Before radiation. I look pretty normal, just swollen in the cheeks from the steroids.
It was late November when John dropped me off at the airport to go to Houston. At that point I had lost the hair on my head, but my eyelashes and eyebrows were still hanging
on. My weight had dropped, but I was not sickly skinny quite yet. With the exception of my face being slightly swollen from the steroids they had me on, I looked fairly normal just no hair.
Once I started radiation I didn't see him again until after my treatment was finished. The change for me was gradual. Every week, every day, my appearance became more grotesque. My eyelashes and eyebrow rubbed off with every touch. My
skin became dry and flaky. Leaving my once tan complexion pasty and dull. My weight dropped an additional 20 pounds, causing my 00 jeans to hang from my hips. The radiation causes your teeth to yellow and mine were no exception. The radiation also burned my
neck so badly that I had open sores and blisters on both side of my neck. (It was very similar to having second and third degree burns)
By mid March I was
finally well enough to travel back home. John and I had not seen each other since Christmas, and that was before radiation. I didn't think much of my appearance because I had been looking at my reflection the whole time, and was used to the change. It never
occurred to me that I might be unrecognizable to someone else.
Walking out to the passenger pickup area I was so excited to be home and to see my adorable
boyfriend again. We were on the phone together, and I had given him specific directions, “I'm on level 4 under the Southwest sign.” I hear his truck rumbling at the entrance of the tunnel. As he makes his way toward me I am waving my hand and smiling
at him. I reached down to pick up my bag and I look up just in time to see him drive past me. His window was rolled down so I was able to see him perfectly. Eyes squinting, searching for me. Amazed that he passed me I shout, “Babe!” His truck stops
suddenly. Shaking my head I turn to a man who was standing near me. I see that he is chuckling a bit. “Did you see that?” I ask the man. “My boyfriend drove right past me.” The man continues to chuckle as John, who is a bit red in the
face from embarrassment, runs up to me.
“You drove past me!” I say.
“No, I didn't.” (lie)
“I was looking for a place to park.” (another lie)
“You didn't recognize me.”
course I did.” (yet another lie) I pause for effect, and he finally concedes, “You do look a little different.”
I give him a hug, willing to forgive that he drove past me, soon he pulls away
from me and looks me over again with and expression that can only be described as “What did they do to my girlfriend?” They brought me to the edge of death is what they did to me, but they also brought me back to life as well which is all that
matters. Hair grows back. Muscles regain strength. Everything else is just teeth whitening toothpaste and tanning lotion.
As for John, all I can say is that he's lucky he's cute.