Irradiated

The first of 17 radiotherapy sessions is done. Nothing exploded, skin didn’t melt and I gained no interesting superpowers. Lilah suggested that a good superpower to have from this could be ‘not getting sick anymore’. When I told her that this was exactly what the machine did, she was both surprised and delighted. Two minutes later she demanded that instead, it should make it so I didn’t die. I suspect this little fun game dug into her fears.

I turned up just before my appointment time and unlike last time, the little electronic timetable read ’82 minute delay’. One of their machines had broken down and all the appointments were shifted to the other. The waiting area was hot, dingy and full of unradiated customers. Luckily for me I live a 5 minute walk from the hospital so I popped home for a cuppa, wash the dishes and was back after 82 minutes.

When they called my name, I was led through to the machine room through what I can only describe as a cattle gate built by Ikea. Adding to the rural ambience was a giant photograph of a farm in idyllic countryside. Probably trying to draw your attention from the radiation warning sign just next to it.

I was a bit worried that because I had lost 2 kilos since last time that my boob mould wouldn’t fit and I’d have to do that whole process again. Seems I lost the weight in my knees though because it was all fine. All strapped into the mould and the three technicians spent 10 minutes getting the table and machine in just the right position, to the millimetre. The more precise, the less of my lung they hit and the more of the tumour bed they get.

After they were satisfied, off they went to their protected room. To be extra sure I’m in the right place they gave me an x-ray. What’s a few more blasts of radiation between friends? Then the radiotherapy beams began. There’s no sensation, no burning feeling. There’s no sense that anything is happening at all. There’s a buzzing similar to that of the MRI but other than the surreal sound of the Easy Lover by Phil Collins being blasted, there’s not much noise.

Five minutes later, it was done. I’m was up, clothes on and out the door. Only 16 more sessions and the treatment is completely finished. It’s been a slightly limbo like existence in the last few weeks. Each day that comes now takes me one step closer to the finish line.