Today I embarked on a journey to boldly go where… well… far too many people have gone before. No, this picture is not part of a Star Trek set. It’s the radiation suite that will welcome me for the next 32 business days. Each day, I will lie on this table, place my hands behind my head in a mold made to position me just so, and hold still while technicians flip a switch that sends a field of radiation into my body.
What struck me when walking into the room the first time was the many molds just like mine hanging on the wall, and another wall of shelves filled with various other molds. Each of those molds represents another person who, like me, had their life interrupted in the last few months by the monster called cancer. A person who will carve out about an hour of each day for weeks in a row to shrink a tumor or kill potential stray cancer cells left after surgery. A person with a family, maybe a job they’re missing, probably plans for spring or summer that have been replaced instead by a treatment plan.
It makes me sad to think that so many others have been added to the roll of cancer patients. At the same time, there is some comfort in knowing dozens of others walk through the foot-thick door to the radiation suite each week. Maybe it’s a sense of safety in numbers? Although I will probably meet few, if any, of those people, I somehow feel a certain connection to this little cancer community, in our shared experience. And I pray that each of them makes it through radiation treatments without a hitch.