Radiation Therapy

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Radiation Therapy

In January of 2001, Gee started a course of radiotherapy. Her oncologist, Roy, recommended radiation therapy to help kill any cancer cells that may have survived the round of chemotherapy she finished just before the wedding. Initially, he had wanted her to start radiotherapy just after the wedding. After some discussion and seeing how Gee was progressing, we decided to hold off on radiotherapy until after the holidays. The treatment would use high doses of x-ray radiation, focussed on the pancreatic region of her abdomen. The course of treatment was expected to last about six weeks.

It was a pretty difficult six weeks, as the radiation treatments made it harder for her to keep on weight and maintain her diet than the chemotherapy had. Michelle and I took turns taking Gee to the hospital for her sessions. Apparently, high doses of x-rays tend to upset the digestive tract— especially when the x-rays are aimed at the digestive tract. Gee didn't like going through radiation therapy much, but it beat chemotherapy as there were no needles for the most part.

Finally, on February 14th, Gee was very excited because it was to be her last treatment session. It was a very special day for both of us as it was also Gee’s birthday— she had just turned 33. Gee and I celebrated her finishing her radiation treatment, her birthday and Valentine’s Day by going out to dinner. It was only our second Valentine’s Day together, and the first where we could actually be with each other on her birthday, as the year before, I was still in DC on the 14th. We didn't realize it would be our only Valentine’s Day together.

Then it was time to wait and see what the results were. In early March, Gee had a scan done to see how things were progressing. It looked pretty good, as the scans were clear of any cancer as far as we could see. We started to plan again, have hope again, and think about the future again.

Gee and I talked about how many children we wanted. We had talked about it once before, while we were still dating, and then again just before we got married. She and I had decided we wanted to have a fairly big family— four children, but Gee thought about how much work raising four children might be, so she asked for the right to re-negotiate after the first two children. I laughed and then agreed to her condition as it was probably a wise one. I guess there’s a lot to be said to marrying a woman smarter than me— but it took a while to get used to being a step behind at times.

We also talked about where we wanted to travel to, places to we wanted to visit. Originally, we had wanted to go to Greece for our honeymoon. Because of Gee’s illness, we never got a chance to go. Gee told me there were three other places in the United States she really wanted to visit: Napa Valley, Key West and Cape Cod and the Islands in Massachusetts. She told me Napa Valley was because of the vineyards and wineries— Gee was fascinated by wines and was learning more about them and on her way to being a wine connoisseur. Key West was because of Hemingway and other writers who had written about the Florida Keys. Cape Cod and the Islands because of my Yankee heritage and the stories I had told her about growing up in New England.

As it turns out, we never made it to Greece, Key West or Napa Valley. Gee and I did manage to get to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. We missed Nantucket, but we gave it our best shot— time was just against us.