After last week’s #Take1 for radiotherapy, this Tuesday we went for #Take2. I had to go back into the CT scanner on Thursday (didn’t need to see the Dr), and new measurements were taken, and then the planning has to be done, so they couldn’t start that day.
Everyone who’s done chemotherapy says this is a ‘walk in the park’ compared to chemo, although one of the staff in Maggie’s (and various others who have been before) – be prepared for THE FATIGUE! Hence why I’m officially off sick at the moment (again)….
Julie, my lovely cleaner (best self-care £ I spend every week), said this is the first week that I actually look tired in the whole time she’s seen me throughout treatment – especially round the eyes… and yes, I am!
So, with some trepidation, back into the Christie, back round to ‘Suite 4’ (people are each assigned to a numbered suite – guess it helps with the familiarity, although they’re all pretty much the same!).
It felt like a realllly long session – and it was – about an hour (rather than 20ish minutes anticipated). Kept wondering if I was moving, or what was going on, but the radiotherapists said it’s quite common to have a lot of set-up time, especially in the first few days!
After they disappeared in/out of the room several times… a piece of the machine moved/made sounds that had never done so before (well, not with me on it anyway!), and we were finally ‘off’! Here’s my VERY relieved face as I headed out down the corridor – there’s a couple of walls between the radiation room, and where the staff monitor the imaging, so they don’t get excessive radiation – zig-zagging out of the room, down the corridor, and back round to the changing room.
At some point I was determined to get a selfie with the machine – maybe another pic to have at the end of treatment – though there’s also another treatment bell!
This time I was in Suite 12 (behind the door to The Christie Private Healthcare – just the same!) … but with same calm, smiling, ‘please stay very still now’ staff. This did take a while to set up again, and after they disappeared to ‘quickly’ take the ‘checking image’ (on positioning), I was left lying there listening to the music for 4-5 tracks (explicit lyrics on one song – wonder who’s CD that was!) and started to wonder if everyone had just gone home, whilst resisting scratching the bits of my face that were now itching like mad…
They did come back in, with an extra (more senior, I think) member of staff, and was asked to sit back up, and reset – then hips went to the right, whilst other bits of my body were put into shape … and eventually we got there. They said don’t be surprised if it’s 40-45 minutes, rather than 15… so..
This appointment took about 40ish minutes maybe, so faster than the day before. We did have to do a re-set though, and the senior member of staff came back in. Maybe I’m just a difficult case … but we got there!
This was a late one – 6.30pm (and I was clearly the last of the day) – very weird going into the hospital at that time – my usual entrance was closed so had to walk the long way round (was told a shortcut to get out!)…. got to the reception desk by 6.25pm, and they were apparently just waiting for me, so I went straight in!
And today – we managed to ‘get it in one go’ – so I was out, and had ordered my takeaway (pizza, in case you’re wondering) *still no fully working kitchen, so I think we were done in about 20 minutes 🙂 They had popped out for ‘the first image’, and then I heard the machine move behind my head, then it rotated, whirred and beeped (sounds quite like someone pushing a bell push for a long time), before they popped in to check the final line up – and drew some more lines on my scar area!
I asked about the ‘beep’ I could hear as they left the room, as I was trying to work out if that was a manual push or some kind of clever automatic ‘everyone but the patient has left the room’. It’s a manual push, and I was shown that at the end of the ‘zag’ there’s another button with some kind of laser beam across, which if anyone walks across it, the radiotherapy machine automatically stops any radiation – so that staff can safely walk in/out of the room.
As I was leaving, managed to get a shot of the imaging area (no people, no paperwork visible) – all of which is behind a passcode locked door into the waiting room:
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.