Day one of the radio therapy.

I described the preliminary session in a recent post. Today was the actual start.

Between the preliminary session and today I had a short holiday in Devon. I never totally relax on holiday because caring for my sight impaired husband never stops – driving, helping him to negotiate stairs, showers, socks and software. But this one was very enjoyable. We went to Devon, hired a cottage for a week. The weather was glorious, the cottage set in wonderful countryside, miles from anywhere, and Devon is a glorious county. We were close to the Somerset border so explored there too including a steam train ride on a heritage railway.

On return I had one of the busiest weekends ever. Our Residents’ Association of which I am the Honorary Secretary, is fighting a possible closure of our only local shop. If it closed, we would face a schlepp across busy main roads to access basic services such as general stores, post office, and general social hub. So that kept me busy, along with arrangements for the High Salvington Windmill fete next week.

But I digress. Today the first of my wonderful friends turned up to pick us up at 9:45 (Bob came too) and off we set for Brighton. Traffic was as bad as we expected but we arrived in good time. Right on time, I was called for my information session. Radiographer Connor took me into a stifling room (did you know we are in a heatwave in the U.K. at the moment?} and told me stuff I already knew but was happy to be reminded of. Side effects, what to expect, etc.

I returned to the waiting room for a couple of minutes, during which I saw that the Sussex Cancer Fund had raised lots of money to purchase new equipment for the cancer unit.

Connor gave me a gown with poppers (press studs for my US friends) just about everywhere and ushered me in to see two female radiographers. They took a long time positioning me with my arms up above my head (though I’m lying on my back). They had me practising the breathing technique, they drew lines on me and talked over my head as they adjusted the machinery. Finally they retreated to their control room. There was a long wait during which time I thought perhaps the intercom wasn’t working. But at last I heard a voice telling me we were going to get going with the radiation.

I was asked to breathe in and hold several times, sometimes just for five seconds and others for about 20. A couple of times the radiation aborted because I didn’t breathe exactly the same way as the time before. After about 20 minutes of this I was finding the breathing a bit of a struggle.. it’s important though. It keeps my heart out of the way, so I’m all for it.

I am having more fields radiated than is general for most patients because I opted not to have the surgery (see previous post) so I was under the machine for quite a while. By the end my arms were feeling quite shaky from being raised above my head for so long.

Apart from that, it was very comfortable. I felt no burning or anything like that.

.Once released I dressed and was about to depart leaving the gown behind, when I was told to take it with me and bring it back tomorrow,

I found Bob having a cup of coffee and phoned Dave who was also enjoying a quiet coffee in the main hospital and we were home much more quickly than the journey there.

I had purchased some R1 R2 waterjet gel and cream and applied some when I got home. But there is as yet no sign of burning.

I did a little work in the afternoon but then had a nap before preparing a simple dinner. I hope that I don’t get too tired after these sessions.

Tonight England is playing Colombia in the last 16 of the World Cup and I am watching that while writing this post. But then it will be bed to rest and start all over again tomorrow.

One down 14 to go!


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