Saturday, 11 June 2011
A treatment update part 2
I have now officially finished active treatment. I had 16 radiotherapy sessions and I've been started on two years of Tamoxifen.
The last few weeks have not been without their dramas though - I never do things by half! Less than a week after being discharged from hospital I had a very serious fall whilst struggling up some steps using the walking sticks. I fell quite a distance onto concrete outside our house with my treatment side taking almost the whole impact. The end result was 4 broken ribs and excruciating chest pain, plus I was scared I done damage to my mastectomy site but it turned out that I had two broken ribs and a haematoma on my lung directly underneath. I was given Tramadol to help with the pain and the following Monday I started my daily expeditions to the other side of the county for radiotherapy. I am enormously grateful to Go North Devon and the North Devon Cancer Care Trust who fund a subsidised service that collects patients from home and drives to the hospital direct. I couldn't have managed to get to treatment at Exeter very easily without this service. We live on the opposite side of the county and it would have been very expensive to get there using our own car. I would leave home around 1.45pm and not get home again until about 7pm - a very long day!
The first week was nothing short of agony because of my ribs and on day four for some reason the radiographers couldn't get me lined up properly. It took far longer than normal, was very painful and reduced me to tears. The staff were nothing short of magnificent; they were so upset that they were hurting me when they didn't want to and during the course of my treatment showed me a huge amount of compassion and care. A brilliant example of the NHS at its best.
Apart from a small patch of radiation burn the treatment has gone pretty much without any problems - a nice change for me! As the three weeks came to an end I was getting more and more exhausted though. Nothing really prepares you for the daily grind of treatment 5 days a week and by the end I'd had enough both physically and mentally. My body demonstrated this by presenting me with a 4 day gastric bug just a week after treatment was over. I kissed goodbye to much of the weight I had managed to put back on so I'm back on the food supplements again. I am happy to report though that my mobility is greatly improved. I'm now only using one walking stick and that's when I go out, at home I'm now pretty much managing without any additional support.
Physically I am over the worst now, emotionally though things are completely different and I'll talk about that in my next entry.