A Mother and her Two Daughters

17 January 2011

At Last (with apologies to Etta James)

To the tune of Etta James' classic song "At Last"

At last my cancer’s come and gone
My scary days are over
And life is like a song. 

WOW!  This morning was THE final treatment.  Anna-Lee and I pulled in the CARTI parking lot early this morning to finish the protocol.   

As we entered the building, the lovely Katherine and the dapper Dennis greeted us one last time.  We then moved back to the dressing area and I was then promptly called back to the radiation treatment room.  CARTI is one of the most efficient healthcare operations on the planet – no doubt. 

Unbeknownst to me, Anna-Lee took a photograph of me lying on the treatment table.  I wish you could see the ceiling - a beautifully lit photograph of serenity in a garden, something lovely to look at while you remain very still on the table.  

While lying on the table, I took this photograph of Greg, my mainstay radiation tech who has been with me since the beginning.  This is what Greg looks like from the table while he's looking down on me, getting my body into an exact position for radiation each morning.  I will miss his wicked sense of humor each morning. It is wicked, for sure.

Here’s a photo of a few members of my radiation team – Greg, Kelly, Jennifer and Ashley. 
For CARTI patients, the treatment team and the treatment room pretty much remain the same, leaving few surprises and giving a sense of comfort along the way.   

A little unknown secret about this place – they play good tunes while you’re receiving your treatment.  And if you don’t like their tunes, bring your own and they’ll play them.  I brought my team a CD of the Rat Pack singing Christmas songs, and they played it for me each morning.  How fun is that??!! 

With the final treatment complete, we were then greeted by nurse Ginny and Sue.  They’re the ones who closely monitor your appointments, progress, and make sure you get in for regular follow-ups with the radiologist, in my case Dr. Gardner. I now have a follow-up appointment in about a month to make sure all is well. 

And last but not least, CARTI sends patients home with party favors on their final day of treatment! Anna-Lee got a t-shirt and I got a diploma.  Yippee!  What more could a girl want?  I'm now a member of CARTI's Patient Club and "subject to all rights, honors and privileges."  Can't wait to find out what that means.  Is it a trip to Aruba?  Can I give everyone a pay increase?  I definitely want to find out what this means very soon.  

You know, I’ve heard so many different reports about radiation treatment – burning skin, nausea, appetite depletion, etc etc etc.  For me, this hasn’t been so bad.  Yes, I have some burning skin, but it could have been much worse.  My radiation team, and my body have managed this entire process very well.  

While I’m not going to miss treatment, I will have to say again that if you have to endure cancer, CARTI sure makes the ride a bit more fun.  “Lovely, friendly, caring and extremely exact healthcare providers” – that will be my forever memory of this place. 

Thank you CARTI for a terrific time under some not so terrific circumstances.  You took good care of me and I will never forget you – all of you.  With appreciation for your great care, always . . . 


  1. I am so grateful that you're done with your treatment and are cancer free. This is a tribute to all who have endured cancer, whatever treatment they chose and whatever the outcome. Let's get rid of cancer now - or at least by 2020.


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