At this point, maybe it should be raw run and hide.
We’ve arrived at the penultimate day of radiation. One … more … treatment! That’s worth at least a ta-da!, if not an attaboy or two. I wanted to show you, at the risk of abandoning whatever vanity I have left, where we are, six weeks out. Once upon a body, I’d have been mortified to have this image out there.
Today? Poobah. Yes, publishing this unfettered exposure of my naked and irradiated meaty parts (uppers) should feel risky, guarded, embarrassing, and just plain oodgy. Who wants to see this? I don’t, and I’m in the skin.
No more. All that matters is the truth. Pretty or not. I’ve tried to give you that since we began. No point in doing anything else.
This picture, taken an hour ago, is where we are: me, and this thing I walk around in. It’s the truth, but still unnerving to me, like that first time years ago I looked in the mirror and saw my Dad.
Look closely: even if you remove the cancer, the burn, the pudgy corners, the neck waffles --- even if you put back the hair, sat me up straighter and subtracted forty years --- you’d still have this near wreck of a man, some of it Ma Nature’s fault, some of it Father Time’s, some of it the hard luck of the draw. And, some of it … a stupid human trick.
Still, even at this plateau (I’m not quite ready for a crevasse or a precipice), I’m going with the future as an opt-in add-on.
One more treatment and we’ll begin to know less of what we don’t know, and more of what we can’t know just yet, all as we set sights on the next plateau. Today, my white blood cell count is one-point-two.
1.2 is low-low.
“Normal” range is 4.5 to 11.
Low enough that the Docs are again giving me the needle (they’re good doctors) about what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Infection is always lurking when a WBC gets this low, and that could mean big trouble at this stage.
Okay, Doc. Yes, I’ll drink, eat, do everything in sub-moderation, and behave myself until the next horizon.
Worried? Scared? Angry? Resolute? Sad? Hang-dogged? Upbeat? Woebegoing? Every which way?
And, this picture? No Photoshop fixes. No filters. No touch-ups. No softening downs. No enhancements. No airbrushing. No attempts at artsy-fartsy. Nothing here but my hide.
See you at the next first finish line.
More as we go, El