“You need more radiation,” the doctor said, and my heart sunk. The last time I had radiation, I threw up in front of my mother-in-law—THAT was embarrassing. Plus, radiation made me perpetually flu-like, caused hair loss (from the brain radiation), AND gave me massive headaches.
“Well, at least it’s not surgery,” I said, forever an optimist.
“The neurosurgery didn’t think your body could handle another serious back surgery so soon. Radiation is the next best choice. Radiation...and an adjustment to your treatments. Elisa, you might not want to hear this, but we need to double your dosage of medication and schedule your treatments more frequently. I know you were really sick before, and I hate to tell you, but this will be much worse.”
I’d practically lived over the toilet for a couple of months after radiation in 2020. At least I know the drill and what it feels like to be a human pincushion. But for some reason, this news just struck me, and I’m mortified to tell you that I started choking up. It’s just now that I need treatments every three weeks, it’ll be extra exhausting and vomit-inducing. I’ll be too tired to be a “fun” mom. It just sounds like hell. I cleared my throat after the momentary weakness. “Like I said, at least it’s not surgery.”
The doctor spoke slowly. “You know, I’ve been reading your book, ‘The Golden Sky.’”
“Wait, what?! Really?” It completely took me off guard. And despite everything, I smiled. You see, one of the things that makes me truly happy in this life, is to hear that my books are being read. “Why?”
“You’re just so positive. I thought it would be fun to read about you! So, you were a homeless street musician?”
My face flushed. “Why, yes...I was.” Did I have to put my whole damn life in that book?! It suddenly seemed like a poor choice.
“You’re quite the writer. I feel like you’re talking straight to me.”
Her kindness, well that busy woman probably had no idea how much her actions meant to me. “I can’t believe you’re reading it. I’ll never forget this. Ever.” That kind of generosity is the type that changes lives.
“Elisa, about this cancer stuff, whatever the future holds, I know you’re strong enough to handle it. You’ve made quite an impact on us at the hospital. And just know, we’ll be reading about you.”
I laughed so hard. “We?” I asked when I could finally talk.
“My nurse is reading it too!”
After I hung up the phone, instead of being totally discouraged that the cancer is getting worse and that I need more radiation and stronger treatments, I sunk into my couch and shook my head. I can’t believe my oncologist and her nurse are reading my book! They are so incredibly busy and this showed a level of thoughtfulness that I can’t quite explain. I really hope they’ll like “The Golden Sky” and not want to dismiss me as a patient! It is so raw and honest—straight from my heart, about the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through and how I still found the good even after the death of my son....
So, I have to get more intense treatments, but I’m thankful to my doctor who helped me find something good despite the hardest of days. Thank God for such generous people. Once again, I am the luckiest.