Griffith, Indiana resident Ray, now 71, has been taking various treatments and testing for cancer since his diagnosis on April 23, 2018. He has written several articles and essays about his treatments (mostly silly, he says), and has looked forward to sharing those stories with other cancer patients. He was diagnosed with lung cancer on April 23; the multiple myeloma diagnosis came on June 26, 2018, after a bone marrow test.
I’m not fixated by my radiation treatment, but there are a couple of points I feel compelled to write about.
So first, everyone (and I mean EVERY ONE!) agrees that I am not radioactive as a result of my treatments. My oncologist, my radiologist, the nurses, the techs, both staffs say it ain’t so. But what they don’t say, in any discussions of possible side effects of chemo or radio, is the “C” word. No, not cancer; I’m talking about constipation!
From the onset of the first consultation, I’ve been told that some people get nauseous, most people lose weight, some lose their hair, while some experience diarrhea. (Now there’s an experience I can do without on my bucket list!) The oncology doctor even prescribed Imodium, or some such, just in case.
Again, what they are not saying is that dumping all the chemo chemicals into the chemo port (so much crap that it feels like a port-a-pot) tends to dry out your insides. Then, when you enter the realm of the radiation microwave, every particle of undigested food gets nuked and fried inside. It’s no wonder I get the “C” word each week, beginning with the double whammy (Tuesday) of radiation-followed-by-chemo! When I mention this to either specialist, here’s the response: "Oh, that." Yes, that. Now they won’t come right out and say that I am right in my thinking. Rather, they say that each individual patient’s body is different, and reacts to treatments in different ways.
So, here is what I’m going to do to test my theory that the radiation microwave unit is drying/frying my insides: after a treatment or two, I’m going to swallow a few corn kernels. If I start pooping popcorn, I’ll know I was right! Then I’ll know that I’m on my way to becoming what I like to call “just a regular guy”!
No, I am not the next Tony Stark, or that Iron Man. I am not somebody who will take in your laundry and press it for you! And just as having a tin ear does not make me a “tin man,” (although sometimes I can seem heartless!) having iron infusions into my port does not make me a "man of iron."
Nonetheless, after yesterday’s treatment for my anemic blood counts, I do have iron coursing through my veins. I will get another infusion of iron next Tuesday; (unless my cyber knife gets approved for the same time) then I will be on my way to more energy, less lethargy, fewer afternoon naps, (maybe none!) and a general “wellness returning” feeling seeping into my body.
So how does this change things?
Will I drop my “Cyber Ray” persona for a new, more exciting superhero character/ identity??? I doubt it. For starters, and excluding Marvel’s Iron Man, I’m not sure what kinds of super powers I might have. Sure, I could “weigh a ton,” being full of iron from head to toe!
Or, if people decide to mine my bloodstream for ore, ala the mining operations of MRI’s, (Mining Ray’s Intelligence/Ignorance-choose your own) someone could start a tiny steel mill.
But I know I will not be going for a new superhero costume and I will not be going to apply an “iron-on” facsimile of a small household appliance on my Cyber Ray suit! So as superheroes go, I think I’ll stand pat, and maintain my identity as Cyber Ray, with all the values he stands for: TRUTH, JUSTICE and HALLOWEEN CANDY!