One of those weeks, one of those weeks. Things were on the up last week, and the prospect of a week off (bar one appointment) was lovely. Well…what happened? Flu happened. Or at least some flu-type bug. 3 days in bed with fever, aching and chills, not eating etc etc. That side of things has subsided but I feel shattered and am coughing, coughing, coughing. I’m hoping I improve miraculously in the next 36 hours as I don’t want to be coughing while they’re zapping!
Prior to this it was a pretty brilliant beginning to the week! I was feeling the best I’ve felt for months. Dan was away Sunday and Monday (not pretty brilliant) and Tilly and I muddled through ok, largely thanks to Tilly being occupied by nursery and friends on Monday daytime. And I had a lovely, all too rare, child-free catch up with a wonderful friend which was a treat.
Tuesday was a return to jolly old hospital for my radiotherapy planning appointment. Planning was interesting – the process is both super high tech and low tech. A very nice team of staff – a consultant, registrar and two nurses – look after me. So, top off, lying on the hard bed board of the simulator machine, the nurses positioned my right arm as flat as possible above my head. Really uncomfortable since surgery to do this, but 6 weeks ago I couldn’t lift it at all, so the exercises have paid off.
There’s a flat plate above me attached to the arm of the machine and it projects a linear scale onto my torso. In the ceiling there’s a red beam of light pointing down at me which I first glimpse sight of as the machine arm circles me while it whirs and clunks away busy doing it’s thing. The nurses make some adjustments, and disappear to the safety of the ante room during the scanning and to see the results. And then there’s a whirring and the bed starts rising. There’s no communication from anyone, but they know it’s happening right? The bed’s still going up, getting closer to the flat plate. This and the red ‘laser’ beam bring to mind images of James Bond style torture.
Bond: “Do you expect me to talk?”
Goldfinger: “No Mr Bond I expect you to die!”
And then the bed stops moving, the whirring ends. I’m not squashed. This bed raising malarkey is repeated a few times and each time I have the same doubts. Anxious, moi?! 30 minutes of adjustments and scans to check the radiotherapy will be targeted at the right areas, and avoid damaging my lung. So all very high tech huh?
And the low tech bit – to mark their measurements on my torso…school pencil cases at the ready, they get out their felt pens and plastic shatterproof rulers. Lots of dots and lines and circles in pen, topped off by 3 permanent but tiny tattoos, just little black dots. All in all, surprisingly exhausting, but brilliant staff, and a good job done I hope.
And that evening I was totally thrilled to have a couple of old friends visit for the night. In their company I felt like I was back to who I was before all this, and that’s the first time in a very very long time, so thank you kind friends the night was priceless.
And then this flu thing and Dan was away again, but hey, I’ll take a couple of good days and ignore the bad. And now straight into a month of radiotherapy – I’ve done chemo, and had major surgery, I can do anything, me! Bring it on!