Today I’m in the Beatson again for a scan. It’s to plan my radiotherapy treatment which will start in a couple of weeks unless I find a cure for cancer before then. 😀
The receptionist is really nice to me. Too nice actually as she makes me almost cry immediately by asking me how I am… I really I wish I’d slept more last night as I’m feeling a bit emotional.
I’ve had a funny morning. Indy’s nursery were having a fundraiser for the Macmillan cancer charity. My kids are desperate to win the ‘guess the sweetie’ jar that’s been on display for the last few weeks and have sunk quite a lot of money into making guesses. Today is the big day we find out the winner!
The staff at the nursery are lovely and they know what’s happening to me so have been really supportive. The staff room was full of delicious cakes and parents all sitting around chatting about school catchment areas and plans for the weekend. Insanely I couldn’t shake this melancholia and felt quite alone – I had this terrible urge to tell these people I didn’t know that I was heading up to the hospital afterwards to start planning my cancer treatment. What an inappropriate conversation starter. 😂
Every time someone put a note into the cancer charity’s donations box I felt like crying.
I’m just feeling a bit sorry for myself today and this is something I am trying not to indulge in as it’s not helpful. Once I start with the maudlin thoughts though it’s hard to shake them and they spoil my day. Feeling tired does bring it on like a chronic mental syndrome.
So the reason I stayed up far too late last night was that I finally started reading the JustGiving pages that my friends have set up for me. I had a quick look 2 weeks ago and it reduced me to a blubbering wreck so I have been avoiding social media since… But once I started reading all the messages and seeing all the donations it just made me feel so happy and hopeful. It’s a total antidote to the ever present horror of my situation. I’m so overwhelmed with people’s generosity. Words don’t cover it. I feel like this fund is giving me a ‘get out of jail free’ card in my back pocket. One that unfortunately I’ll probably need to use sooner rather than later.
I found out recently that the cancer is back at the site where they removed it last year. This is the biggest set back yet as I know the metastasis in my lungs can be removed but this pelvic area is inoperable.
They can however nuke it with photon beams and this will probably shrink it and may even get rid of it entirely if I’m lucky. So this is why I’m here at the Beatson again today. To map my insides so they can plan what way to direct the high strength x-rays so that they spare my organs and zap the tumours. I’m feeling highly anxious about it as I know there’s a whole heap of nasty and permanent side effects that come along with pelvic radiation and I am feeling so well right now I hate the thought of damaging my body.
There is a new generation of radiotherapy equipment that hasn’t yet made it to Scotland but is set to revolutionise treatment in England. The MR Linac just opened for business days ago at the Marsden hospital in London. It’s an MRI scanner and an x- ray machine rolled into one so it allows doctors to see the tumour and nuke it with radiation at the same time. More precision and less collateral damage.
I really wish I was getting my treatment on one of these new machines but I realise I’m pretty lucky to be getting the treatment at all. The doctor who is mapping the plan of attack on my body is from Jamaica and he tells me that over there they don’t yet have the VMAT technology used to deliver radiotherapy here in the Beatson.
I lie very still as the CT scanner whirs over me. This is my 7th CT scan in the last 16 months but I’m feeling a bit more on edge with this one. Looking at the different textures and colours of plastic around me actually calms and distracts me from the chronic self pity prickling behind my eyes.
But afterwards when the nice radiographer asks me how I am it’s like bursting a water balloon and it comes flooding out. He asks if I’m frightened of getting radiotherapy but it’s not even that, it’s just that I feel so bloody sorry for myself!
He tries to reassure me by telling me how good the VMAT machines are. He says he was so impressed by seeing his mother treated on them that he gave up his office job, went back to university and got himself a job as their operator. I am too frightened to ask him how his mum is now…
He’s obviously really passionate about his job and explains how they line the patients up in exactly the same position for every session of radiotherapy. They use laser beams and tiny pinprick tattoos on the skin to do this. He has even tattood himself to show patients how minuscule and easy it is. Sure enough five minutes later I am the proud owner of 3 pinprick tattoos. A souvenir of radiotherapy that I’ll get to keep for life. That and the vaginal dilators. More on that horror probably at a future date.
I am hoping that I’ll find something in the next couple of weeks that will airlift me out of this situation. Next week I will get the blood test back that tells me whether I am a match for the TIL therapy trial in the NIH in America. But even if I’m not I will continue scouring the planet for a cure.
Christy won the jar of sweets – he guessed 90 and there were 91. He is so delighted and has this message for the nursery: