The Words of the Collins Family

Final Radiation Update

Denis Collins
December 23, 2011

The fifteen radiation sessions in November zipped by. I was zapped on the front and backside (need to cook both sides of a hamburger) for 15 days over three weeks (you get weekends off). Major side effect was the radiation swelling up the esophagus, so for a week or two my diet was very limited.

Then we waited about one month to do a final (hah!) PET-Scan, which was performed this morning. once again, they inserted radiation into my very hard to find vein (chemo messes them up), waited 45 minutes for it to go through my body system, and then for 30 minutes I laid on a table that moved in and out of the x-ray machine.

The "live happily ever after" goal is that nothing "lights up". If the x-ray film comes out black then all is normal. If there is any unhealthy activity going on, it lights up.

I'm very happy to report that nothing lit up in my neck. So the pretty white and orange cancer cells found in neck lymph nodes back in June are fully destroyed! Zapped! Gone! Cremated!

Unfortunately, my lungs looked like a beautiful Technicolor movie. Whites, oranges, reds, here and there. The best guess is that this is one of three things: (1) negative side effects of radiation in lungs, (2) bronchitis, or (3) pneumonia. As Yankee manager Yogi Berra (I think) said, "It ain't over until its over." so in two weeks we do another comparative chest x-ray and in two months another comparative PET-Scan (a mere $2,000 or so a shot).

All of this continues to reinforce my duality beliefs between spirit/soul and body. The body is a nice carrying case. It matters a great deal, thus good to exercise and eat well. But the body should not be taken as seriously as one's spirit/soul.

Closing comment.

As some of you know, I'm working on a memoir/novel about my experiences from 1995-1998 (cancer, 9 months chemo, academic politics, and bunch of spirituality stuff, including 40 day liquid fast). I'm writing it as a memoir, but will change it to a novel if whoever decides it's worth publishing fears getting sued by named people! The only "finished" part of this still too long manuscript (1,200 pages on path to slim 600 pages) is the opening quote, which I share as my final comment on this matter.

"I always try to turn my personal struggles into something helpful for others."
Henri Nouwen

Enjoy finding meaning in your adventures, thanks for your support, and happy holidays,


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