This time last week I was still trying to process that ‘active treatment’ had finished... hence the little video of ringing the ‘End of Treatment’ Bell (and a few pics if you click through)… thanks to Karen who came with me – I really wasn’t sure how I’d feel – a little bit emotional, but mostly (as throughout treatment) a bit ‘what just happened, did that happen to me?’:
Radiotherapy staff are lovely, but the going in EVERY day and lying in an odd position (hips to the right, arm up on the left, feet wedged on an uncomfortable metal platform) whilst you get tugged about by the staff. If it all goes to plan, you’re in and out in 15-20 minutes, but it didn’t always go to plan. Often I would hear an extra set of footsteps coming in! Once again I took in chocolate biscuit cake for the staff… then popped home for a Magnum ice cream (not champers unfortunately – still not feeling massively like alcohol!)..
I then had to head off to Stepping Hill Hospital for an appointment with my surgeon. Was happy to run into a friend there, and got lots of cheers/hugs from the staff for having finished radiotherapy (before I had to take my t-shirt off for the, ahem, ‘gown’:
Didn’t get to see my surgeon, so a little bit weird being poked and prodded by someone new, but the most important thing is that they can’t feel anything to worry about – so it’s now my job until August when I have my ‘one year mammogram’ (diagnosed 30 Aug 17) to keep an eye on everything.
Since last week there’s been a whole lot of sleeping going on (some poor night’s sleep, but thank you Netflix for keeping me company), interspersed with seeing a few friends, working on a bid for Macmillan re social media/cancer, and decluttering. I officially returned to work last Friday, although I’m on leave for the next couple of days, back in the office Thursday… although I’m not expecting to go in much over the summer and have a whole host of leave to take (and a holiday in Porto to look forward to).
Thanks to friends who have come and helped with kitchen unpacking, tip runs, and building furniture… along with the ongoing support online. My dream of having a decluttered house is almost there (7 small areas + the garage to go)… although I still have ‘too many’ books (if there’s such a thing), and my cousin is coming to help see if my wardrobe needs any streamlining. I’ll blog about hair, prosthetics, and hormone treatment at some point too…
Still trying to work out what ‘the new normal’ is, but oncologist warned me that skin will get worse for fortnight post-treatment – I’ve got a ‘lovely’ red square, it’s like having my own radiator under my arm, and small bits of peeling skin. He also warned me to expect fatigue for at least the next 2 months, but I’m still looking forward to seeing A Space for Sharing on Friday, family on Saturday, and attending Engage Researchers’ Academy next week… oh, and on 1pm, 9th June, am going on the Rum-Runner’s Revenge by the Liquorists – usually £60, but we have a spare ticket going for £40 if you want to join us!
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.