PAC-MAN vs TUMORS

Today, while I was waiting for my treatment, someone asked me “What do you think about when you are lying in the machine and getting radiation?”

“I think about PAC-MAN.”

“…PAC-MAN?”

“Yes, PAC-MAN, that hungry yellow disc.”

I imagine that my tumors are giant oranges, lemons and strawberries. As I lie in the mold fitted to my body, trying to stay completely still as the machine spins around me, I imagine that the giant fruits (my tumors) are being plucked, peeled, squeezed and squished until ghosts pop out. Once the radiation machine starts buzzing, the ghosts turn blue which means they are now edible. PAC-MAN zips around, eating the fruit and gobbling up the ghosts.

PAC-MAN has always reminded me of a macrophage, a tiny immune cell that engulfs and digests cellular debris and pathogens. I can’t really explain the fruit metaphor but that is just how my imagination works.

To help illustrate my answer, I drew this Daily Doodle. If my creative twist was removed, there would be a bundle of lysed tumor cells with macrophages engulfing the debris.

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