Bill’s Tale of Two Cancers # 14

As I said in the last installment, the end of the radiation treatments meant it was time to celebrate, and what better way than to have a party ? Even better, there was already a party planned, in the form of a benefit for our family with my favourite local band playing wicked rock’nroll at a club that is located above the bar I had worked at for most of the previous 15 or so years.

The treatments ended on a Tuesday and the party was a couple of days after that. After I was done going to Toronto for the radiation sessions I was just exhausted. I had seriously underestimated the effects I would encounter from the radiation, especially because the first couple of weeks went off without a hitch and hadn’t really had much effect on my energy and such, but by the end of the line my body and mind were wiped out. The toll of the radiation was accumlative and basically resulted in a lack of energy, and as that happened I think the psychological ramifications of the previous fifteen months began to make themselves felt, too.

It’s amazing what happens when you let your guard down the slightest little bit when you’re carrying around stress. I like to say that if you let your shoulders down an inch they want to come down a yard, and what happened at the end of my treatments illustrated this point magnificently. The first day I was back at home with nowhere to get to I began to feel my shoulders slumping, and my whole body and mind followed in short order. After I got the kids off to school I went right back to bed and slept for the rest of the day. Same thing the next two days, too. It was what my mind and body needed to do for a few days, all this sleeping stuff, and I was simply grateful to have the opportunity to let go of any sense of sheduled urgency.

Then the day of the benefit party arrived. It was originally supposed to take place in July, but on the day it was scheduled Peterborough was hit by a flood, effectively shutting down sizable portions of the city for the following week or two. Caroline and I were in Kingston the day of the flood for a chemotherapy appointment and missed the actual deluge and flooding but returned to the surreal situation of watching people dragging literally tonnes of rain damaged furniture and all manner of household belongings to the curb under what had become sunny skies in the aftermath of the storm. With a house that had a bit of a tendency to flood if it rain very hard for a prolonged period we braced ourselves for the scene inside our basement, but to our surprise and relief, there was a very small amount of water in our basement. It seems the universe decided we had enough on our plate already and spared us from having to deal with any more than a token appearance of the flooding.

Anyway, back to the future, as it were.

Headlining the show was a kickass band called Sharkboy, with my friend and colleague Patrick Walsh opening the festivities. We were all looking forward to the big night, especially since the timing coincided with the end of a year that had been filled with more pain, confusion, hospitals and procedures than I care to remember most days. And the band was made up of good friends who just happened to like playing a lot of the same music I like to listen to but who I had only been able to catch for more than a couple of songs at a time because they were usually playing when I was at work, so the idea of catching the full show had me in a great mood before we had even left our home.

When we got to the venue it was already full with more people on their way, and we were met by a wall of warmth and love and support that just picked up momentum as the night got under way. After so much time out of the normal rhythms of life let alone those of a jam packed concert it felt amazing to be in the midst of the crush of people dancing to really loud rock ‘n roll, soaking up the buzz in the air that was a feature of Sharkboy shows. I just sat in a chair in the middle of it all, enjoying every sensation but the thing that sticks with me as the defining image of the evening was to see Caroline dancing and having a great time, with a smile on her face that had been missing for far too long, simply having FUN while the realisation that all of this that was ostensibly for me was in fact only partly for me but mainly for Caroline and the gals, and that she had a place in the heart of a community that had stepped up to the plate time and again for us, as it had and once again would for so many more.

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~ by Rocky Green on June 5, 2008.

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