So I’ve had a few days of radiotherapy now, and thought I’d provide a general update as to how it is.
So I rock up at the hospital, sign in and be advised if my appointment for the following day/week has changed, go to the waiting area, and hang about and wait. The waiting usually isn’t for very long, and then I get changed into my hospital gown, go wait in the second waiting room for a few minutes, and then get into the radiation room.
So far I’ve only attended one of these appointments alone. I’m very lucky I have the support of friends and family to keep me company in the waiting room, even if it is for a short period.
So in the radiation room I tell them who I am, what they’re treating, and lie down on a table under a big machine.
As I’m getting treated for breast cancer, my arms are above my head and I’m holding onto some bars. The technicians mark on my skin where I got some tiny tattoos, and then line me up under laser beams (I am high tech) to make sure I’m in the right spot for the radiation to be delivered. Once they’re happy they leave the room and I get shot with high energy photons, twice, diagonally through my breast in order to avoid my heart. It takes maybe 5 minutes.
I don’t have a problem appearing nude in front of people, so constantly being topless in front of the technicians isn’t a problem for me, I can imagine it would be for some people, particularly as some of the technicians are men. All of the technicians are lovely, and highly professional.
My breast is beginning to redden from the radiotherapy, which is the expected side-effect. I am after all getting constantly burnt with radiation. It’s also a bit tender, which isn’t surprising as all the cells are constantly being damaged and then have to repair each day.
I have been warned that I might get extreme burns (blistering and/or skin cracking) as I progress through the treatment. I don’t know if the burns will hurt as much as they will be annoying. The hospital will keep an eye on any burns and side-effects to ensure that I am coping ok and provide assistance where possible. I have already been provided with sorbolene cream to put on the irradiated area twice a day in order to keep the skin moisturised and soothed.
I’ve also had a cold/bacterial infection while doing this, so it’s been more shit than it normally would be. I only have 14 more sessions left.