After CAT and PET scans, I took drugs, took notes, had teeth removed, then a tonsil (by a robot) and dozens of lymph nodes. No food or water for eight days. Thirty-five radiation sessions scrambled my taste buds like eggs, burned my throat like toast, and fried my saliva glands. Talking was difficult, breathing was compromised and any social life was fantasy. Since cancer thrives on alcohol and sugars, I swore them off. Lost 45 pounds. Hardest of all, perhaps, was trusting total strangers who introduced themselves as my doctors and nurses and technicians and dietitians and therapists — far from a battalion of warriors, they made up a gentle, life-saving team. They addressed my cancer. I dealt with my psyche. And my family. I can only hope I did as well as they.