Surprising how quickly the new becomes routine, the strange becomes normal. Each morning arriving at hospital, checking in by barcode at the machine, waiting until my name’s called (and mispronounced!) on the tannoy. Then off around the corner to the changing room where I de-robe my top half and put on a hospital gown. There I wait for anything from 5 to 30 minutes for one of the radiotherapists to collect me. Then onwards to the machine.
The flat-bed and the various leg, head and arm supports have been set up to match the positioning that was set for me at the planning appointment. I take the gown off, and lie on the machine bed and the staff line me up to the machine exactly using the light beams and my tattoo dots as reference points. The staff talk over me about measurements and use the remote controls to adjust the bed’s alignment. Then a gel pack is placed over my ex boob and the staff leave the room. The machine whirrs and then buzzes for 30 seconds while the x-rays are emitted. Then the staff return, and the process is repeated a further two times. Back to the changing room, apply lashings of aqueous cream or aloe vera to my torso and back of my shoulder, get dressed, and off home.
The whole process door to door takes about 3 hours, and very kindly, friends have been taking me each day and it’s been great to have the opportunity to catch up. Being driven has saved my energy, which has been a lifesaver as I’ve been left exhausted by this flu thing …and the last 7 months. Tilly allowing, I’ve been having radiotherapy and then coming home and going straight to bed. The treatment affects the right side of my torso from the base of my ribs up to my chin, as well as the right side of my upper back, as the rays targeted at my collar bone travel straight through to my back. So far the skin’s a little tender but ok.
It’s good to have got started and to have 5 out of 20 done. Having flu has put me at a low ebb going into radiotherapy, and mentally it’s been a really hard couple of weeks. Although I’m aware and grateful that we’re so far through this process, it’s taken its toll which is beginning to be brought to bear and sometimes I feel like I can’t do this anymore, that I’ve had enough of treatment and want to magic us out of this crappy situation. But tomorrow is another day, and one step closer to being through this and out the other side.
So onwards, onwards with a shrug and a smile, grateful for what we have and finding the positive wherever we can.