Radiation Blues

wall mural of woman laughing with woman laughing beside her
Photo by Elaine Bernadine Castro on Pexels.com

It’s helpful in life to find the humor in even the most serious of situations. If we can’t laugh at it, there must be a problem. I’m not trying to minimize the suffering happening in the world. I can’t find much to laugh about a war. Or in the plight of the millions walking hundreds of miles in search of a better life. This week yet another school shooting sinks my heart. But having a sense of humor can help one through a difficult situation. A good belly laugh is indeed the best medicine.

And speaking of medicine, I am currently recovering from a serious health issue for the second time in my life. After the initial shock, fear and anger, I’ve tried to find humor to get me through the grueling treatment. We all have to laugh about the inadequacy of hospital gowns. I mean, who thought those were a good idea? And a myriad of other medical processes and equipment that no one who has never gone through a treatment would realize was utterly silly. And yet they all serve a purpose. Maybe it is to give patients something to laugh about.

person in hospital gown waiting
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Serious illness is a solitary experience. I am blessed to have family and friends support me through this and be in my corner should I need anything. I have had the most amazing caregiver in my husband. But ultimately, when I am getting the myriad of scans, dealing with the potent chemicals cruising through tubes in my chest, or having targeted radiation rays zeroing in on the invader inside me, I am alone. Positioned and motionless on a table with an enormous, high tech machine clicking and whirring and spinning around me, I am alone. I am left alone in a room where another can be injured if they stand beside me when the machine is in motion, when the deadly rays are focused on the tiny tattoos and markings on my skin. The irony being this treatment is toxic enough for the invader inside me but can harm a healthy person if they come in contact with it. My healthy parts suffer too.

If I had to be sick in any time in history it would be now. Advances in medicine and technology are unprecedented and I’m grateful for all of it. But I am alone. A little like a specimen under a microscope. The day I was alone in the room where a radioactive compound was injected into me so the scanner could detect more of the invader was a lonesome day. The day the clear fluid that flowed into me to highlight my inner self for another scan was lonesome too. The day the tiny tattoos were imprinted on my skin to target the daily radiation on the invader who tried to ram my defenses was a lonely one.

woman in victory stance

Alone but not lonely. This is my fight alone although I have my warriors and team behind me. Still no one walks the path but me. If this makes me sound sad, I am not. I am defiant. I am resilient. I laugh in the face of this demon who thinks it can best me. I laugh. That is my superpower.

When my son was in college he had a band who wrote and recorded a song called Radiation Blues (take a listen). The intense guitar rifts and lyrics told the story of a man so irreparably damaged by radiation that his girlfriend leaves him in terror and his life is ruined. (“Experiments on my body, make my soul turn black; What have I become? A neon-yellow maniac; ’cause there ain’t nothing but bad news, when you’ve got those radiation blues!” lyrics and music by Curse of the Black Tongue). Ironically it is this same radiation that is calibrated to cure. Life is full of dichotomy.

As I write this, I am in the healing stage of my journey. It’s been long and slow. Radiation has left burns on my skin and my insides are sore. My energy is a fraction of what I normally experience. But I look for the humor wherever I can. A good friend and I have always reminded ourselves in hard times to laugh for fear we cry. My wonderful husband keeps the humor going. I actively seek out laughter to chase away the blues. And I consider myself fortunate to have great health insurance and medical staff taking on the battle with me. I have everything to be grateful for. And that is definitely something to be happy about.

woman in leaves laughing
Photo by Josu00e9 Carlos Chero on Pexels.com

8 Comments Add yours

  1. LA says:

    Thinking of you ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very powerful, Tina. Your strength amazes and inspires me. I love you very much and I think of you always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Alison xo


  3. Lou says:

    Darling Tina, I think of you often and say a prayer for your return to health. I have so much admiration for you … your second round of this routine. Yes, you/we are lucky to live in these times where the medical profession is at its best. Keep laughing and say “hi” to that gorgeous man of yours. Take care, dear friend, and remember how loved you are. Lou xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Ness says:

    Hi Tina–Gosh, I had no idea you have been fighting an illness! My prayers are with you. I would love to visit with you. I don’t drive anymore but perhaps we can arrange a visit somehow. Peace to you! Love, Pat (Ness)

    Liked by 1 person

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