Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My own personal hell -or- New forms of torture **DONT READ THIS IF YOU THINK IT MAY BOTHER YOU AS MUCH AS IT HAS ME!**

To be honest I had intended to have my first post be some kind of light commentary on how nice everyone is or how I'm still doing OK, unfortunately, by the time I got access to write to the blog, and got around to actually writing, here we are;

Blythe mentioned the conditions of my radiation treatment, but with her own stress, my inconsolibility/inability to talk about it for a while and the baby reacting to us both, it's not hard to see that some of the details were lost/changed unintentionally,

For some reason I feel the need to share my experience, though I still can't talk about it, I'm sure I'm doing this for me because I cannot fathom a way that anyone else could benefit from the existence of this post.

I think I should start this out with the brief explanation that Blythe is the only girl I have ever really kissed, and the last woman to see me completely naked before her was a pediatrician when I think i was eight.
Today I went in for my first dose of radiation therapy, the therapist is someone who I believe, in nearly any normal situation I could be good friends with, there were three women in total who oversaw my treatment today (there are no men who do this at this facility) but I was promised that the most private parts of my anatomy would remain private, a promise I clung to like a drowning man to a life preserver.

To begin I was asked to remove all clothing below my waist and have only a thin sheet to use as a guard to my modesty, then I was instructed to lay on a hard table which had a "pillow" made from the same hard material, after getting situated I was asked if I was comfortable (really)

Well, being as I have rectal cancer my condition requires full pelvic radiation, the table was raised to put me about 4 feet off the ground, my feet were bound so they wouldn't move and I was given some sort of a foam ring to hold with both hands.

I was told that under no circumstances was I to let go, because any movement could mess up the location of the precision radiation, and it could kill healthy tissue instead of the tumor.

After being raised to this position, in which I could not move or see anything that was happening, the nurse then lowered the sheet from my waist to just barley covering my private area by perhaps a few centimeters and leaving my hips completely exposed,

This was bad, but i figured I could endure it, unfortunately after a few minutes of this, the head Dr. said she needed to have a little more access to the skin, and the sheet was brought to perhaps one centimeter from full nudity,

Keep in mind that I still could not move or really even talk at this point and was at full mercy to whatever they wanted to do.

Still with eternal optimism, once again my fledgling hope of retaining some dignity resurfaced as instruments were aligned further for a few more minutes,

Unfortunately it was not to be, the Dr said she still could not align it correctly, and while I lay there completely unable to move, and unable to speak the sheet was moved enough,

I could feel the cold,

I was completely exposed,

they promised I wouldn't be, I prayed I wouldn't be, I hoped and begged, but they decided it had to be this way for me to receive the treatment.

My options left at that point and this are to endure the most humiliating and degrading thing I have ever been through, (and do it 27 more times) or risk a much higher chance of recurrence and possibly, I suppose, die from the cancer, because I refused treatment.

and so I endure,

I swear I'm really not sharing this to make you think I'm some great person (if I was this probably wouldn't trouble me this way, and I'd see a big picture, or whatever) or to gain sympathy, as it is almost no one in the hospital could understand why it bothered me at all, (if one more person tells me "it's OK there a Dr" I really might flip out)

but I guess I share this so you know your prayers and thoughts are appreciated now more than ever, thank you, I really need them

I'm sorry to end in such a harsh way, but i feel the need to warn anyone who could possibly feel the need to make light or joke about this situation, perhaps to try to defuse the situation or to make me feel better, I can't have you in my life through this, I just couldn't take it.

Please don't be offended, it's just that I've just never needed anything more in my life than I need understanding right now.


  1. Ben, I have known you and Blythe for a very short period of time and have already fallen in love with your family. You guys are simply incrediable. You are so brave. You are so strong. I can feel the strength and courage that you have inside you. What you endured and still have to endure is horrible. I could not imagine, but there is one thing I have learned about you in this short period of time is that you are a extraordinary individual and you have a lot to offer people. I'm so sad that these are the circumstances we had to meet, but I am so glad we did. Blythe you are remarkable. Ben is lucky to have you in his life. You are so strong. I love your sense of humor. You and Ben are a perfect match. And thank you for sharing Christopher with me.

  2. I think you got the definition of "strong" wrong if you put me in that catagory. Strong people don't cry all the time and want to back out of every difficult thing. We are the lucky ones! You have saved our sanity in MANY ways that we could never repay. Thank you so much for taking us under your crazy wing and being a true friend!

  3. Hi, Ben. It's Bev, as in Bevboy, as in Bevboy's Blog. I got your message last night when I was resting with one of my patent-pending headaches.

    I had wondered what had happened to you. I had not heard from you on my blog in several months.

    I am very sorry to hear of your cancer. I am relieved that you are receiving the care you require.

    If it is any consolation, my sister had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma several years ago. things were touch and go for her for a while; but she pulled through and is as healthy as a horse today. I am confident that your treatment will be successful and you that will be able to relate this story to your great-grandchildren.

    Please keep your chin up. Know that there are plenty of people pulling for you, including a humble blogger in Nova Scotia!

    My very best to you and Blythe and your lovely child.


  4. I wish I could make it go away for you Ben. I hope that it will get easier in the future or that they'll be able to secure a little more modesty for you. I wish you the fastest and fullest recovery ever! I wish you both were here and enjoying being parents in the beautiful California weather... FYI your home is so cool... can't believe it stays so cool in there! Anyway, Gus, Merlyn, and the plants say hello and hurry home!

    Love you guys!

  5. Bevboy, sorry I take so long to reply, anyway, you have no idea how much it means to me that you posted to my blog, that really made my day, I tried to post a few months ago to yours, but I couldnt remember the pasword and took forever to re- set it up, thank you, your fan, Ben

  6. Ben, I am touched and honoured that you would be a fan of my humble scribblings. I am a fan of yours, my friend.

    My actual name is Bev Keddy. I don't really advertise that on the blog that much, but people tend to know who I am.

    Please continue to read my blog as you wish to, or if you wish to. I will try to write something light and funny for you. My latest post contains foreign-language versions of the "Mamma Mia". You really must hear that song in Japanese. The sing-along Swedish version is pretty infectious. They even provide the lyrics onscreen if your Swedish is a bit rusty like mine is.

    I will check out your lovely wife's lovely blog every day or so to see how you are doing.

    All the best, my friend.