I had a fun filled, fantastic weekend.
I saw lots of friends and did lots of things. I even worked as a driver on sunday night to help out the boys with their club promotion stuff. For that, I am proud.
I went to the gym both saturday and sunday and worked really hard. For that, I am still sore and I suppose part of that soreness would be from yesterday’s effort of lasting from 2:30pm – 930pm at Soundwave Festival (which I wasn’t even intending on going to).
Today was my first day of Radiotherapy. This takes place at the Oncology Centre next to SJOG hospital. So lucky for me, its all very local – both to my home and the hospital where all my other doctors and treatments take place.
What is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation (a stream of high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, or electrons) to kill cancer cells by preventing them from reproducing. Other names for radiation therapy include radiotherapy or x-ray therapy. The radiation is delivered in a way that allows high doses to reach the tumour whilst avoiding surrounding healthy tissue, which limits unnecessary damage. Several different techniques can be used to deliver the treatment, depending on the type, size and location of the targeted tumour. Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments (such as chemotherapy or surgery), and can be delivered before, during or after these. The radiation therapy team chooses which technique or combination of techniques to use and when they will be delivered in order to give the most effective treatment for each individual patient. Most radiation therapy treatments are given in small doses every day over several weeks, in order to minimize side effects.
How does it work?
Normal tissue in the body is comprised of cells that grow and divide. This process is controlled by DNA strands within each cell, which contain the ‘code’ or instructions that determine that cell’s activity. Cancer cells grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells, as a result of changes in their DNA. Radiation breaks the DNA strands in cells, which prevents them from growing and dividing. Cells that are dividing most rapidly (such as cancer cells) are the most sensitive to radiation.
Radiation for me will be a course of five weeks monday to friday. I was given an appointment card which is to be brought in every day and placed into a plastic holder next to the receptionist. The card has my personal details and all my appointment times. (appointment times are written inside from each week, mon – fri) When my name is called, I then walk through to another area where there are several locker spaces all numbered. Each space has a blue robe inside a zip lock bag with patients name and given number on the front. I am number 61. Every visit I take my robe from number 61 slot remove all clothing from waist up and put my robe on. I was also issued a parking permit for the Oncology Center. That makes me feel like a real sick person. Priority to cancer patient parking. Ugh.
Next I go through with two radiotherapists to a small room with 2 huge machines. I then lay in place topless whilst these two people draw all over my chest with textas and push and shove my body whilst measure me with rulers till I am perfectly in position. They obviously need to be very precise as they need to target the exact same spot every day. The machines make a loud buzzing noise and it only goes for a few minutes each day, its more the measuring and stuff that takes the longest. I cannot feel anything and I will have no side effects yet, although when I am half way through treatment – around 2 weeks away, I will start to feel sensations of heat and sunburn, also unfortunately experience fatigue like during chemo again. Hopefully by the end of it, I won’t be too red/blistered as that can happen.
I went to a chemist after radiotherapy to buy some cuticle oil as my nails and finger tips are feeling dry, it cost $13.95 and as I brought it to the counter, the lady said ‘thats $13.95 thanks..’ then continued with.. ‘actually, I’ll take 15% off that for you, thats $11.85 sweetheart’. – My initial thought was, did she do that because she knew I was unwell? I thought that as all I had on my head today was a cap, no hair visible. Who knows, but hey.. I got it cheaper!?
I shall post up some more photos this week of my hair growth. I will do that as a weekly update and we will see how it progresses! Hair is starting to grow on my legs, arms and underarms very, very slowly but is definitely on its way. Not very exciting I suppose, seeing as body hair is pretty gross.. It’s more my head I am concerned about. Grow hair, GROW!!!