Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Radioactive blessings

At the beginning of my first appointment in the radiation oncology department I was surprised to be introduced to two physicists who would be working on my case. Somehow it had never occurred to me that there would be anyone besides medical personnel involved in my treatment but on reflection I thought, "Radiation. . . physicists ... duh. "

They explained to me that the bulk of the time I spent in the treatment room would be taken up by them checking and rechecking and sometimes triple-checking the math in order to make sure I got exactly the right dosage for exactly the right amount of time. I assured them that I greatly appreciated their attention to detail and they could check their math as many times as they liked.

I went home that day thinking how exciting it was that math people would choose to study and work with ways radiation in order to help heal specific individuals. I think of physicists as professors and rocket scientist, folks working in laboratories and universities. On my second visit I felt compelled to ask one of them what drew a physicist toward medical uses of radiation.

His story wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I thought I was going to hear why a physicist would leave the lab or university for the field of medical radiation. What I heard instead was a story of vocation discovered.

The physicist's story began shortly after graduating from college when he discovered that his degree in Spanish Literature was not going to help him earn a living. After trying a few other things he began working as an Xray Technician. During the course of his duties he was exposed to the physicists working in radiation oncology. [pun intended] What these men and women were doing really excited him! Here were people who were not doctors and yet who spent every day working to heal people from what is possibly the most frightening diagnosis anyone can be given. He wanted to be part of that. He went back to school (where he discovered he actually does like math) and became one of them, a physicist working in radiation oncology. He said, "It took me a while to get here but now I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing."

He thanked me for asking and I thanked him back for telling me about his journey. When I showed up for my appointment I absolutely did not expect to hear a story of calling and vocation. What a blessing I received along with the radiation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I've been Lurking

Yesterday one of the ladies at church said, "I've been worried about you. You haven't been on Facebook all week!" I replied, "I've been there, but I've been lurking." Then I had to explain what lurking is. I've signed on to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ every day. I've read other people's posts and even added some folks to my lists and circles of friends and followers. But I haven't said very much at all.

It could be that I'm suffering from social network overload. Even when I have had something I really wanted to share I have to decide how I wanted to share it. Did I want to limit myself to 140 characters, posting to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously? Or did I want to write something longer as a blog post or a note and then post a TinyURL on Twitter so it would appear on both Twitter and Facebook? Or should I just post it on Facebook?

And what about Google+? I'd have to write something separate for Google+ because Twitter and Facebook don't talk to Google+. Then I'd have to decide which of my circles to share it with. Do I want everyone in my circles to see it, or just other church folk, or just recovery folk, or just women, or do I want to share with the whole entire world of Google+?

Maybe I should just write a blog post. That would work. Then I could post it everywhere and not worry about how many characters it has or who gets to read it. Of course, that means I have to decide whether to post it to Jubilee or Everyday Thinking, or Tuesday's Child on the Disciples of Christ site, the Intersection: Where Faith Meets Life. I don't really like to cross-post so I kind of have to pick just one. Then I get to decide where to post the link so people can read it. . .

You see the problem I've been having? When I was only involved with one social networking site and only wrote one blog it was simple. ;-)

However . . . today I've ended my lurking break. I imagine I will take other breaks in the future when it starts seeming like way too much again. I've returned to all those places with comments and posts and likes and RTs and +s. See you there.