Early Stages of Radiotherapy – The Respite Weeks

(To read my cancer story from the beginning start here – April / May 2018 – You Have Cancer)

If you have read my previous post you will know I have just finished my 1st chemo session and my 1st week of radiotherapy and had learnt my lesson that I really needed to eat a lot more (have more food through my peg).

One really good thing was I found out there was a nurse there who kept an eye on our mouths, skin condition etc. and whilst talking to her mentioned I was still having to see a nurse in Stratford every 3 or 4 days to change the dressing on my leg, she said it was silly seeing someone else and as I was going for my radiotherapy sessions every day for 7 weeks that she would do it for me (her room was between waiting room and treatment room)

This was absolutely brilliant and made things so much easier as I would either get there half hour early and she would sort me out or I would nip round to her after my sessions (no appointment, just turn up) she was a godsend.

Radiotherapy Sessions

Although I was still a bit groggy and my good leg was hurting because of my fall, the start of 2nd week of radiotherapy was a doddle.

I was almost used to the mask, they had nice music playing in the background, the machine was set fine, so I was in and out in less than 5 minutes.

I had a routine my now, knew the clunks the radiotherapy machine made, when it made them and how long it would be until the session would be over.

I always kept my eyes closed tight, started counting when the machine 1st started, then started counting again after the clunk that told me it was in position and ready to start.

Wednesday I had my usual appointment with my oncologist where again I said everything was fine, no mouth sores, no dry mouth, no dribbling, no pain, nothing.

She still gave me loads of stuff again and said I will need it soon.
From then on I had a nickname for her and referred to her as “my ghost of things to come”

Friday was the only blips that week.
1. Although I was having more fortisips I was still losing weight and also the swelling of my face was slowly going down, this was nice in a way, but it meant my mask was getting looser resulting in them having to re calibrate the machine.

This basically meant me having to lie in my mask for an extra 3 or 4 minutes whilst the machine realigned itself before having my treatment, effectively more than doubling the time I had to lie there in my mask

2. I had to bite on to a little tube which I wore under my mask during treatment.
The tube was made the same time as my mask and was basically a small 2cm long – 1cm diameter tube which they put a hot wax like substance on which I had to bite in to, to form an impression of my teeth – the idea being that this kept by mouth in the same position during treatment. It was tricky as I realy struggled to open my mouth wide enough to get the tube in but eventually they made it ok.

On the 2nd Friday of my treatment I must have bit it too hard as the wax (which was hard and brittle now) broke of during my session, I panicked a bit as I though I might swallow some but still had to keep perfectly still – After that I just had to keep the tube in my mouth which was a bit trickier with out the wax.

The weekend was a lot nicer

Week 3 was very similar, all was fine, usual Wednesday chat with my ghost of things to come then Friday not so good; 1st I had to go for a blood test ready for my 2nd phase of chemo on the Monday, 2nd the radiotherapy machine had to be re calibrated again (double time in the mask again)

My cancer story continues here – The Bad Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy Weeks »

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