I had my final radiation session (of 33) today at Trinity Hospital (Unity Point). It is July 18, 2022, and my birthday is in 5 days.
The staff has you ring a bell (which I had never noticed before today) and I was given a small stone engraved with Courage, Love, Strength and a card with what looked to be about 30 names.
I have been driving down to Trinity at a quarter to 1 p.m. every week day since May, with a hiatus after session 19 when we went to Texas for our Family Fest (family reunion).
During the sessions, I have gotten to know Brie, Lora, Alysson, Susan and some of the other technicians and they have performed admirably. Alyssa will graduate this coming Thursday from her online university program in radiology.
I wanted to take something to the girls, and, of course, food was the first thing one thinks of, but I, for one, do NOT need another doughnut and I think perhaps some of the technicians don’t, either, o I tried to think of something tied to my recent Texas trip.
The bags that were given each of us who came to the reunion were so colorful and nice that I asked my daughter-in-law for 4 of them. Then I had to think of what to put IN the bags.
After some soul-searching (tee shirts? Key ring?) I realized that I had an entire basement full of books…books that I wrote over the years since 2003 and on many different topics. In addition, since I have at least 2 series with 3 books in them (novels and short story collections), they could mix and match and share with one another, selecting the ones they felt they would enjoy most. If none of them suits their fancy, they can donate them to a local library, but these are books that I painstakingly wrote, myself, so there is a personal element in giving them something I “made.”
I read (on WebMD) about other gifts from other patients, but almost all were food. I do admit that food is tempting, but that will be my next big hurdle: shaping up and not eating bad foods, so I went with books. I do wish I had been “dressed” in my street clothes when asked to “ring the bell” but I had just climbed down from a radiation table and, as you can see, had on a beautiful hospital gown of nondescript style.
I had a meeting with my radiologist, Dr. Stouffel, who felt I had done well. I will see him again on Aug. 11th.
It sounds like, from this point on, I merely take the Anastrozole pills I have been on since February and then I have a follow-up mammogram no less than 6 months after the end of radiation. That will be January and I will be in Texas. When I asked whether I should find a mammogram place there or wait until I returned to this area, the doctor said I needed to do it here so that the previous monograms taken could be compared. That will be more like 10 months before the next mammogram will take place.
I asked if this was in any way risky and he said it would not be.
So, from now on, while awaiting my August colonoscopy, my dental exam, and my vision screening, I am done (I hope).
I hope for a return to normalcy and an end to the 70 doctor visits I’ve experienced in 8 months’ time