moores cancer center, university of california, san diego

Archive of a Breast Cancer Survivor

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05.25.05
Radiate

I know. You haven’t heard from me. I’ve been possessed with a thought and haven’t been able to write. Yesterday I visited the oncology radiologist at the University’s new Cancer Center. The exterior of the building is layered to look like the skin of a snake. Its illusion is to change its color with the passing of the sun. It was a purple hue when I was there, early afternoon. It was then I learned I did not need to undergo radiation.

I haven’t been able to write because I have been possessed with making decisions about my health. To radiate or not to radiate, that is the question. I’m the kind of patient who lives in the grey zone and there is no definitive answer. Does a 4% margin really make a difference in my life to actually fry my skin and everything else that lives under it? And does a 95% survival rate sound good enough to me? One doctor told me, “You are smart, you read the statistics.” But sometimes you need someone to hold your hand and speak to you like they were your lover, to take the time to whisper the future into your ear and to impart some greater knowledge which only you can decide upon. And because I was waiting for that knowledge I could not write. I had to close my eyes and listen to my voice and wait for the answer only I could decide upon. And sometimes, 95% is good enough; it’s good enough because that inner voice told me so. Trust the future.
It’s so alluring, shining and bright—so bright I’ll have to hold my hand to my eyes to shield the unknown, familiar already with the very gasp of air I take each and every waking moment of my beautiful life.

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