Radiate: (Of light or heat) emitted in the form of Ray's or waves, (person) clearly emanate a strong feeling or quality through their expression or bearing.
This week has been exactly that, it radiated life, laughter, love, fun, pain and more. I had a visit from a wonderful overseas friend who has beamed a ray of light into my life like no other, you may or may not recognise her from photos that we have uploaded to our social media and of course the collage above. I spent the day doing something with her, her best friend, my friend and mum that I have never done in my life before and will most likely never do again, that day was full on and at the end of it I was in a decent amount of pain, but you just keep injecting yourself with your pain meds and you soldier on.
So my pain unfortunately has been getting increasingly worse, I have used more pain medication in the last 2 months than I have in the last 4 years of having cancer, our fears were confirmed when I ended up in hospital and scanned and the results showed that all my tumours are growing and that the Immunotherapy that we were paying thousands of dollars every 3 weeks for did not work.
So what now? Do I lie down and let this bastard take me or do I look at other options, hell to the yes I look at other options, there is no way am I going to let this thing just take me down without a fight, I have to admit I did have a moment (it was fleeting) where I did have a cry and a whinge and thought how much more of this can one person take? We just keep throwing everything at this cancer and it laughs in our faces, it takes our money, our time, my health, need I go on?
I am hoping I will be afforded the opportunity to say, that's enough now, I've done all that I can possibly do and that's enough, but the reality of it is, I will most likely have a massive tumour bleed, bleed out and die within minutes, there will most likely not be the need for a stay at home nurse like you see in the movies (that does happen though) or a bedside vigil where I get to speak wonderful words of wisdom to each of my loved ones, that's why I tell them every day what I want them to know, both good and bad.
Radiotherapy! You firstly have a planning scan a few days prior to treatment, where the radiation therapists measure the precise spots that need to be radiated, this involves lying on a CT machine practically naked and a couple of women move you around to align your body with treatment areas and then tattoo small dots on your body as markers for when you have your radiation, it's all done using lines and angles and measurements, it's all very clinical and they use terms like centigray (the measurement of the amount of radiation absorbed by the patients body) fractionation (dividing total dose of radiation into smaller doses to try and save as much healthy tissue as possible) and dosimetrist (the person who plans the radiation dose), blah blah blah blah, is what I hear as I lie there, basically I hear the teacher from Charlie Brown peanuts comic, as they stand there and talk around me like a piece of meat ready to be diced and sliced into sections.
Radiotherapy uses radiation, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons, to kill or damage cancer cells and stop them from growing and multiplying. It is a localised treatment, which means it generally only affects the part of the body where the radiation is directed, but because my disease is so widespread and near so many vital organs, directing the Rays can be difficult, you do not want the Rays to hit your liver or your kidneys or other vital organs!
Basically you lie on a cold hard steel slab for 40 minutes (longer or shorter depending on your treatment) in a freezing treatment room and you have to lie perfectly still, while panels rotate around your body emitting a laser type treatment, no itchy nose scratching, no sneezing, no movement whatsoever with your hands raised above your head, try lying perfectly still over a 40 minute period and not to mention the fact that lying down in any normal circumstance is painful for me, because my tumours are suffocating my organs or pinching nerves and whilst they are basically invisibly burning away at your tumour tissue and hopefully not your healthy tissue, a stream of "soothing music" is being played over a sound system, one of the appropriately chosen songs last night was Toxic by Britney Spears. I mean seriously people, have we as cancer patients not had enough toxicity pumped through or veins already that you have to remind us that we're toxic whilst receiving treatment, I mean I love a good Britney beat, but a little bit of sensitivity wouldn't go astray, you may as well play bloody wind beneath my wings or tears in heaven!
I am having 4 sessions at this point and as I type in bed I have just hours ago completed my first of this round (I have had radiation before, not to be curative, to stop bleeds, but it actually worked and shrunk and even killed some of my tumours, one in particular was the size of a grapefruit and the radiation killed it) and I am already dealing with the lovely side effects, I had numerous spots radiated in my abdomen and I also had the 2 golf ball sized pelvic tumours targeted, now I feel nauseated, I've been up most of the night vomiting, my stomach is cramping, I've been hobbling (I'd like to say running, but that would be a wee bit of an exaggeration) to the toilet with the loose bowels the Nurses mentioned may happen, my bladder is sore, I've taken numerous hydromorphone injections to try and get on top of the pain and I'm sitting here typing a bloody blog, am I mad in the head or what?
One thing I don't know to laugh or cry about is the baby monitor currently sitting on my bedside table that monitored me last night in case pain got too much and I couldn't let my Mum and Dad know, I've gone from playboy babes to baby monitors all in the space of 24 hours, I swear someone up there is having a good old laugh right now.
I will keep you updated on the progress of my radiotherapy and let you know if anything interesting happens, now that I am back from my little mini break, I am hoping my radiotherapy side effects will not be too bad, so I can post more often and hopefully post something a little more insightful and uplifting, you never know stranger things have happened!
Have a lovely weekend people's x
My name is Lisa Magill and I have been navigating the minefield that is cancer since just months after turning 30, people have been saying to me for years that I should put my thoughts into writing and as time has progressed I thought I had left it too late, well here we are nearly 4 years in and for some unknown reason I've decided to start to write today.