Tomorrow is going to be exciting beyond words. IT’S MY LAST RADIOTHERAPY SESSION!
Not only that… but it’s my last TREATMENT session. Having found the lump mid-January last year… you wouldn’t believe how happy that makes me. There is a large brass bell in the Radiotherapy area with a little poem above it. People ring it on their last day of treatment and everyone comes out of their rooms to congratulate the patient. Tomorrow at 7.30am you will hear the bell ringing from China. I’ll be evacuated by security for making too much noise.
How am I feeling?
I’ve got 4 pkts of antibiotics to take (a months worth) and I’m wearing morphine patches for the pain. Given that I only required Panadol after my mastectomy that’s saying something. The burns are really horrid. I can’t show you because they are in places that are not nice to show on a ‘G’ rated website but take my word for it. Glad wrap is now the new black. I’m not sure how long I’ll need to be wrapped in it and will need to have the dressings done by the nurse daily but hopefully not long.
The pain is mostly caused by the tissue expander rather than the burns. The muscles and skin that surround it are shrinking and spasming which is very unpleasant as the expander is placed behind the pectoral muscle. Of course, the muscles, bones and tissue are also impacted by radiotherapy but they can’t be seen. Most of the time I feel like I’ve been hit with a baseball bat but then I get stabbing pains to add interest.
The trouble with radiotherapy is that it sizzles for weeks after you have it, much like when you microwave food (it keeps cooking afterwards). If you can imagine the worst sunburn you ever had and then went out in the sun and got another dose of it every day for 6 weeks and each dose kept burning for weeks afterwards… that’s what it’s been like (for me). My skin doesn’t burn in the sun so I’m not sure why it’s got to this nasty stage but perhaps it’s the dose they are giving me is high. I know that most people don’t experience the burning skin etc to this degree so please don’t let me frighten you if you’re having treatment. Quite clearly they mean to blast the cancer out of me like nothing else did. That’s fine. I can put up with burns if it works!
A week or so ago the burns on my chest acquired white spots and looked very artistic. My kids said it looked like salami. Apparently it is new skin growing and eventually the spots all grow together and form an island. So now I have lovely patches of baby skin on my chest. My underarms, chest and waist are another matter. The area is peeling, dark red with purple sections and nasty green smelly slime (hence the antibiotics). Sorry about that description. I hope you’re not squirmish like the MOTH. He sometimes helps to Gladwrap me and he tries to do it with his eyes shut because he can’t handle the sight.
In the last week we have had our anniversary (and Valentines day but we don’t celebrate it). We went out for dinner. I donned my wig, drew on my eyebrows, slathered Solugel and anaesthetic on my burns, wrapped myself in Gladwrap and off we went. A stunning sight I have to say. Not to mention the ‘painful bra conundrum’ which I won’t go into.
The MOTH thinks my new white/grey wiry hair is lovely. He seriously means it! It must be love. It’s about 1cm long now so I’ll be glad to fling off the wig very soon. I have one eyebrow that’s growing dark brown and strong and one that’s white and fluffy. Strangely enough the white one is the same side the tumour was on. I have that ONE black hair that used to grow on my face back and I’m yanking it out again like the good old days.
It’s just as well I’m on Morphine because the world is just floating by. That and the fatigue from radiotherapy (which takes 6 months) and I’m in a kind of foggy life where anything that happened 2 minutes ago is forgotten.
Hooray it’s all over! I’m going to pick up my life in the next few months and live it with even more gusto than ever. No more nanna naps, daily medical treatments or painful procedures. AND no more eLearning consultations. From here on I’m going to be the bohemian artist I was born to be. I’ll be firing along and ready for my reconstruction surgery in 6 months time.
Don’t forget to listen out for the bell tomorrow!!!
I’ll be listening for the bell. Congratulations, what a stoic effort you’ve put in and all the while entertaining others with your artistic gift. Love your description of your new hair growth ,I’ve already pictured you with collingwood eyebrows and a hairdo to match.
Shine on *
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Good luck to you Jenny. We’ll drink to you at 7.30 in the morning 🙂 🙂 🙂 xxx
Dear Jen I am so proud of you. You have been on a very rough journey that l can only get a glimpse of all you have gone through.
You have gone through with so much strength.and the pain must be horrific.
I will be ringing that bell with you tomorrow. I really would love to see the celebration. Your next job could be the town cryer. Love you lots Elsie xxxx
Hello! I just found your blog through twitter, and having finished the same set of treatments over the last 12 months I’m really just dropping by to say: I hear ya. Also, I did find that the radiation burn worsened quite dramatically after the end of treatment (I also had a bad one), so watch out for that. But when it’s done, it’s done, so I wanted to share that good news in case it helps over the next two weeks.
Leaving treatment is the strangest feeling. The woman who came out of radiation before me was weeping, and when I finished I understood why. It’s a huge journey. Good luck tomorrow and with everything that comes next.
Your blog is fantastic.
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Good Luck Jenny, still got the sense of humour as always, such a brave brave lady, an inspiration to all.
ring the hell out of that bell girlfriend.
Well precious girl, ring dem bells hard and long you deserve it, how wonderfully brave you have been and an inspiration to all, I can’t wait to see you in March for my class, here’s wishing you a speedy recovery from your burns, I once looked after a lady with horrendous burns from radio therapy and I can imagine how you must feel…all my very best love and laughter with hugs…Rosa
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Congrats and heal well! It sounds dreadful, I hope that you start feeling the healing pretty soon.
Wonderful news Jen and hope all heals up soon. You are such an inspiration. Don’t know how Adm will go with his radiation for throat cancer. He has to wear a mask which he thinks is cool but he is already quite tired and still trying to keep work/ business going. Fortunately he has someone to help out and hopefully take over while having treatment. Lots of love. God bless