Weird Day

Weird Day

Journal entry by megan steele — Mar 7, 2020

Today was grading day at work. Teachers only, and me in the office. Grading day is when you can wear your yoga pants and be comfortable because you aren’t really serving the public… As I was getting ready for work, I was internally whining because I just didn’t want to wear a wig. And my go-to beanie is in the wash. And I just want to be comfortable. As I was putting mascara on a FULL set of eyelashes (albeit very short ones), I started to contemplate… Am I ready to just… do this? I really would be more comfortable with another inch or two… But I do NOT want to wear a wig today!… Should I? No… No way. I’m not ready. I don’t want to shock/scare/make people uncomfortable. But what about my own comfort? I just want to be. Should I? Shouldn’t I?


Oh my gosh. I waffled over the decision through my whole morning routine. I finally decided to just do it. If there was a day to do it, this was it since there would be limited interactions with people. I prayed in the car on the way, “Lord, if there’s anything I’ve learned through this whole ordeal, it’s that my identity does not come from my hair, bald head, or a wig. Help me to re-believe this in my heart!” My heart was pounding as I pulled into the parking lot and I quickly snuck into my office. I was hoping the first interaction would be a good one. It was. As the morning wore on, it was actually kind of fun to see which of the 3 categories people’s reactions would fall into: 1) “I’m so proud of you!” (My favorite) 2) “You’re so beautiful/brave/strong” 3) Trying to carry on, business as usual, pretending not to notice the GI Jane Elephant in the room. I loved it all. If faced with a similar situation, the old me would’ve fallen into the 3rd category. I survived it. I even ran an errand to Target with my little hairlettes. I bounced back and forth all day between feeling courageous and hoping no one would see me. After months of “great hair days” thanks to such high quality cranial prostheses (wigs), it was quite a different look. It was a teensy bit stressful.


I then headed to my daily radiation treatment. Number 19 of 30. Just about 2/3 of the way there. A strange mood was starting to settle in. As I was preparing to get microwaved, I could see that the area near my throat and shoulder were getting quite pink. Come to think of it, it’s been pretty itchy there lately. Like a sunburn but more radioactive. It dawned on me that my original plan for radiation (before they found more cancer in my lymph nodes and sent me on my way to chemo-land) was for 4 weeks. 20 treatments. Monday could’ve been my last day and then I’d be free of the coming intensity of side effects, and treatments in general. Now, I still have 2 more weeks to go, and we are covering more “real estate”.


On Fridays, I meet with Dr. Chance, my Radiation Oncologist, after getting zapped to talk about how things are looking. (Again, blessed with the best!) I must’ve had a “look”, because when he walked in and asked how I was, he didn’t seem to believe me when I said “fine”. He was very encouraging and always does a great job explaining things. Through this whole trip down Cancer Lane, I’ve never had a Doc rush me. I always have time to ask my questions and get solid answers.


We both agreed that I CAN do this. He is very happy with how things are going and expects a great outcome. Despite my mood, I finally feel like I’m gaining momentum down the other side of a mountain I’ve been climbing up for so long. I left the office with burn pads, both large and small, like what they use in the burn center. They are nice and cold and I wore one on my shoulder/throat while watching a movie in the evening. (Side note: 5 Feet Apart is a good/sad movie, with what I believe to be a great soundtrack.)


Things are about to get uncomfortable for a little while. I’m doing everything I’ve learned and have been coached to do as I walk through this “fire”. Thankfully, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2


This week’s playlist includes:

This Girl Is on Fire– Alicia Keys

Radioactive- Imagine Dragons

Ring of Fire– Johnny Cash

The Heat Is On– Glenn Frey

Consuming Fire– Third Day

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