I’m a quarter of the way there! After a week where I basically spent the bulk of each day at the hospital, I have completed five of my 20 radiotherapy sessions. Oh yes. We are motoring. I’ve also seen an oncology consultant, had my Herceptin chemo drip, and an ECG. I am on first name terms with a scarily large number of the staff of the St Luke’s Cancer Centre, now I’m there so much.
And do you know what? It’s fine, really it is. Everyone who’s been through similar says the radio ga ga is a walk in the park compared with Big Bad Chemo, and they are right. It’s painless. It doesn’t make you feel like you’re dying, or make you vom for days on end, for a start. The worst bit is the logistics, and the relentlessness of it.
Every weekday, after nursery and school drop off, I get to the hospital, park, check in, get the attractive rear-fastening (ie not concealing in any way) robe on, wait for between ten and 60 minutes, get called into the rads room, get my right boob out while chatting about the weather, lie on my back on a platform with my right arm in a very awkward position above my head, and get drawn on. Two radiotherapists line the machine up, muttering numbers at each other while bright green beams criss-cross my torso. Then I lie very still for a few minutes while the radiation thing emits a high-pitched apocalyptic sort of noise and rotates around me to ensure all the scar tissue is zapped. (Just in case there is a pesky cancer cell hiding in there, waiting to pounce.) And then it’s all over. Simples.
I haven’t had any skin soreness yet (my mummy sent me loads of very gentle calendula stuff from Weleda as I can’t use perfume or shower gel or lotions or deodorant or anything around the breast and armpit), although I am starting to feel a tad fatigued. I’m doing a great visualisation: when The Noise starts, I imagine one of those little silver indoor sparklers, like a mini magic wand, just sort of having a bit of a dust round but leaving all healthy tissue alone. Like Nanny Plum from Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. Or something.
The consultant I saw originally had listened to my request for appointments that fitted in with the kiddies, and they are all at around 10.20am. I’m really glad I opted out of work this month because there honestly is no time to do anything other than the most basic laundry/food/dishwasher admin before and after the appointments, what with nursery and school runs.
It was all a bit crap on day one, Monday, for a bit, as I asked for a later appointment on Tuesday so I could go to DD’s first sports day. The only other appointment they could offer was 2.30 – ie about the time I need to be thinking about heading for school pick-up. I said I couldn’t do either. They said it had to be one or the other. I was anxious and resistant anyway, and was reduced to tears. A lunchtime appointment magically appeared.
So on Tuesday morning, me and DH sat on primary school benches on a sunny school field, watching DD and the rest of reception, year one and year two, dressed in the colours of their respective house teams, running their tiny socks off. DD, who has a bit of a reputation for bursting into tears at school events (which makes me feel a curious mixture of distress, dismay, empathy, annoyance and guilt), did the egg and spoon race rather hampered by holding her ever-patient teacher’s hand, but by the obstacle race she was confident enough to just run alongside her teacher.
Me and DH also took part in the parents’ races. We were both in the latter half of the field (which will come as far from a total shock to anyone who has admired my built-for-comfort form, of course), and much to my surprise I was quite disappointed. There’s something about school which brings out a hitherto-hidden competitive streak in me. I really wanted to win, and I really wanted DD’s house to win. DH was a particularly poor loser, saying afterwards regarding his fellow ‘athletes’: ‘Most of this lot are probably used to scarpering from a stolen car, away from the police and over a six foot hedge.’ Dreadful slander, but if you knew DD’s school, you’d just nod and agree, frankly.
Anyway, it was great to feel healthy and cheerful enough to do another Normal Mum thing like being at and taking part in sports day. And another really lovely thing has, rather more unexpectedly, happened this week, too: I’ve been shortlisted for another blogging award! Yay!
This time it’s the Blogger of the Year category in the Lovedbyparents‘ 2011 awards, sponsored by Virgin Hot Air Balloons. (The hot air reference is in no way a hint as to the quality of the blogs, natch.) I’m one of ten finalists chosen by this fab parenting website, and I know from reading many of the others that competition is seriously stiff. So PLEASE vote for me!!! And do feel free to spread the word to family and friends and colleagues. Voting is only open for one week, from today (8 July) to Friday 15th July, so get your skates on, Team Pinchy!
In the meantime, we’re off to see Take That at Wembley tomorrow night, along with the entire female thirtysomething population of the country. (Seriously, practically everyone I know has gone/knows someone who has/is going, including the ECG guy today, which was a bit weird, having a chat about Gary Barlow while topless). I gather many of the yummy mummies in the audience have been drinking PINTS OF WINE, and then flashing their boobs at Robbie et all. I obviously won’t be doing this, because it will quite literally stop the show, but I might treat myself to a half pint of sauvignon to celebrate a Good Week. Bottoms up.