cheese icing. I got to park my car for free (which was only for those of us with daily radiation appointments) and waited my turn daily, along with a few sad-looking ladies wearing various paltry head covers and old gents looking at the floor as they waited to have their privates nuked. I empathized, but it seemed they mostly wanted to be left alone.

Plenty of helpful pamphlets were offered to the afflicted, as well as a big shiny bowl of colorfully wrapped candy. Many studies I came across on the Internet tell us that the Big C thrives on sugar, and for the cancer-stricken to cut as much as possible out of their diet, but as Kurt Cobain once said, “Oh well, whatever, never mind.” Throughout my health crisis, I observed quite a chasm between the medical and holistic worlds, but I was determined to make them work for me in happy tandem. And I didn’t take one single Tootsie Roll out of that bowl.

I asked for the latest appointment, due to burning the rock and roll (after) midnight oil once again, and usually arrived at 11:45. The first day, Iva took me, and when I emerged from the darkened treatment room, she made me sit down while I came back to sunny SoCal reality. I think part of the reason I was so zoned out was because while lying on the machine, I focused so intently on inviting angels and saints to join me, that I put myself into a Zen-like state. I could actually see and feel Jesus standing very close, directly behind me. You weren’t supposed to feel the radiation itself, but I definitely felt that invisible stream entering my flesh, and imagined it as purple healing light that only attacked the naughty wayward cells and left the healthy ones alone.

Dr. Blechman had me get an unusual blood test that insurance wouldn’t pay for (for some dumb reason) that counted my Killer T cells, and we found out that not only didn’t I have enough of the little buggers, but the ones I had were much too peaceful, floating around inside me like hippie flower children instead of waging war against the enemy. He told me I should encourage them to fight for me, even suggesting that I step on ants and stop carrying spiders out of the house! I did start talking to my Killer cells, telling them it was high time they put up their dukes. Three times a day, Dr. B. had me take some high-falutin’ new mushroom supplement that was supposed to build my immunity and keep my murderous cells in tip-top shape.

Iva suggested that I have someone drive me to my daily appointments whenever possible, and I invited several friends to accompany me to the zap-den. It gave us a chance to hang out and catch up, and for them to assist me in some way. Sometimes, my pals and family were at a loss about what they could do for me, and everyone I called couldn’t wait to schlep me to my appointed destination. We all know our friends love us, but when this dastardly thing came upon me, I actually felt buoyed and uplifted by the outpouring of adoration. My ex-husband, Michael checked on me every day, cracking me up with his inimitable wit and spot-on observations. My boyfriend, Mike, continued his sweet, stalwart ways, making me feel hot and sexy even when the gradual “sunburn” made it hard to frolic in certain positions-and I never missed one of his gigs, dancing all the way through my 46 radiation treatments.

Like I said, the first dozen or so nuke appointments flew by, and I really tried not to ponder the fact that I was knowingly harming my very own flesh. I faithfully applied three types of Aloe Vera, including the fresh bright green goo from my front porch plant. And I mostly thought about how I was taking advantage of those big 50% odds that the cancer wouldn’t return if I subjected my precious mammary gland to this particular onslaught.

Yes, as the weeks passed, even though I was beginning to poop out a bit, I was doing pretty well. The scars were slowly fading, and my birthday was approaching. Being an only child, I was celebrated annually like September 9th just might be December 25th in disguise. I continued the practice, and this year I had decided to surround myself with girlfriends only on my Special Day.

Right around this time, about halfway through the radiation treatments, one of the technicians said something truly frightening, sending me into a temporary tailspin. My tortured breast was beginning to throb and burn, and had turned a scary shade of dark pink. “Sometimes,” the gentle, rail thin Asian fellow said as he adjusted the machine angles, “the radiated breast will break down…” Break down? What did that mean?

To Be Continued……….

If anyone reading this has anything she wants to say to Pamela, or share with us, please e-mail us at / Issue 56 - September 6211
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