At the base of my post the other day, I said that I will definitely be having stereotactic radiotherapy, assuming that a full body scan confirms the size of my tumour, and that there are non anywhere else (they have done a lot of scans, so I don’t think they’ll be expecting to find anything new) …. this is essentially a baseline scan, and then I think will be repeated around every 3 months, although they said could be spread out more if periods of stability are good (so previously, I was told NED (no evidence of disease), but people with secondaries seem to say NEAD (no evidence of active disease)).
I’ve had a few MRI scans, so I thought I was prepared for this one, even though I knew it would be a lot longer than previous ones (an hour or so was the information given). So I had clothes with no metal, my earrings were out, easy kick off shoes, etc. :
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Very nice team, who called me in at 6.10pm (my appointment time). We quickly went through the paperwork (no risk of death on this form!), put my items in the locker, and I think was getting onto the machine not long after, I’d say 6.25pm latest. I hadn’t really registered that I would be strapped in to this extent (this isn’t me, but this is similar – my head was the other way up, my knees and below I think were free, and I had a lovely mirror over my face so I could see my mouth/nose, and down my body).
The ear plugs went in, the headphones on with some 70s disco (I was offered a choice, and just asked for something poppy!), and in I went. I spent the next 60-80 minutes been shunted backwards and forwards, with various beeps and bangs surrounding me, and frequently having to follow the instruction “breath in, breath out, and hold…”. Probably around halfway through my shoulder started to hurt, and the whole process tried my patience quite somewhat… ended up with tears sliding out of my eyes with about 10-15 minutes going (I was told I should have pressed the buzzer, but to be honest, just wanted it completed, but maybe next time I’ll ask for a halftime break! This was my face afterwards… (the time as I left the room was 7.50pm). I don’t know if it was the stress, the reality that this is now my life, or too much time to think (been keeping myself busy and distracted with work, friends and house stuff!
To be honest, it’s a small price to pay for keeping the cancer at bay, but will be thinking what can do to make the process easier next time – think I need talk radio – I love Kate Bottley (and her approach to life), so maybe Radio 2: Good Morning Sunday will help, or maybe some of those Audible books I’ve not let listened to! Terrible night’s sleep afterwards, but made it to Yogalates this morning (stretch out those old age areas of my body – knees, shoulder, back), and then into work for some useful meetings!
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.