Wow, it’s been a little while since I’ve updated. I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas, and if you didn’t, well, at least it’s over now! Our Christmas was great. The kids had a blast and loved the whole experience so much. It really brings the magic back to the season when you celebrate with kids. I mean, our three year old gets ridiculously excited at even the poorest excuse for a light display on a house. Really makes you appreciate everything all over again – I love it!
As we are tumbling towards the new year, I am on my 7th radiation treatment out of 20 and am really trying to take in this experience. It really is something. As far as side effects, I feel more tired than normal, I have a slight sore throat, some dry mouth, and a few mouth ulcers. But, all in all, I’m feeling pretty good! It still blows my mind that a little 5 minute treatment can cause so many undesirable side effects (mine are most likely yet to come – yaayyyy).
The most interesting part by far is the interactions with the other patients. These are my people. These are my homies. Granted, I’m typically about 30+ years younger than anyone else there (the youngest person I’ve seen there so far is probably in her early 50s) but when you have something like this in common, you form fast friendships.
It’s pretty nice actually. You have a scheduled appointment at the same time every day (mine is 10:15) and since most people are there early for their appointments, myself included, you really start to form relationships with the people who have appointment times right before and after yours. The way it works is we come into the main waiting room where whoever came with me waits then I head straight back to the radiation area where I change into my beautiful gown and then sit and wait in a separate patients’ waiting area. Some people’s spouses come back to this area, but most people come back by themselves.
So now that I’ve set the scene, lemme tell you about my homies. Bear with me, this is going somewhere! I promise. There’s Shirley (that’s probably not her real name, but since I don’t know it, it’s just what I call her in my head). She’s a few appointments ahead of me so I don’t see her much, but she has, of all things, melanoma!! She’s probably about 75 and she’s taking it really hard. Then there’s Doug after her. He is probably about 65 and has prostate cancer and knows just enough about everything so there is never a dull moment with him around! Then is Big Red. Def not her real name, but it’s appropriate because she is very tall and has beautiful long red hair that is always perfectly curled. She is probably in her early 50s and is always dressed to the nines and her hair and makeup perfect. She comes back with her husband and they don’t talk to anyone but each other. That’s ok. Everyone deals differently. Then there’s my favorite homie Joanne. She is in her 60s and has uteran cancer and is so sweet and wonderful. I always enjoy our chats. Same with Phil who comes next. He’s probably in his late 60s and has a muscle cancer called a sarcoma. He always comes back with his wife and they are so sweet!
All this to say, this experience has opened my eyes to how quickly our playing fields can be leveled. Or, to put it another way, how easy it becomes in this situation to see these people as, well,
people. Let me explain. All I see now is people who are mad and offended going off about the other side who made them mad by offending them. It is nothing now for someone to completely dehumanize the other side because they are “morons” or “ignorant” or whatever. And it doesn’t stop there. People are completely demonized because of how they think on one subject or another. Celebrities are forced to state everything they are for or against so that we can decide whether or not we “like” them, or if they are just another ignorant moron. What are we teaching our kids? That people who think differently are bad? Here’s what I’ve found, I don’t know how any one of these other patients think about any hot topic of the moment. But we are there for each other and are supporting each other and none of the other stuff matters. None of it. Jesus taught us that it’s not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick and that he didn’t come to save the riteous but the unriteous. Hello!? That’s all of us!!! Not one of us is better than another, no matter how cultured or Godly or progressive we may be. We are fooling ourselves and destroying Jesus’ mission when we catergorize and then dehumanize God’s precious people. I blame social media, honestly. It’s so easy now to make our views known and we are all just waiting for something to offend us. I’m calling out all sides of every debate here!! And I’m guilty of it too, trust me. Pretty sure I lost a lot facebook friends after the last election. But you live and learn.
One of my hugest pet peeves is when Christians expect non-Christians to act and think like Christians. It’s absurd. Maybe I have a different perspective because I lived on the non-Christian side for most of my life. But look at Jesus. He never compromised himself or his values, he lived the last years of his life in a state of persecution and hardship, and he loved people on such a deep level that people flocked to him. Don’t get me wrong, I would never tell anyone to compromise God’s truth and just try to pacify people, I’m suggesting maybe we love people enough to break down these barriers that we are putting up unessicarily. Let’s do it like Jesus did it! Love people, speak truth, and forgive always. I’m getting a taste of that now. I’m able to see these people on such a human level. My concern is not what they think of A&E or Miley Cyrus or the president or whatever, but how they are feeling physically, how they are emotionally and spiritually, how their families are holding up, etc. It’s like this amazing little secret place where nothing else matters but people, and I want expand it to the rest of my life. Each person there knows that I’m praying for them, because I’ve told them. Shirley looked at me like I was nuts, Doug hugged me, Big Red maybe didn’t hear me (maybe), and Joanne said the same back to me.
People are important. People are, actually, the only important thing, and I had lost sight of that a little in the past few months, so I’m glad for this reminder. I don’t want this to come across like I’m condemning anyone or acting like I’m better than anyone, I was just hoping others could get the same benefit from my treatments that I got.