June 1st 2015: Began radiotherapy.
July 1st 2015: I finished radiotherapy. In between had 23 sessions ( called fractions). Each of these entailed a trip to the Regional Cancer Centre to get zapped.
The waiting room is massive, apparently they treat 300+ per day there. The desk is manned by volunteers from the Friends of the Cancer Centre and also I saw a gentleman volunteer playing guitar one day . It all helps keeps your spirits up. There is some horrendous artwork though, one huge piece in particular was what looked like a playground in blood red. Made me think of Terminator 2 and laugh every time I saw it which possibly wasn’t the artist’s intention.
Anyway you get a pager and can wonder about in the vicinity until the radiographer pages you. Once you’ve been paged they take you off to one of the rooms where they check your details. After partially undressing you get on the bench, get lined up to the lasers and then zapped. This bit only takes a minute .
Anyway, radiotherapy itself was fine. To anyone having to have it, the staff are all very nice and it only takes a few minutes. If you drink lots of water and moisturise as advised it is fine. I managed to avoid any skin damage luckily but it can break down a bit. What I do have though is a very brown tanned circular patch where I had the Boost treatment. This is a few fractions where the beam is focused in a very small specific area. This also entails a bit more drawing on you with felt tips, this time using a template to trace the area. Not so fun with male radiographers doing it. I tried to make it normal by chatting about the weather etc but really- strangers drawing on your boob is not normal.
Wasn’t too unhappy to finish though. I had got sick of trekking to the hospital every day and not being able to wear deodorant under the nearest arm to the area being zapped. Apparently the metallic particles can effect the radiation -which makes me wonder what exactly we put onto our skin without thinking.
When it was all over I did feel a sense of relief. The active treatment phase is over and I’ll just be reviewed regularly from now on. That plus 10 yrs of taking tamoxifen .
But….far better than the alternative. At least I have an alternative