I’ve had a blissful couple of months without any cancer treatment apart from medication. But as from today, Tuesday 5th September, I’m back on it again. This time it’s radiotherapy and the rollercoaster starts again. Fortunately it should be an easier, shorter, less scary ride than the chemo-coaster was. Nonetheless it’s a daily bind and I’m being “messed” with again. I know it’s for my own good – it will halve the risk of the breast cancer returning – and I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way. That hasn’t stopped me feeling a bit blue about the prospect of treatment starting up again. But as my husband put it, it’s a small price to pay to be cured of cancer. So I will shut up whining, get my head down and just get on with it. It’s the only way.
For the next 20 weekdays I will make the 1 hour round trip (as long as the M5 doesn’t snarl up!) to hospital for a 15 minute treatment slot. I’m hoping my luck holds and I have an easy time of it. Side effects vary from person to person but I’ve been told to expect to feel tired and sore, particularly towards the end of the 20 days. I’m pretty sure I can cope with that.
So this morning I turned up at Worcester Royal Hospital slightly early. Within a couple of minutes of arriving I had my clothes off, nasty hospital gown on and was being introduced to the lovely team that will be looking after me for the next month.
The bed in the zapping room looks like this:
With the addition of a few straps it wouldnt look out of place in 50 Shades! But this isn’t a piece of sexy fiction so there’s no such shenanigans for me. Instead I have to lie on my back, arms above my head while Dan, the nice (and very young) radiographer, manhandles me into the right position. A couple of weeks ago, in preparation for treatment, I was tattooed to allow them to place me in the correct position each day. When I was first told I needed permanent tattoos I was hoping for something impressive. I’m afraid the 3 purple dots I’ve ended up with aren’t quite what I had in mind.
Once I was correctly positioned I was told to lie still for the 10 minutes or so it takes to irradiate me. Of course, as soon as I’m told not to move I have an overwhelming desire to do exactly that. My arm itches. My leg cramps briefly. I feel like I’m going to cough. I need the loo. Focussing on the music playing and the pretty ceiling tiles (sky and clouds – a nice touch) helps take my mind off things and the whirring of the machine is almost relaxing!
Clearly this pic isn’t of me and the man here looks way more comfortable than I was, but this gives you an idea of what happens.
It doesn’t hurt. In fact there’s absolutely nothing to feel. It’s all very quick and staff are super efficient, so before I know it I’m all done and heading back to work for the afternoon.
So that’s it. 1 down. 19 to go. Barring any disasters, October 2nd will be my final radiotherapy session and marks the end of my cancer treatment. It’s the day I get my life back. 💜