10 June, 2009

Hooray! “Only” Radiation!!

This is a follow up to the post I wrote aboutsrilanka08-1199 what has been going on with me in the past several weeks. Is it possible to be delighted by the prospect of undergoing radiation therapy for every day for 6-7 weeks? Take it from me, it is. I spent the morning dealing with the complications of formatting 26 poems (one for each letter of the alphabet) written by second graders at the wonderful Merion Elementary Schoool – think ‘K’ for Kaput, R for Rap Song for a Rabbi and ‘T’ for Trickle, and you get the idea.

So, good news: no more tumor! I don’t have the report with me and I wouldn’t know how to decipher it if I did, so I’m relying on the euphoria in my surgeon’s words: “it’s the best news possible!” All clear margins, no tumor hiding beneath. In other words, no more surgery for now. I won’t need reconstruction work on my body – i.e. my body will continue to look just as it did before. No uuber-chest, but I couldn’t be more delighted with the way I’ve always looked than I do right now. I feel perfect just as I am.

I got off the phone and set up my next series of appointments (one each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) at Lankenau Hospital one with my surgeon, with the medical oncologist whom I’ve yet to meet, and one with the radiation oncologist, Marissa Weiss, a lovely and interesting woman who co-authored a book on breast health with her daughter last year. She wrote it while she held down her full time job at Lankenau and her daughter worked full time on the Obama campaign, barely making it for her book tour – the inauguration just wouldn’t take a back seat! Here’s Dr. Weiss’ bio:

Marisa Weiss, M.D. is the founder, president and guiding force behind Breastcancer.org, the world’s most trafficked online resource for medically-reviewed breast health and breast cancer information, reaching over 8 million visitors per year. A breast cancer oncologist with twenty years of active practice in the Philadelphia region, Dr. Weiss is regarded as a visionary advocate for her innovative and steadfast approach to informing, empowering, and treating patients with breast cancer.

Part of that empowerment was her book, (Random House, 2008), Taking Care of Your Girls: A Breast Health Guide for Teens, Tweens & In-Betweens which is a resource for girls and their mothers. I am buying it and, judging by the people recommending it to me, I’d encourage any other women reading this blog to check it out.

There is something empowering about being able to field and make these telephone calls, getting provider numbers, setting up appointments, making decisions that are within my control. Timetables, for instance, just the mere luxury of saying to myself, “well, that does/does not work for me.” The sheer bliss of being able to plan anything at all. Even to say, do I have time to update all the friends who have come forth to say I love you, before I have to get back in the car and run another errand? It is a treat to entertain the idea of anything being that easy again. I see things a little differently these days; I see that it is a blessing, not a right, to have friends, plans, places to be, things to do, trips to take, chores to leave undone. These days I’m inclined to stay with the little pleasures, like this one, for the letter ‘F’ written by two girls in Mrs. Casey’s class, 2-C. Hooray for little girls everywhere!

We have faith in God
Faith is a belief that no one can take away from you
Faith is what you believe, but cannot see.
Learning faith is hard.
Faith is a woman’s name.

6 Responses to “Hooray! “Only” Radiation!!”

  1. Barbara Casey says:


    I am crying tears of joy and I am not prone to tears!

    We did not know how important those words would be when the girls wrote them. They have a certain beauty now.

    Marissa’s son was in my class years ago.

    My very best to you and your family. I share your joy!


  2. Anne says:

    Oh, I”m putting that poem right above my desk. I’m so glad, Ru!

  3. Claire Conway says:

    I am sooooooo happy right now knowing the good news. You are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing the wonderful “Faith” poem, the work of Dr. Weiss and your own internal process with all of us. Claire

  4. Leslie Gerstenfeld says:

    I need a tissue! Hooray!!! The greatest blog entry ever! Hope your days are filled with simple pleasures. I am around if you need company to radiation. I accompanied my neighbor a few years ago and was so glad I could offer moral support/gossip in the waiting room.

  5. Mary Akers says:

    YAYAYAY!!!! Excellent, excellent news, dear friend. SO happy to hear this!

  6. Ruba says:

    So relieved to hear this. XOXO

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The Books:

The Books:

On Sal Mal Lane

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war.

A Disobedient Girl

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling map of womanhood, its desires and loyalties, set against the backdrop of beautiful, politically turbulent, Sri Lanka.