I just finished watching the HBO miniseries “The Pacific.” I know, it's been around awhile. I actually began watching it a long time ago, but after the first episode never continued. "Hey, I'm busy." The same excuse of most people. And that's a legitimate excuse. There are probably way better things to commit to than a TV show. But I found a respite of time recently and I chose to apply that time to "The Pacific." "The Pacific" is the WWII, fighting the Japanese in the Pacific theater, analog to “Band of Brother’s,” which followed U.S. troops fighting the Nazis in the Atlantic theater. "Band of Brothers" was also produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg and was very good. Obviously "The Pacific" contains many lessons about selflessness and sacrifice and heroism and loss and meaning and humanity… But two somewhat similar lessons seemed particularly appropriate to my current experiences:
First, when the soldiers fought in one large battle, as a viewer I thought, ‘Whew, they made it through. Thank goodness. Now they can go home!’ But then they didn’t go home. That wasn't all for them. They just went on to the next battle. They continued along the path and one significant event didn’t mean they were suddenly done with everything. If anything, experience continually made them better soldiers.
Second, the actors. In this one particular mini-series the actors portrayed their one role. One character of many throughout the actor's acting career. They had taken on other roles in the past, they will continue to take on other roles in the future. Like with many things, when watching I was immediately struck by what I might have seen this or that actor in before. One main actor was the young boy in “Jurassic Park.” Another that came in later now plays the main character in one of my favorite shows, “Mr. Robot” (he's also in "Short-Term 12" BTW). After "The Pacific" ended it was on to the next thing for the actor. Each piece helps to build the wider kaleidoscope of an image and story for them. Just one role isn’t the be all and end all of everything.
So, as I lay on the rock hard table top (loosely a “bed”) preparing to begin my short, five session, stint of radiation I thought about those two things (sure those are probably not “normal” thoughts but I’m not very “normal”). I already underwent surgery. I had already begun my first set of monthly chemo pills. I took my clinical trial drug daily. And I had already done most of it before. BUT, the lesson of the soldiers continuing to soldier on (pun intended but I also think that’s where the term originates so it’s not as much of a pun as an appropriate use) to the next battle helped to make this newest front a lot more digestible. Both the actors, and the soldiers they portrayed, and I traveled a journey. A journey not defined by one single battle, one single role, one single treatment. Rather it’s the combination of everything that results in the whole.
Thursday, June 30th, I began radiation treatments. I have five total. It’s much more focused and concentrated than the last time I underwent radiation. I had radiation on June 30, July 1, July 5, today (July 6), and I finish on July 7 (tomorrow). I got blood drawn today just to monitor things. Then I get it drawn again next week before I meet with my oncologist and hopefully begin the next round of chemo pills. If I do they will start on July 13 and end on July 17.