Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Number Forty Three: The Radiotherapy

I think this machine has actually been featured in an episode of Ben10!

Radiotherapy was done and dusted a week ago now and although it was definitely a walk in the park compared to chemotherapy I do feel it deserves at least a little mention.

Before it began I tried to explain to my eldest what would be happening (tricky as it really was nothing like I’d imagined it)
‘Well a machine will sort of shoot and zap me to kill off any nasty bits in me and I might get tired and my skin will be a bit burnt.’
Turns out I made it sound more like an episode of Ben10 than I had intended.
‘Yeah mum, when are you having your shooting and burning?’ he asked a few days later. Note to self-shooting, zapping and burning are all way cooler to a three year old boy than they are to you as a patient!

My skin is burnt now- in a ridiculous rectangle shape and it’s too sore to wear a bra. Without a bra I obviously look a little unbalanced so I now fashion most outfits with a strategically placed scarf (some days I do look like I’m wearing a bib). I am beginning to think that cancer was just maybe created by some sort of evil scarf seller with a view to increasing his sales. Cancer=heavy reliance on scarves! As well as trying not to look like a pirate there is obviously a fashion rule against wearing more than one scarf at a time so if you’re disguising a lack of boob with a scarf then you’re just going to have to find something else to wear on your head! Exactly the same as the ‘double denim’ rule- just say no!

When you have radiotherapy you get your own gown- no expense spared! This means you have to remember to take it with you everyday- I forgot (twice) which meant I had to wear the inferior gown that didn’t have fancy zips and Velcro. It was just like at school when you forget your kit and you’re made to wear the lost property shorts and t-shirt-ugh!!! The other thing you have to remember is to display your parking permit- I forgot and was given an £80 fine on day one! (I wormed my way out of it naturally!)

When you’re actually being zapped it’s very difficult to believe anything is really happening (you kind of know something pretty dangerous IS happening because everyone legs it out of the room and leaves you all alone!) but the actual zap is all very uneventful really. What is a bit of a nightmare is getting you lined up in the right place on the bed- one arm in the air, head to the side, up a bit, down a bit, side to side. Once you’re in place you must not move- I think we’ve established my memory isn’t what it used to be but during the positioning of about the twelfth of fifteen zaps I forgot about being still and lifted my hand to scratch my face. No no no this is NOT allowed. I got a bit told off… I hate getting told off! And so then the most ridiculous thing of this entire beast breast journey happened… I cried… because I didn’t want to be told off! By this point everyone had scarpered for fear of the radiation so I was all alone crying, whilst being zapped and of course lying incredibly still! I thought not licking sugar from your lips whilst eating a jam doughnut was tricky- try not wiping your tears whilst having radiation shot at you! Luckily I was wearing a woolly hat so my tears had something to soak into!  

So that’s one more thing behind me. Just the Herceptin and Tamoxifen to tick off my list now! It is worth mentioning that I seem to have the slowest growing hair ever- think I’m destined to be bald for an awful long time yet! And whilst I am bald I really must remember not to try and comfort any crying foundation children in the corridor as I tend to scare them and just make the crying louder! The rest of work is going well- The highlight so far has been a little girl telling me she thought that ‘Benny and the Jets’ was a song her cousin made up whilst they were on holiday in a caravan! Don’t tell Elton!

Anyway, as far as the half a burnt chest goes- the only way to even it up is to go to Gran Canaria- oh go on then. If I must!


  1. I think I might have your share of hair! Face, arms, down there, everywhere. The extra face hair is NOT GOOD - face looks dirty and is covered in 1 cm fluff, (if not removed), I have tamed it, but eugh, why me?

  2. This is such a great (dare I say it?) fun post! I was smiling all through it! You have such a talent for looking at a situation and turning it into a great read. I loved the evil scarf seller! I am a scarf wearer so just shout if you need any - got all sorts! xx

  3. Hello,
    I have a question about your blog. Please email me!

  4. Hiya.. Just checking to see if your ok? Its been quiet here for almost a month, just wanted to see if you are alright.

  5. Hiya, I'm good thanks. Real life seems to have not left much time for blogging! Also I don't seem to have anything much cancery to say at the moment- which can Only be a good thing! Now the novelty of being back at work and back out and about has worn off I'm finding I'm getting really tired again. I'm also feeling fat! I'm off to the younger womens breast cancer forum next weekend so I'm sure I'll have lots to talk about after that! Hope you're well. Glad you had a good Halloween! Xx

  6. whew, glad to hear your alright. I think the "tired" thing goes along with the after effects of the treatment. I'm tired too, and feeling very fat. I'm glad your busy with life, thats a good thing. Enjoy the forum, and thanks for checking in!

  7. Awesome post Erin, happy to hear you are back to life with all it's challenges - new and old! And your humor continues to shine through as strong as ever. xxx