We are settled in, and Leah had her first treatment today. Our place is great, comfortable and safe.
We picked up a shuttle to the hospital just around the corner from our apartment. A nice, short walk, even in rain or snow. On the shuttle ride, she kissed my cheek and whispered, “I’m not scared.”
The office manager showed Leah how to check-in each day. She scans a little card, then we wait our turn. When we finally walked back to Gantry 1 for treatment, Leah was calm. The wall behind the table is a giant circle on which the machine is rotated and positioned. Taylor Swift was Leah’s music of choice. Leah was allowed to pick the backlight color of the wall. Purple, of course. She was handed a tiny remote control with approximately 12 color choices. Something fun to look forward to each day.
She climbed onto a table with a headrest. She reached for my hand as they positioned the mask over her face. The doctor did not allow cuts in the mask, so there are no openings for her eyes or mouth. The technicians locked the mask to the table and instructed her to wiggle a little until she was in a comfortable spot. There are two handles near her hips that she grips to stay still. She held a handle in her left hand and my hand in her right. The technician told her that she was taking me back to the waiting room. From beneath the mask, she managed to mumble, “For how long?”
“About twenty minutes,” was the answer.
I kissed her hand and guided it to the hold the grip. Then, I left the room, even though leaving her was the last thing in the world I wanted to do.
In the waiting room, I watched the minutes tick by ever so slowly. Eighteen minutes felt like an hour. I thought they would call me back to the room when she was finished, but suddenly out walked Leah. A smile of pride on her face and tiny honeycomb impressions on her forehead, nose, and cheeks. “That went really fast,” she said. Thank God.
A few minutes later, we were on our way to Whole Foods to get a few groceries, and she asked if she actually had radiation. No loud noises, no pokes, no pills. It’s hard to imagine, for both of us, that she received treatment just a few minutes ago.
We decided on a little sightseeing for the afternoon. We took the water shuttle to the New England Aquarium. The air was cool, but the sun was bright and warm. We braved the top deck of the boat and enjoyed seeing the area. Home Away provided aquarium tickets, and we had a lot of fun. Huge sea turtles in the Giant Ocean Tank were my favorite. Leah’s favorites were the touch tanks. We touched sting rays, star fish, anemones, and hermit crabs- very cool.
Tonight, we’re staying in for dinner and putting our feet up.