Today 5th January 2017 I went to my radiotherapy planning session which already seems so early! I am only on my 4th round of chemo. I know that you get 4 weeks off after chemo but I only seem to have 3 weeks and then I’m straight into radiotherapy.
I found the appointment very serious in which is was sat down and told how the radiation beams could potentially skim my lung and heart as the chest wall is curved and lazer beams are straight.
I was told my skin would turn pink or red and could potentially blister. I have seen results of radiotherapy and it really does shock me how red the area goes. I really hope I don’t suffer too much. I will have 15 rounds of radiotherapy and will feel very tired for a month or two afterwards.
I was dreading radiotherapy so much mainly due to seeing pics on Instagram of bright red skin. Luckily for me I was reassured by three lovely ladies I have made friends with on the Facebook forum. They went through it and told me it was a breeze compared to chemo.
This is the radiotherapy machine
It looks so scary but it’s not too bad (not like chemo!!) I drive to James Cook in Middlesbrough every day apart from weekends. I am writing this after my sixth session and so far it hasn’t been too bad. I haven’t felt any pain. I am only in around ten minutes. My skin sometimes feels tight and looks pink on a night.
For me it’s more the embarrassment of being around young male and female assistants with no top on, one breast missing and a tube hanging out of my chest. I’m in a cold room with lasers pointing all over me and I’m being drawn on and moved around by an electronic metal bed. I always feel vulnerable in a hospital gown, it reminds me of going down for surgery and feeling very much not in control.
I do think my skin will become more pink, I really hope it doesn’t blister. I have heard from friends I may get sore ribs. I’m applying cream and hoping for the best but it hadn’t been as bad as chemo and that’s something I’m really pleased with. I’ll be hit with extreme tiredness either during or after. My friend Christine said she was fine for ten days then it really hit her. It’s all a waiting game but I’ll update here later into my treatment.
Update 7th April 2016 –
I have now finished radiotherapy, I had 15 rounds and met some lovely ladies in the waiting room, one was a chemo nurse from my town who has now had to go through chemo! Oh the irony! another was a young woman who has had 3 brain tumours! my skin is a little pink and my ribs hurt a little if I sleep on my side.
I will always have to wear high sun factor on the chest area, I have been told my skin will become worse over the next week, you would think it was all over with the last one!
I was lucky enough to get my hickman line out during radiotherapy it was sore but not too bad. so I am now at the end of treatment and no tubes in me anymore. It is time to move on now. I had a free 1 hour coaching session on Skype today and it made me think that I could really benefit from more counselling to try and move on from all of this.
Update 17 April
Now about two weeks has passed since radiotherapy I’m much more sore and uncomfortable. This is a picture of my armpit below it feels tight and really hot like sunburn. It is so uncomfortable to wear a bra. Hopefully it will ease off soon.
This soon started to go much darker in colour and then it began to peel it was pretty bad. I was going away to Greece in two weeks so I hoped it would improve.
Luckily once it started to peel fresh skin emerged and with lots of cream it started to look back to normal just in time for my holiday phew!! Feels nice and smooth and back to normal now. It’s amazing how fast the body heals.
Radiotherapy done! ✅ another hurdle faced, on to the next one 😏