Monday, 13 April 2015


Hi! So I've been all sorts of opinionated recently but it's been a little while since I did an actual update on cancer treatment and as people are starting to ask (and as I am massively behind on my emails - sorry) I thought I'd write a bit about my new best friend.
My new best friend is called THE RADIATOR * and it's a beast.
(*Alright, it's actually called "Charnwood" but I prefer THE RADIATOR.)
I love it. Here's why it's my new best friend...
I spent 18 weeks having chemo. I am grateful to chemo for killing off the majority of my cancer, it was really nice of it to do that for me, but in the process it poisoned the hell out of me, and nearly ruined me both physically and mentally.
I then had surgery. Thank you to my wonderful surgeon (lots of hearts for my surgeon) for chopping out what was left of the visible cancer and the whole areas surrounding it. I'm very grateful, and it's totally worth it, but surgery did hurt, and does leave me with scars and risk of lymphedema.
I am now having radiotherapy. This is to blast the left side of my chest wall, and the area where the next load of my lymph nodes are (the ones further up the chain from those that got removed in surgery). It hopefully means if any individual cells managed to avoid death by chemo, or being chopped out and chucked in the bin by the surgeon, then radiotherapy should kill them. That area of my chest is now a danger of death zone for any cancer cells. 

I have to go to the hospital every weekday for 15 days. I've been 9 times so far (6 more to do). Peeps did not lie when they told me radiotherapy is a breeze compared to chemo.

I usually spend about 5 minutes in a very quiet and peaceful waiting area that looks like this:
These are the chairs that I sit on. 
(I know, I know, I'm just trying to demonstrate how completely non-traumatic this whole stage of cancer treatment is!) 

And then this is where go through to see my new bestest buddy, The Radiator.
I lie on the bed thing with left arm up in the arm rests, and the radiotherapy people dim the lights and exciting green lasers beam across the room. They use these to line me up into the exact right position - to the millimetre! Before radiotherapy started I had to come in for a CT scan so they could see where organs like my heart were, I then was given 4 dot tattoos (permanent! I've got 4 tats!) and they use these and the lasers to line me up exactly right.
They then leave the room and The Radiator blasts me.

But I don't feel a thing! I just lie there. That big, bad beast of a machine is blasting me with radiation and I don't feel a thing. Today I closed my eyes and thought, if it wasn't all done so quickly, I could actually have a nap in there. The nurses come back in, check the lasers and stuff again, then go out while I get blasted a second time. And then that's all repeated a third time. And then we have a quick chat about what we plan to have for tea while I get dressed and they put the bed away, and then I go home. The whole thing takes no more than 10 minutes.

Easy peasy!

My skin is looking and feeling a bit like it's sunburned, but so far it's ok really. And I've been horrendously tired. But I'm not going to lay all the blame for that on The Radiator. Chemo and surgery still have a lot to answer for (I've now been told that by my surgeon, Breast Care Nurse, Oncology Registrar, Senior Radiotherapy Nurse and Occupational Health Nurse).

There is one strange thing though. This is me being strange, not The Radiator. Most days when I'm lying there being blasted, I have moments where I feel incredibly emotional, and have to stop myself from crying. But I'm not sad, and I'm not scared (and I'm not in pain). I'm not sure what it is. I just think I love The Radiator and I'm grateful for it blasting me. Just in case, like. Because after next Tuesday, I am officially finished with cancer treatment.

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