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Day Thirty-Five

Jon, Rachel and I left Port Washington at about 10A for my 3:30P appointment. I went armed with ice paks, blanket, pillow and hot tea (for my cold). This is the day we’ve been waiting for…for seven weeks, but really for more like 18 years. This day will be especially long; not only will it be radiation Monday, but we are also traveling up to Boston and back in the same day…long day. Jon and I decided that we just wanted to be done, we didn’t want to have to wait one more minute for the end to end, and the beginning to begin…getting home sooner than later will make that happen.

We arrived at around 2:30P…enough time for Rachel to check out some of my blogging mentions…the delicious plum at the Liberty Hotel (she had one, and declared it definitely delicious…”maybe the best she ever had”). We went to the hospital cafeteria…where she had some French fries, and said that “it was the best hospital cafeteria she had ever been to”…this may not be high praise since I don’t believe she has ever been to another hospital cafeteria…but it was meant to be delivered as a compliment. We went to the Healing Garden…I hadn’t written about the garden…it’s on the 8th floor of the Proton Center, and if affords perhaps one of the best views of Boston and the Charles River…it was nice out, and a good day for Rachel to see this view. Before we knew it, it was 3:30P…typically, things were not running on time. We had to wait until almost 5P…I received my last 20 minutes of radiation…ever. It ends, and strangely I don’t well with emotion. I’m just still, stalled, sapped…I suspect other emotions will come later.

We walk my rather thick file over to my doctor, where all three of us sit for the last time until I return in six months. We discuss my future; we discuss my past. My doctor tells me how my tumor was misdiagnosed back 18 years ago…it was never the type of tumor that they thought it was. The biopsy taken at that time was too small to make any kind of a definite diagnosis. He tells me how rare this tumor is, especially in the skull base. He says that he has seen more than most, and that he’s only seen 400 cases in 25 years. None of these patients have had any additional tumor growth after receiving Proton Therapy. He says, “I am quite certain that you will no longer be bothered by the tumor again”…and this is the news we so wanted to hear. This is the news that makes me cry. He and I will see a lot of each other for a very long time…the road does not end here…but it is quite a different road. The tumor on all my future scans will look like it’s still there, it does not disappear; success is considered no more future growth.

It seems right that Rachel is here for my last day of radiation; she came with me to Boston for my consult to find out if I would be a candidate for Proton Therapy. She was with me when I found out that I would be, and she is with me when we find out…No more Mr. Dubenschmeimer!

It’s 6P, we all drive home; we arrive at 10P. I think…I’m so glad to be home, so glad it’s over, what a long, amazing story this has been. My doctor tells me it will take about two months or so before I feel like myself; that would bring me to about mid-October…almost a full year from my surgery on October 30th.

How lucky I feel…dreams do come true. Let’s celebrate!

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