Pinky Pie

The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life & Me

Posted on: March 17, 2010

I was not always the sweet (?!?) person, whose blog you are reading.

When I was in college, certain expressions and symbols drove me crazy. I remember suggesting that if one more person wished me a nice day, I would do something quite inappropriate. I can’t remember what it was, which is probably a good thing.

I also hated those smiley faces that were just coming in vogue and disliked the expression, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Basically, anything that sounded saccharine, as those expressions did then, were anathemas to me. It’s funny that I would use that expression, considering that artificial sweetener – saccharine – was also banned around that time.

Yes, I was not very tolerant as a youth. Time does something to a person, as it certainly did for me.

I now use the smiley symbol to make sure that those reading what I write know when I am kidding. I wish people a nice day and today, the first day post radiation is, gasp, the first day of the rest of my life.

My daughter asked what I was going to do with all that extra free time. It was about an hour door to door for each radiation session. However, as time went by, my energy level has dropped. So each day in the last few weeks, I’ve had to lie down for a while, as I am doing as I wrote this blog post Tuesday evening.

But thrilled is how I feel day one post treatment (no, I’m not going to create a Susan T. Hessel countup).

How was that last radiation session? Well, first I baked two pans of brownies for the folks at the cancer center – one was for what I called the “cauldron team” – chemotherapy – and the other is for what I called the “zap team” – radiation.

In my thank you notes accompanying the treat, I noted baking brownies was what my mother would have done and I always do what my mother told me to do. You may choose to believe that or not.

Tuesday’s zap was quick and then I was handed a congratulatory cake and balloon and sent to visit with the radiation oncology nurse and physician assistant. Call it my debriefing or exit interview.

There were hugs around and believe it or not, out of my mouth came, “Thank you. It’s been really nice.”

I realized how funny that was and noted, “I was raised to have manners.”

I then left and rang the celebratory bell three times announcing the completion of my treatment.  It was louder than I expected, a lot louder, a reason for the expression of surprise on my face.

To tell you how sappy – saccharine – I’ve become, I was feeling kind of nostalgic over the weekend and not just because I was with my kids. I was actually, humming the theme of the movie, “The Way We Were,” Barbra Streisand’s song of the same name.

Mmm. Mmm.

Memories, light the corners of my mind

Misty watercolor memories of the way we were.

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind

smiles we give to one another

for the way we were.

Can it be that it was all so simple then

or has time rewritten every line?

If we had the chance to do it all again

tell me would we? Could we?

Memories, may be beautiful and yet

what’s too painful to remember

we simply choose to forget

So it’s the laughter we will remember

whenever we remember

the way we were.

Nostalgia for cancer treatment? Pu-leeze. As I’ve asked before, “What was in those  chemotherapy drugs?”

A friend sent this to me after reading my blog today. Her mother made this for her.

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5 Responses to "The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life & Me"

Treats for the treatments! Sweet! (I’m not even gonna ask what was in the brownies.)

Hi Sue. This is the first time I checked your blog. I picked a good day to do it! Good for you. You write so well and reading some of your blogs made me happy.
Like you, I too hated a lot of that sweet crap when I was younger. The world was tough and sick and this stuff was silly. I’ve tried to become more tolerant. Thanks for all you have done and will continue to do in the years ahead. John

ps. I have always loved Streisand. She is very special.

I think all those saccharine expressions were too often and too casually used. But when you have real life experience, they can be used meaningfully.

To tell your treatment team that it has “been nice”, means thanks for making something that is a scary, miserable, life changing experience tolerable is a fabulous compliment and one you need to give to yourself too.

You are such a strong, independent woman Sue and now we can celebrate, “the first day(s) of the rest of your life”. Happy St. Pady’s my friend!

I wish I had been there for the “bell ringing” – maybe in December we could find you a red kettle –

Oh happy first day of the rest of your life!!

Dear Sue,

Yes, my strength was zapped by the end of radiation, too, but now I only need to sleep 1 hour a night and I can fly!

I’m just glad you are continuing your delightful puns and treatment brownies. I know what you mean about how we change. I used to think most of the sappy messages on greeting cards and condolence cards were sappy. Now they make me emotional!

So, get better soon!!
Fondly, Leah

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