Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday - Part One

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I didn't know what to expect this morning as I have no idea how you make a mask for radiotherapy. I had visions of it involving papier mache and being very messy. But no - it was a strangely relaxing experience!

Which was good after the stress of trying to find somewhere to park. We had to queue up as usual until the man in the fluorescent coat allowed us in. In fact I had to nip out before that, while Nathan was still in the queue, as I was worried I'd miss my appointment.

The Cancer Centre is now in the new building and is really nice. I booked in at Reception, where I met one of my library customers! He told me he'd read the article and he was there because he has lymphoma. He was there for his chemotherapy appointment.

I went into Waiting Room B in the Radiotherapy Suite and sat on the swish designer purple seats. The walls are painted green - which is meant to be a restful colour. I wonder if they think of these things when designing hospitals. It was all very quiet and there was only one other person waiting.
I was called into a room by Pat, a senior radiotherapy technician, and she explained what they would be doing. She asked me to remove my top and lie on a bed. This was then raised and she prodded and poked me until I was in exactly the right position. She said I'd get used to being moved around like this over the next six weeks.

She then put a sheet of blue, thermoplastic mesh into hot water. "When it is ready we'll put it over your face, just think of it as a kind of facial treatment!" So three of them lifted it out of the warm water and placed it over my face, neck and shoulders, then pushed it into place round my eyes and nose. I could breathe okay as it was full of holes. It was lovely! It was warm and I had to lie there for four and a half minutes while it cooled and hardened. I loved it - it was like when you put on a mud face pack and then wait for it to go dry out and go hard. Very pleasant :-)

Then when the time was up, they all removed it carefully and hung it up to harden. There was my face looking at me.

Pat told me that I need to come back on Thursday (1st March) to have a further fitting so that they can tweak it to fit exactly, then I will have a CT scan with it in place and it will be marked where the radiotherapy needs to be aimed at. Then the treatment will probably start on 19th March.

She asked if they had decided about chemotherapy and I told her that I was back this afternoon to see Dr Gahir, so would probably find out then. She wanted to know if I'd been told about the feeding tube into my stomach, and I said yes. "Will it definitely happen?" I asked tentatively. She nodded. "We have to keep your weight up" she explained "or otherwise your shape may change and the radiotherapy will be in the wrong place." It seems my throat will be so sore that I won't be able to swallow much.

"Anyway" she said cheerfully "the side effects don't all happen on day one - they creep up on you gradually." With those comforting words we left.

We managed to get a parking permit though - it last for eight days and cost £4. Which is much better than paying £2 per day. Even though we are only visiting three times this week - it is still cheaper! We checked out where Ward 202 is - it is on the first floor, them came home for a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

Back later....

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