Monday, September 7, 2009

Radioactive Man

This is going to be a big week in my treatment.

It begins tomorrow, when I go to the Montefiore Department of Nuclear Medicine (!!) to receive a low-dose iodine pill. I've already been off my thyroid meds and on a low-iodine diet for several weeks in preparation for this, avoiding bread, salt, dairy, eggs, seafood, all restaurant food, and anything red (containing red dye 40, that is). This diet is supposed to have starved off any leftover thyroid hormone in my system since my thyroidectomy, including the thyroid cancer cells, and the iodine pill is going to draw whatever is left of these cells back out en masse.

Then I go back two days later for another, more important (and potent) pill--a high-dose radiation pill that is designed to, well, nuke any leftover cancer. The radiation will work it's way through my body over several days, making ME temporarily radioactive.

The bad news is that, even though I'm allowed to recover at home, I have to do so in isolation. I have to stay away from my daughter entirely for at least a week, maybe as long as two weeks. Everyone else, I need to keep my distance, limiting prolonged exposure to a few minutes and a several feet. (I warn you--do not make me angry during this time. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...if only because there's a chance I might spit at you, and my saliva could kill you. Peeing on you would do the same, but I don't expect anyone to make me that upset.)

The good news is that, according to all the comics I've read through the years, there's a pretty high probability that I'll develop super powers!

So, in celebration and preparation, here are my 5 Favorite Radioactive Super Heroes:

5. Nuke: I've always been moved by the tragic story of Nuke, the ridiculously powerful member of The Squadron Supreme who also happened to generate so much nuclear energy that he gave everyone around him radiation poisoning and cancer. His was definitely the standout story in the ensemble superhero series, but little did I know it would be so prescient.

4. The Hulk: Another great tragedy in the radioactive superhero genre is Bruce Banner, aka the Incredible Hulk, who became so through the powers of gamma radiation. As he will gladly tell you, before throwing a building at you, the Hulk is the strongest one there is, which you'd think would be pretty great. Unfortunately, he also tends to be one of the stupidest. And sure, people love the Hulk when he's got his rage in check, but those times are quite rare. The rest of the time, poor Hulkie is the most shot at by tanks one there is. Plus, he had the purple pants on before the gamma blast. Bad attitude and bad taste.

3. The Toxic Avenger: Melvin the mop boy had a shitty life before falling into a vat of nuclear waste, but now, he's got super strength, a giant schween, and a hot (blind) girlfriend. Sure, he's also got a droopy eye, the complexion of wet roadkill, and occasional bouts of psychotic rage...but, unlike the Hulk, the folks in Tromaville love the guy.

2. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Like Toxie, the TMNTs were nothing before taking a dip in toxic waste (or did they eat contaminated pizza?), and they one-up the tutu-wearing Avenger through the power of strong, nurturing parental guidance (thanks to a Splinter, their rat sensei). Now, the heroes on the half-shell aren't just karate-kicking super dudes, they're role models. (For the record, my favorite of the four is the purple-masked bo-stick-swinging Donatello.)

1. Spider-Man: Obviously, I'm a sucker for the wall-crawler, Marvel's everyman hero who got his powers from the bite of a radioactive arachnid during a high school class trip to the world's most dangerously ambitious and poorly secured college science lab. I should wish to be as lucky as Peter Parker was, because even if a daddy long legs gets trapped in the pill mixer that makes my dose, I'll probably just wind up developing a taste for houseflies and shooting webs out of my butt.

What other radioactive characters should I keep in mind during this time?

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