Last week I had an appointment with an oncologist to discuss radiotherapy. It was one of three hospital appointments in one day - I'll go in to those in more detail a bit later....
All the way through my treatment I was told that I would need radiotherapy. However, when the results from my surgery came back I was told that it may not be necessary and that a discussion was needed as to whether it would be beneficial. To cut a long story short, the oncologist said there was definite benefit and that we should go ahead. He also assured me that the pain in my bum cheek was more than likely due to degenerative damage from chemotherapy and hormone treatment, rather than cancer and wouldn't send me for a bone scan dammit. Anyway....
After the decision to go ahead with radiotherapy was made last week, I found myself at a different hospital yesterday for a CT scan and marking up for the start of the treatment. It was my first time having a CT scan and I can only describe it as being inside a washing machine. Half naked. With your arms above your head. The scan is to find out where your heart and lungs are so that when they direct the radiotherapy waves at you they don't fry your insides. You kind of need those bits.
After that I received three 'tattoos' which were remarkably reminiscent of the kind of self marking that some of the kids did at school e.g. dipping their compass in ink and scratching their current amour's name in to their skin. These tattoos are only very tiny dots placed under the skin, but they were done in much the same manner - with a thick needle dipped in ink.
Radiotherapy is due to start on the 28th of April for three weeks. I'm
hoping its going to give me super powers but as it is it will probably be more
like fatigue, sore skin and a shriveled implant.
Back to my day of hospital appointments. Spending the entire morning at hospital is not the most riveting of experiences. There's only so much swiping left on Tinder a girl can do.... Anyway, after I saw the oncologist I went to see my plastic surgeon. She agreed that we didn't need to fill the monster boob any more and the expansion was now finished. I asked about when the expander would be replaced by an implant that looked more like a boob than a football and also when they were could take away the other potentially deadly breast. I was told that it would be six months after radiotherapy at the minimum, preferably twelve months. The only time she would operate any sooner would be if she was forced to e.g. if radiotherapy started to make my scar split and the implant to come out. Delightful.
After my appointment with the plastic surgeon I was sent to have more photos of my boobs taken. My before and after surgery boob photos will be coming to a medical student text book near you sometime in the near future. Without my face luckily. However, somewhere between taking my bra off and putting it back on again I managed to lose the cleavage enhancing whatsit I use in the 'normal' side of my bra to fill it out as the monster boob is bigger and a lot more pert that my natural one and makes me look decidedly lopsided. No idea how I managed to do that but some lucky member of hospital staff will probably have come across what looks like an overgrown garden slug at some point over the last few days.
After the photos came an appointment with the physio about my dud arm. The node clearance means that I have nerve damage, numbness and considerable cording under my arm. Cording is basically when the lymph vessels become dry, scarred and shriveled and feel rather like guitar strings. After showing me some exercises to try and revive the nerves in my arm, he gave me an armpit massage. Yes, you read right. He massaged the cording under my arm, something that I have to do myself at home as well. It's comes to something when you need your armpit massaging instead of your back right?
So, an appointment with an oncologist, examination of the monster boob, tit photos, an armpit massage, CT scan and dodgy prison-like ink tattoos. Just an average week in the life of a young breast cancer patient!