Saturday, 27 January 2018

10 Things I learned during Radiotherapy



1. Radiation therapy uses a special kind of high-energy beam to damage cancer cells.These high-energy beams, which are invisible to the human eye, damage a cell’s DNA, the material that cells use to divide. Cancer cells are more easily destroyed by radiation, while healthy, normal cells are better able to repair themselves and survive the treatment. (That's as techie as I'm going to get.)

2. It's not the most dignified of procedures  ... you have to lie with your arms over your head, nuddy from the waist up, and they mark you with pen before the machine zaps you. Yep.

3. Some of the radiographers have Very Cold Hands.

4. The machines break down because they are in constant use and the NHS can't afford to replace them as often as they should.

5. You get extremely tired (part of the tiredness is travelling there and back every day).

6. After three days, everything tastes of lemon floor polish.

7. When you are told to drink as much as possible, they don't mean prosecco.

8. It is amazing what you can endure, both physically and mentally (though see 7 above, which would have helped considerably on this).

9. It seems interminable when you start, but it DOES come to an end.

10. There are lots of very wonderful people on social media: I got sent chocolates, wine, books, pencils, cards, good wishes, and some lovely hand-warmers.

I finish being cooked on Tuesday, and I shall be taking in a big cake for all the lovely hard-working staff. The NHS has been there for me in spades, as it has been for thousands of other women with cancer and, pace this awful government trying to sell it off covertly to US healthcare providers, I hope it will continue to be there for all of us, when we need it, for ever.
I am truly grateful. 

31 comments:

  1. Roll on Tuesday! Two things I’d like to know though. 1. Why can’t they run their hands under hot water before handling exposed bits?
    And 2. How do you KNOW what lemon floor polish tastes like anyway?
    ((Hugs))

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    1. I'm a writer ~ I used my imagination!

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  2. You are amazing, Carol. I’m sure you’re counting down the hours until it’s over. Sending big hugs. I hope they didn’t use a permanent pen btw!! ;)

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    1. Actually, they did...I have 3 small permanant marks!

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  3. God bless Carol, I wish you all the best in the world. Xx

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  4. Thank you for explaining what happens. So pleased that it is almost over. We have an exhibition at our workhouse/hospital museum on Betatron, the first use of accelerated Xray treatment in this country in 1967 http://www.hospitalproject.co.uk/tag/betatron/

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    1. I keep asking the staff what X stands for. Nobody knows ...

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  5. This is funny, but it's worth much more than that because it tells people who may have to go through it what it is REALLY like. Well done, and I'm crossing everything for you xx

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    1. Thanks. I had a long think about how 'public' I wanted to be, and then decided if I could do it with veracity, not too much whining and some humour, it might be helpful.

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    2. Hi Carol, Humour is invaluable...Top Girl Guide points for enduring the treatment. Thankfully it will soon be over. (Husband was cured nine years ago with similar.) Take care. Hugs. xx

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    3. I wish there were like buttons to put under comments like yours and Terry's.

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  6. Thinking of you, Carol. Thanks for sharing and love the hand-warmers (I always have cold hands!).

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    1. Thanks Olga...me too...the radiographers are amused by my numerous hand warmers!

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  7. After twenty-one years of being marked up with a blue pen, Carol, the marks are still ther. Reminds me I'm still here after all that time, as well!! Just one thing,though you probably won't be as daft as I was; after the last session I went on a walking weekend - all the arm swinging brought great blisters up on parts of the skin which had been zapped. Should have just given in to the tiredness but always have been bloody-minded! Sending positive vibes your way...which will last for the next twenty-one years.

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    1. Eep ...I still have the blue nuclear marks from my original operation! Hope it will all eventually fade. The BUMMER is I can't have any more tattoos on my left side!

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  8. Will be thinking of you come Tuesday, Carol. I so admire your positive attitude. Wishing you all that’s good. x

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  9. And the best thing about this post is that you have imbued what is a horrible experience with your inimitable sense of humour. Thank you, Carol! You have taught us so much! And about how great the NHS is. I just want to mention I have in these last weeks been playing the waiting game you have been through more than once to find out if I have cancer. I am hugely relieved to know I don’t and that it’s something else, but with that very very minor brush with what it means, I have an even better appreciation of your courage and wonderful attitude. Please God every last C cell will be zapped forever and things will only be upwards for you from now on. Hugs!!
    PS I don’t envy you those cold hands at all!

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    1. so glad you don't have it, Val, but hope the 'something else' isn't bad?

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  10. If there was a prize for positive, upbeat, well-cooked patients, I think it must belong to you. Thanks for showing us that cancer is an event, not a definition. Love, warm hands, and speedy recovery.

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    1. There are so many misunderstandings about what it is ...and what it isn't.

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  11. ...well said Carol A massive 'Hat Tip' to saying it. [Heart] [Hugs]

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  12. Hang in there - cancer is a bugger and we all find our own to a converse with it. Yours (wonderfully) is with humour (although I suspect you have to work on that sometimes). And, for those of us in the UK, the NHS is simply the best thing we’ve created since the wheel. From broken fingers to deep depression or cancer - they are there for us. We will never forgive the Tories if they sell it.

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  13. My sister Jaye went through all of this, and then wrote about it in her novella Apple Blossom. Not sure I would have wanted to, but there is a lot to be said for finding (and using) the humour in every situation!

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  14. I 100% agree with your sentiments about our wonderful NHS and this dreadful government's determination to wreck it. Best wishes for Tuesday. I am going for my 11th cycle of chemotherapy on the same day but as you say, it ends eventually. :)

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    1. Chemo is a whole 'nother ball game .... sending hugs!

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  15. Well endured Carole. Good blog for those who come to radiotherapy after you. Now enjoy NOT going to hospital so much.

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    1. Thanks Sue ...I seem to have been on the move between 2 hospitals for months ( actually, I HAVE been!)

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  16. Glad you're finished with this stage Carol - onwards and upwards. Thanks for posting this. My last chemo yesterday and I've got this to look forward to next. Stay strong and take care.

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  17. Great to hear you've come through this, Carol. My youngest daughter, aged 38, has been diagnosed with Stage 2 Cervical Cancer. Her treatment begins Bank Holiday Monday, 27th August '18. A scary time. Her children are just 3 and 8. A single mum. So glad we live nearby. We are in Brixham and she's in Paignton.

    Carol, you're an inspiration to all.

    Best wishes,
    Caz Greenham

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