My 1st Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy Sessions

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

So I had returned back to my parents on Sunday night after spending the weekend at home with my family to find 2 letters from UHCW (University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire).

One was telling me that my Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy was starting a week Monday (33 sessions of radiotherapy , 5 days a week for 6 1/2 weeks plus 3 sessions of Chemo therapy which consisted of all day visits to the chemo ward).

The 2nd was an appointment on Wednesday with a nurse in the chemo unit to explain to me the procedures and what I had to do before going in.

I was pretty knackered after spending the weekend at home so just had a lazy day with my parents on Monday, then my mum took me over to home again early Tuesday morning.

Whilst at home on Tuesday I decided to take my car out for my 1st drive in about 9 weeks.
I only went up the lane a few times and checked that I could do an emergency stop OK and that the stiffness in my neck and shoulders wasn’t too restrictive, I was fine so in the afternoon I drove in to Shipston to go to my local Co Op.

It was lovely, it’s only a small store, I tend to go in there 2 or 3 times a week, all the staff know me and they all stopped to ask how I was, although I only spent Β£20 Rose did a home delivery for me πŸ™‚

Mum picked me up in the evening, I told her I had been driving and was thinking about driving myself to Coventry in the morning but she was having none of it.

Next morning we set of for Coventry, had the appointment with the chemo nurse where she talked me through the procedure, gave me a radiotherapy timetable and then told me I had to go for a blood test on the Friday, bit of a pain as it meant a 50 minute drive, 30 minutes finding somewhere to park, 50 minutes back home, just for a 5 minute blood test, I was used to this by now though and my mum still insisted on driving.

I spent the weekend at home again, my mum picked me up Sunday evening and Monday morning we headed off for my 1st chemo session and 1st radiotherapy session – she left me there and headed of back home

The chemo was a doddle.
I had a nice comfy reclining chair, my book, phone and a few other bits and pieces. They fitted a canula, flushed it then I was on water for an hour before starting the chemo which was about 4 hours.

They bought me what looked like 5 cardboard hats, a sheet of paper and a pen. Told me the hats were for peeing in and I had to make a note of how much pee I peed when peeing, I had to do this every hour.

Fortunately the bag my chemo was in was attached to a trolley on wheels and I just had to wheel it with me when going to the loo.

About 3 o’clock a guy from the radiotherapy team came to see me and to speak to the nurses about when I would be finished and they said I just needed another 50 minutes.

The Chemo bag was empty, they then hooked me up to more water and a nurse came and had a chat to me about medication – anti sickness medication in particular, I was given 2 or 3 different things including what they called the Rolls Royce of anti nausea medicine, 3 days woth of massive pills that I could dissolve in water and have through my PEG – a lot of fuss I thought

Within the hour my old porter mate Keith came and wheeled me along for my 1st Radiotherapy session, although I was walking OK they still liked to push me around in a chair πŸ™‚

I got there, was introduced to the team and my Mask.

They gave me a quick rundown of what would happen took me in to the Radiotherapy treatment room and let me lay on the table for a minute.
Next it was the mask fitting, not a nice experience as I’m claustrophobic, especially when they start fixing it to the table and tightening it – boy was it tight πŸ™

They just left it a few seconds undid me again, let me have a walk round then asked if I was ready

Not really I said, but Knew I had no choice.

They asked if I wanted music on, I said yes so they started a CD player before strapping me down again, lining everything up, asking if I was ready then leaving the room to start the machine.

As it was my 1st session the machine had to run a cycle of alignment 1st which was about 5 minutes, it then paused for about 10 seconds before the treatment started, I had my eyes shut throughout.

The machine stopped and 2 of the team came in talking as they were walking to me, stopped near, lowered the machine, me asked if I was OK then started unstrapping me.

Those few seconds of hearing them entering the room, walking across to me, stopping for the table to lower, asking if I was OK before unstrapping me were the worst bit about the whole experience.

The next day I went straight to the radiotherapy waiting room, this was a bit of a pain as the machines were often running late, having to be reset, would break down, etc. It meant we had to get there a good 30 minutes before my appointment time (due to parking) and sometimes the appointment was an hour late, I had been warned about this previously so always took a book with me.

Fortunately there was very little delay on my 2nd session

I told the team about how I didn’t like hearing them at the end of the treatment and could they just get straight in, get me unstrapped before even saying anything. From then on, they were quiet as a mouse when coming in, didn’t say a word, and unstrapped me before even lowering the table – They were great, it made all the difference.

On the Wednesday, I had my treatment as usual then had an appointment with the oncology team (these would become weekly appointments for the whole time I was having treatment) She checked my mouth over gave me loads of creams. sachets, pills, mouthwashes, etc.

I told her I was fine but she said “you won’t be”

I laughed it off because I’d had my 1st chemo session, 3 lots of radiotherapy and was feeling the best I’d felt for a long time

Thursdays session was the best yet, I got there 30 minutes early but was called straight in, had just a treatment radiotherapy session (as machine didn’t need lining up, resetting or anything) and was back on the way home within 10 minutes.

This is a Doodle, what’s all the fuss about, I thought – But then Thursday afternoon I wasn’t feeling too good so went to bed early having nothing to eat.

My cancer story continues here… Radiotherapy – What’s all the fuss about – I soon found out

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