Friday, April 29, 2011

More Radiation, Please

I was recently scanned by TSA at the airport.

When they told me to "put your feet here, face this way and raise your arms over your head" I said, "yeah I got it. Just what I need after 35 radiation treatments for cancer." My comment went over like a wet fart in church reverberating against the wooden pew. I got a look that was half stern and half WTF. It also jarred my memory that I needed to schedule my next scan. Even more radiation. More arms over my head. More prayers for a clean scan with no cancer growing in my body.

My good friend Matt––another cancer survivor of over 15 years––and I talked about the lasting emotional and mental scars that cancer treatment "gives" you. I asked him, "when will I not think about cancer every day?" He said, "you'll get there eventually". And I have. After only 3 and a-half-years since my diagnosis I don't think of "my cancer" every day. (I'm getting really close to a writer's world record for quotation marks in one space). But this time of year, I have to make my follow-up appointments with my team of Doctors. I started with the easy one, my GP. It's gets more invasive from here, with needles, radiation and tubes with cameras up my nose and down my throat.

If Mr. Sunshine at the TSA showed any form of human interaction with me, I would've asked him, "does the scan show if I'm cancer free or not." I'm sure that would have put the whole airport on lockdown and I would've missed my plane. And I would have demanded that they show me the x-ray so I could take it to my Doctors and see if I could skip the whole scanning process. Could you imagine the press having a field day with this headline, "Former cancer patient tries to use his x-rays from TSA for treatment." For sure I'd get radiated EVERY time I went through airport security.

That would suck.

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