The Blue Lollipop

blue lolly

I have spent the past few years trying, with some success, to cultivate a sense of gratitude. I don’t mean Pollyanna gratitude: “Thank you so much for the one legged blind teddy bear that smells like old dog! It’s the best Christmas present ever!” No, what I mean is more a sense of finding what is unique or at least special about my life, my family and friends, the things I live my life among, and loving them for what they are, giving them the value they deserve. It’s also putting envy into perspective. I will always be envious of some things: people who are tall, people who can do math, people who can eat eggplant, people who can sing or juggle or Magic Eye. I know I will never have or be those things but I can envy those people without actually wanting to be them. I can see something beautiful in a store and enjoy its beauty, bask in it even, without wanting to own it, pleased that it exists but not needing it in my life, allowing my magic credit card to rest.

So now I am trying to find gratitude in the fact that I had my final radiation treatment today. There will be no more solitary morning walks to the hospital, no more taking off my shirt and lying on the table while people whose names I don’t know draw on me with magic markers. No more waiting in the pink paper line, no more pulling out my magic credit card and paying the bill, day after day after twenty-five days.  I can sleep in. I can take my time with morning yoga, finally start to work back toward where I was when this all began. I can finally start scrubbing the map of Arizona off my chest.


(As a side note, one radiation treatment costs just about the same as a 1200 gram bottle of organic Acacia honey. Given a choice, I’d rather have the honey. Extra irony: my credit card is magical because it can somehow withdraw an unlimited amount of money from my bank account. The organic honey store only accepts cash.)

When I was dressed and opened the curtain, the radiation room was deserted. There was nobody to say good-bye to except the horrible machine but we had never really made friends. It felt strangely unfinished, like I should get a lollipop or a balloon, something to mark yet another passage through the surreal world that my life has entered.

So I walked back home, just another day, and got to work on the script for a program I will direct next week. In the program, three teams compete to make the springiest food they can come up with. One makes a gelatin-and-starch-based, multi-textured pudding (ugh), another makes a sticky rice ball seasoned with tomato and basil and topped with fish (blech) and the third, the crown jewel, is a blue, bacon-flavored lollipop made of mochi and swathed in mustard-flavored cotton candy. I kid you not.


Monkey Boy was minding his own business, having a nice nap in front of the kerosene heater, when I barfed on him. And then I realized I had something more to be grateful for. Nobody will ever force me to eat a blue bacon-flavored mochi lollipop swathed in mustard-flavored cotton candy. And as wild as my imagination may be at times, it will never go that far. For that, I am also grateful.

10 thoughts on “The Blue Lollipop”

  1. Well done getting through that awfulness. I never wondered until now: why do they call them “magic markers?”

    May you never have to visit those places again!

  2. Congratulations on your graduation from the school of magic markers and radioactive beamage! That IS cause for celebration! ヽ(*^ω^*)ノ (Also, you are now probably the subject of an advice-begging post on the Cat Facebook page for felines who own humans, asking what the heck to do when your human suddenly horks on you out of nowhere.)

    1. Have I mentioned how much I adore you? I just love the image of Monkey Boy sneaking over to the computer when I’m asleep and typing out complaints about me with his little white paws. And hork is one of the best words ever.

  3. Was it the thought of the lollipop that made you barf? Does honey improve nausea symptoms? The end of my chemo– which continued six weeks after surgery recovery– ended suddenly and without fanfare, too. Why wasn’t there a bell to ring, alarming all the other patients? Where was my posse? (I thankfully didn’t have a posse.) It is strange because– well, what was so special about that last zap? That was the one that did it? Feels arbitrary somehow to just stop treating at that moment.

    1. The answer is in the question, my friend. A blue BACON flavored lollipop?

      You had chemo before and after? I didn’t realize that.

      My current theory on zappage is they require 25 because that’s the maximum your body can take. I was doing all right, just a little pink, but the final two left me swollen, sore and covered with welts and a rash. Ugh. I am slathering myself in aloe vera and coconut oil.

  4. When the curtain opens, there should be a line of Rockettes. Or at least a heartfelt high-five from the tech. Hope you did your own little happy dance!

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. To be honest, I was too surprised and tired to dance, but it is a joy to have it done with. Love the image of Rockettes in hospital scrubs, though!

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