Radiation Antidepressants

A is for Arms. Yes, strong arms and hot sex work best, especially when one’s sexuality is part of the “treatment area,” and lucky are they who have them on call. Being called “Wonder Woman” and regarded as newly invested with Special Powers can go a long way to staving off any feelings of sexual insecurity. Not everyone is so lucky, however. Some of us have partners, all right, but often partners are so afraid of the C word that they flee, even if they appear to be present. When this happens, try one of these simple solutions:

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My Therapist: A Rainbow Wrasse

Painting fish seems to calm me down. I don’t have to think about the composition, just paint the fabulous real-life colors. I spent all day painting this rainbow wrasse, which is just one of a large number, not just of wrasses but of rainbow wrasses. Getting the colors right pulls me out of myself a little and by the end of this crabby day, I have a beautiful fish to show for it.

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Last week of Radiation

It’s funny how people get quiet or disappear when I’m not cheery any more and I can’t really blame them. I’m not very good company this week. I only confess to this to reassure any one else going through radiation that it’s no picnic and even if you’ve heard of people who just breeze through it, they probably didn’t. At least three friends who’ve gone through breast radiation have told me that they were a little tired and a little sore but it was never painful.

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4_Way Chic Sacs: Mary’s New Line of Handmade Reversible Bags

My new reversible 4-Way Chic Sac seems to have everything: I’ve been field-testing the one pictured here with great success. It’s sturdy, good-looking, unusual, and one-of-a-kind, (I make, at the most, maybe four or five similar, but not identical, bags). Plus, there are FOUR WAYS to wear this bag: Out flat, it can carry legal pad; flopped over it serves as a good-looking clutch, advantages that hold true for both sides. It can slip over a wrist or easily carried by the reenforced handle. Elegantly simple, useful and attractive, this is a wonderfully versatile design which really does work in four modes.

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Lookin’ Good on Donegal Bay

I did the first layer in acrylic, but it was harsh and I didn’t like it. The light was good–lots of contrast–but it looked like paint-by-numbers, and although the composition was pretty good, the sky and bottom of the painting felt empty. I added clouds and moving water. Still boring. So I did a layer over the whole thing with pastels, and then, after some useful criticism from the subject, who is himself an artist, I did a final layer in oil pastel (kind of fancy name for expensive crayons). The result has depth and movement that I really like, and while I used a lot of bright color, the skin tones look perfect from across the room.

Slogging Through

I’m getting sore at last, and I get sharp stabbing pains which I’m told is fluid looking for a new path to the nodes. None of it is bad enough yet for a pain pill. Today I did the second simulation…about 45 minutes during which I was propped up on pillows and wasn’t allowed to move while new angles were calculated for the scar area. The last five treatments will concentrate there only.

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Half done!

So far, I feel really good. What is euphemistically refered to as “the treatment area” is also doing just fine: “pinking up” a little but nothing hurts. According to my weekly checkups, my right arm continues to measure the same as the left and my weight fluctuates only half a pound. I still have quite an appetite, which may prove my biggest problem–I overstocked my staples and freezer lest I get too wiped out to shop, but so far, that hasn’t happened–my radiation diet plan may just backfire.

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Simple Things

The Chinese cleaver is my favorite, a surprise gift from my husband (ex now) about twenty years ago. He was a man who could fix anything, loved good tools, and never knew what to buy me when some dreaded gift occasion loomed. I usually gave him big hints, just to make it easier for him, and he usually took them, but this gift was his own idea and the best ever. I have tried to replace my Chinese cleaver, likely purchased in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and recently spent fifty bucks (reduced from $140) on a big all-purpose stainless steel job, but it quickly got dull. I’ll have to learn how to sharpen it, as the carbon steel blade on my cleaver rarely needed doctoring, despite the nicks suffered from overly ambitious whacks.

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Radiation Day 12

I have become friendly with two women who await their own ten minute appointments in a tiny space barely containing three chairs and surrounded with fabric-covered walls. They seem to enjoy my little project which I’ve called “Same Place, New Day”: Each day I bring in and pin up a new day (like the one pictured here) from one of my Lake Effects posters. Now there are twelve, twenty-one to go.

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