Greetings, one and all......and so the first full week of radiotherapy ends. What can I say about it? Not much, really. I choose my music, my chauffeur for the day arrives, we drive to the Royal Marsden, I book in, I get called, I give them my music, I get gowned up, they call me again, I go in, I confirm my name, dob and first line of my address, I get bolted down to the table, they zap me, they unbolt me, give me back my music, I get dressed and my chauffeur takes me home. Just to get a bit of excitement, on Thursdays my routine is now dental hygienist, radiotherapy, bloods and on Friday it's consultant and then radiotherapy. There's something comforting about the certainty of routine, isn't there? I don't need to think about too much - in fact, my most challenging decision is what music to listen to.
Talking of music, thank you for the suggestions I have had. This week I stuck mostly to classical music, with some Schubert, Mozart and Bach amongst others. On Tuesday, one of my radiographers said I could bring my iPod instead of a cd, as they have an MP3 connection, so I thought "Yippee! That gives me much more choice" - which it did on Wednesday but on Thursday I was in a different radiotherapy unit, as my machine was being serviced, so I gaily handed over my iPod only to find out that this unit didn't have an MP3 connection, so I had to listen to the CD that they provided - Take That, some unidentified female singer, then Travis......bearable, but not my choice! So on Friday, when I was in yet another unit, I took a CD with me to be sure of having my choice of music. It might sound as if I am making a really big deal out of choosing what to listen to during what is only about 15 to 20 minutes, but it's one of the few areas where I have any kind of control at the moment, so it is very important to me that I exercise that control. Control freak? Moi? Noooooooo!!
I have stayed remarkably side-effect-free so far: apart from getting tired more quickly and the skin on my neck starting to feel red and tight (eased by increased resting and slapping on E45 cream respectively). That's not bad after 8 sessions - the consultant had a good old peer down my throat yesterday (and yes, he did make me say "aaah" - I thought they only did that in films!) and said it looked fine. However, this morning I noticed that my throat was just starting to feel a bit tickly when I swallow and that there is now a faint metallic taste in my mouth, so perhaps this is the start of some of the side-effects. I know I will get them, so I am kind of prepared. That is not the same as saying I will take them in my stride, but I at least know what to expect.
In other news....well, there's not really much other news. Amy and Adam had some of their friends round on Wednesday evening to make inroads into the leftover meat from our bbq on Sunday evening. We now have two recycling boxes full of beer bottles and cans, so the recycling collectors are going to think we are a bunch of soaks in this house. Maybe I should stick a notice on it explaining that it was "Young People" who consumed it all :-) Needless to say, there was rather a lot of salad left over - seems green stuff and beer don't go that well together when you're in your teens and early twenties.
I don't have any treatment at the weekend and it's been really nice today not having to go to hospital but to be able to spend the day at home, doing weekend things: domestic bits and pieces, watching mindless evening tv, you know the kind of thing. Tomorrow we have been invited for lunch to our friends' home - we haven't seen them since my diagnosis, so it will be good to catch up with them and their children. Then on Monday it's back to the hospital routine. By this time next week I will have had 13 treatments and will be almost halfway through the course.
Oh, I know what I meant to write - I was listening to Desert Island Discs on Friday and Danny Baker was the castaway. He has recently returned to broadcasting after taking time off to have treatment for mouth and throat cancer and was talking about his treatment - but only a little because he doesn't really want to focus on it too much. One of the things he said that resonated with me was that he didn't ever feel or say that he was battling cancer but that his body was a battleground where the fight was between cancer and the doctors. I thought that was a perfect description, although I do think that there's a part for the "host" to play - by trying to do what the medics recommend and by trying to remain positive rather than just giving up. That's how it seems to me, although the staying positive thing can be difficult. This week has been good - no tears, no upset, no middle-of-the-night fretting. It might not continue to be like that if I start to feel the side-effects more and if the tiredness gets worse, but at the moment it's fine.
A big thanks to my chauffeurs for the week - Karen, Nick W, Sue, Nick T and Pat. Also to Celia, for dropping round a very tasty lasagne and to Christine for the coulis and sweet peas. Once more, I am humbled by how generous people are with their time and energies. Amy and Adam continue to keep me grounded by reminding me that I am still Mum and Neil continues to be amazing with his unstinting support and, above all, showing me all the time how much he loves me and that as far as he is concerned, I am still beautiful. I shall book the optician's appointment soon ;-p
Bedtime so it's over and out from me. I have been trying to remember what it was that happened and made me say to Neil "Oh, I must remember to put that in my blog!" and I just can't think what it is. Maybe it will spring into my mind at three o'clock in the morning and I shall have to dash downstairs and let you all know, ha ha!