February 22, 2020 - There is No Place Like Home
It’s a cold Saturday in Seagrove Beach, but I am happy to be home. These weeks of radiation have been hard. It’s not the radiation that has been hard, it’s the time away from Jamie and Mason. Through this whole journey, I have been blessed to have them by my side. Jamie and I had not spent a day apart since May 21st, the day of my diagnosis.
That all changed when I boarded my first flight to Atlanta on January 27th. Solo. It was a strange feeling to leave my family home, knowing that I would not see them until the end of the week. For the next six weeks, I would leave every Monday and return on Friday. I have four weeks completed and two to go. The light is glimmering at the end of the tunnel.
For those that may not know, I have flown hundreds, if not thousands of flights - solo. I am almost a 2 million miler on Delta and have had Diamond status for years. In fact, I have enough MQM’s to remain Diamond until 2022, and that is with my last flight in May of 2019. I am not bragging, I really am not. My job requires a great deal of travel. Feeling strange about the solo flight, was not about flying alone. It was about being alone. It was about being lonely. I miss them both terribly. I miss my family.
The nights at the hotel are lonely. I am working during the week in Atlanta, which is awesome. But I cannot lie, I am thrilled when work dinners intrude on my solitary life. It is a welcome distraction. It’s not fun to eat alone, everyday. At least not for this Type A, outgoing, rather social gregarious self, if I do say so myself.
So yesterday, I had a small crying jag. My radiation schedule is set. I have a standing appointment every morning at 9:30AM. However, on Friday, they give me a floating appointment time on Monday. They accommodate my need to travel to ATL Monday morning and slot me in on Monday afternoon. This has been working like a charm...until yesterday.
My sweet radiologist said, “Renee, I have bad news. We have nothing for you Monday afternoon. We are booked solid. We have had a rash of new patients. The only time we have for you on Monday is in the AM.” I just sighed. Living in Central time zone and flying to Eastern makes my 40 minute flight one hour and 40 minutes. Essentially, I would have to fly to Atlanta Sunday afternoon. The 5:58pm flight is the last flight to ATL.
At that moment, the thought of only 2 nights at home was crushing. As I lay on the table, getting zapped for the 19th time, my only thoughts were of Dorothy and her red slippers. I wished I had them. I wished they were real. There is no place like home. There is no place like home. There is no place like home.
But in the grand scheme of things, my homesickness is so petty. The mere fact that the Cancer Center has a “rash” of new patients is disheartening - that we have another group of cancer fighters starting radiation. That was not lost on me. It actually kicked my butt in gear to stop feeling sorry for myself. I have 2 weeks to go. Suck it up, buttercup.
On a lighter note, my hair is slowly growing. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like I have a good bit of gray coming in. It’s very velvety and soft. My eyebrows and eyelashes are returning. I even attempted mascara today, but they are still so short it’s hard to tell. I didn’t get the glamorous look that I was going for. I am having fun wearing my different wigs at work. One day my hair may be short, the next day it may be long. It is fun to mix it up.
I am posting a picture from today to share my hair growth. My last chemo was December 16th, so it’s been just over 2 months. It will be interesting to measure the growth each month. I can’t wait until it’s long enough to highlight it blonde! I’m ready to look like my ole’ self.
And through all of my experiences, I have learned that family is everything. Home is where they are, and there is no place like home.