My friend Georgia tells me that at Sloan Kettering you get to bang a big gong when you are finally done. I'd love to do that. But when the Technician at my German radiation treatment center gave me a patient satisfaction form to fill out, and I remarked that the Sloan Kettering ladies got to bang a gong, the techie seemed startled. Why would those American women want to do that? Why would anyone? The form asked me to comment on the amount of time I'd spent in the waiting room and whether I wanted to complain about that, and the amount of pain my skin had endured as a result of treatment (not all that much) but I wanted to talk about my need to bang a gong.
My breast looks like it forgot to put on sunscreen, and got French-kissed by a cheese grater. It feels like a bunch of mosquitoes have been pecking at it but if you didn't know, I console myself, you might mistake its rosy glow for orgasmic flush.
Meanwhile, I figure I can pass off my chemo-curls as a perm when I see my mother. I managed to get through breast cancer without her detecting that I was ill. Why wouldn't I tell her? I wanted to avoid the avalanche of anxiety, followed by her theories of why I came down with cancer in the first place--theories that would involve whatever she thinks I should or should not do or be. Then we'd have had another round of the avalanche of anxiety, concurrent with sudden, unwelcome contacts from doctors she thought I should see, or faith healers, or friends she'd met on the street who had reported they battled cancer with herbs and I should stop all that nasty chemo and radiation and try herbs instead . . . . it was so nice not having to deal with Mom while I went through all this.
Here's how to finish radiation: tap dance out of the office singing "I Did It My Way."