Week One of Radiation Finished – I am Radiant!

Life is good doing the normal things one does daily and not thinking about being sick or treatment or anything……. then BANG back into the hospital system and to being poked and prodded by wonderful medical people.   I think starting radiation was a big shock to my system.  I started on Tuesday this week and on the Monday I was feeling really low about it and quite emotional.  There was a bit of moist eyes happening on the night before and on the way to my first treatment in St Luke’s.  The strange thing about it is I don’t know why I was emotional, I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t dreading it, I don’t know really my emotions took over me and I felt as emotional as when I driving to last chemo!  Think my ole body is a bit of an emotional roller coaster at the moment maybe due to the drugs Tamoxifen which I started taking and will have to for next 5/10 years.  Basically the drug changes your whole system inside,  my cancer was hormone driven and the drug fights too much hormones being generated in my body!

First day at Luke’s lovely place, lovely surrounds and lovely people.  I had to have a verification test on my first day.   They were verifying that the physics on the readings and measurements they had done the last time had not changed.  I had to lie on the machine with arms over my head (this was very uncomfortable as my arm is still very sore at times).  Loads of measurements taken, 0.5mm to the left, 97mm to the right, up on the chair 5mm, over 2mm it’s quite amazing.  I had already got three tiny pin prick tattoos to mark the spot.  The lovely nurse marked me again on my upper chest area close to the chest bone and put a plaster over it and told me that the plaster (see through) has to stay there for the duration of the radiation.    All measurements were in order then back to the waiting room to await my first treatment got called quite quickly.  In again stripped to the waist on the chair arms above the head and they were fussing over me (always around three staff nurses during radiation) they set it all up then leave the room when the radiation starts.  You are left there and the machine slowly moves around you I always have my eyes closed so not really sure what is happening.  Either way it is not in the least bit painful and the only discomfort is having the arms over my head.

When in the loo afterwards saw myself in the mirror and noticed my lovely new target practice marks……….Jaysus could they not have made the X’s just a tad smaller :-)   I think on reflection I would have preferred black as that would match more of my clothes :-) I asked them about it the next day as I honestly thought they were having a laugh saying it had to stay there for the six weeks – they said yes it really does have to stay there the other alternative was three more tiny pin prick tattoos and not mad into blue freckles.  I was quite put out about those stupid X’s – now I couldn’t care less – I mean whats a few X’s between friends :-)

Havent met any new people yet you don’t really have time to sit around and chat (unfortunately) anyone in the waiting room are usually men and they don’t talk they just stare into space. It’s very hard to see the young kids in the hospital bald and in wheelchairs. There was one little fellah on my first day and he was in a wheelchair sitting beside his Dad he was crying and the look of utter desperation on the Dad’s face was just awful, he was asking the nurse if he could bring him out for a while he was doing anything he could to try cheer his son up, it was heartbreaking.

Had four radiation sessions so far this week so that’s week one over with which feels great, five more weeks to go (25 more sessions) and then that’s the radiation trip out-of-the-way.  So far have had no side effects I have been lathering on the E45 cream both front and on my back as the radiation goes through your body and out the other side.  Main side effect is fatigue which wont kick in this early, I mean more fatigue, drug fatigue, chemo fatigue, radiation fatigue, sleepless nights fatigue – I could dress an army with all these fatigues!   The other one is burning of the skin, this wouldn’t usually happen until a couple of weeks into it, it can either be like bad sun burn or really actually burnt and they would have to give you special creams for it.  I am hoping that I will just get it mildly cooked!

With this lovely weather we are having I asked the doctor about wearing high factor and being able to go out in it.  He said absolutely not, nothing has to touch that area except E45 cream and that I really should be wearing a polo neck as can not have sun on my neck either – he said it with a smile and said of course you can’t in this weather but you have to protect the area.  So out with the scarves (nice cotton ones so they are cool) to keep the sun away from the radiated area.  Its nothing to do with cancer its to ensure that as that area is getting burned by radiation you dont want sunburn on top of it.   Went to the beach yesterday afternoon with the girls after treatment and donned the ole scarf and t’was no bother at all.

Through all of this people have been saying that you get to appreciate life more and I sort of took it with a pinch of salt.  It is so amazingly true though, I have this amazing inner gratitude of being given a chance.  I don’t sweat the small things anymore (to be honest I never really did anyhow).  If I am invited out in the middle of the week for dinner like I was with a great friend of mine Dairiona I say yes that would be lovely.  This time last year it would have been too much hassle – not now I go anywhere I am asked and enjoy the company of others so much more now its really hard to explain.  When out to dinner on Wednesday I bumped into the lovely Pat a truly wonderful lady who I went through chemo with and I have popped in a few times since if I am in the hospital on a Thursday, was so great to see her out an about and enjoying the laugh with her friends!  Go Pat!!!   I brought the kids down to Sandycove last weekend and I was like a tourist on speed and was so enjoying the beach, went and checked out the 40ft and then we climbed Joyce Tower and enjoyed the view from the top.  This was topped off by an impromtu dinner at Dymphna and Ian’s house along with Karen and I had a lovely evening just enjoying the fun and company of friends.

Going to my photographer buddy Elaine Laverty’s wedding on Friday can’t wait its a 50′s wedding and its gonna be fun fun fun am going on my todd I find this fun too get to meet so many new people!

Good things that happened this week

  • The sun shined everyday
  • First week of Radiation ticked off and complete
  • Lovely Dinner out
  • Lovely Day on beach with the girls and my folks (thanks Dad for bringing them swimming)
  • A cancer buddy Joan got the good news after chemo that the tumour had disappeared!
  • Enjoying a lovely lazy Saturday doing nada, zip, zip, zilch

Thats it folks – grab life by the balls!

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8 Responses to Week One of Radiation Finished – I am Radiant!

  1. Mary says:

    Well done you. I’ve just shed a tear watching that video. Emotions emotions!!!

  2. Lucie says:

    Great to read the blog again and glad this week went so well. We all miss you in Sweden this summer (just booking Mark and Maria in for the summer dinner) but can see you and the kids are having a ball on the beach so we will have loads of dinners instead whenever you make it over. Take good care and if you need some marabou or anything!! give me a shout have a good Sunday, love to Jonas and the girls, Lucie, Peter and kids x

  3. Anne Cunninghm says:

    Well done Dee, another milestone for you and another lovely written piece in your blog. You are amazing :-) xx

  4. Michelle says:

    Brilliant as usual. Keep up the good work. M xx