It’s a week now since I began radiotherapy and I’m delighted to tell you that it’s not nearly as arduous as some of the other treatment I’ve had. In fact as I wrote to a friend yesterday, compared to chemo, it’s an absolute doddle. The worst thing, for me, is the sight of the machine. With the board and arm rests, it does, (at least to my overactive imagination), look a bit like a modern day torture chamber.
This is not exactly like machine G, (the one I go to), but it’s similar. The table with the arm rests is adjustable and goes back and forth as well as up and down and the round bit of the machine rotates all around.
The first appointment takes much longer than the rest because the good folk of the department make sure they get all the measurements correct and they spend time lining you up and adjusting you and the machine every which way, until they are sure they’ve got it right.
Each time I go, they mark me up with felt pens, around the tattoo points and measure me with set squares and go through the measurements with one another before the “zapping” begins. None of this hurts. The people in the department are lovely and are very helpful.
You get lots of helpful advice. After surgery, you are exhorted to do your physio exercises so that you don’t have anything horrible like a frozen shoulder; and also because you need to be able to put your arms comfortably above your head and keep them there, (hence the arm rests), whilst you have radiotherapy. That’s all very well. My left arm, (treatment side) is absolutely fine, but I have tendonitis on my right side, so when the radiographer told me, “you can put your arms down now,” I thought, well, you say that….. and had to use my left arm to take my right out of the rests and bring it back down to my side! What a wreck! You are also told to use bath and deodorant products that do not contain metals, and to moisturise your skin to keep in as good a condition as possible. This is because of the potential side effects. Radiotherapy can cause skin redness, (like sunburn), so it’s best to look after your skin as well as you can in order to minimise the risk.
Radiotherapy is usually given 5 days out of seven, so usually is Monday to Friday. This week is different for me as the machine is being serviced so I had yesterday and today off and will be going in tomorrow for the next zapping.
The end is in sight. My final radiotherapy appointment is on the 22nd, so nearly there.
Hope things are good wherever you are,