I had a good meeting with my Radiotherapy specialist last week. He was a real scientist type and knew exactly how he wants to treat me during the 30-days of Radiotherapy. He's not taking any chances, so although it's going to be hard for me in the short term, he's determined that I'm going to be cured ...
I'm having 6 weeks of treatment; that's 30-days in all. On Monday's I will get a dose of Cisplatin chemotherapy first, on Tuesdays I have meetings with my Macmillan nurse then treatment and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday it's just radiotherapy which, on it's own, takes less than an hour overall. Then I get the weekends off!
"It's great that I've got some fab friends committed to driving me to Northampton each day. I can never thank them enough!"
But it's not going to be at all easy. They're treating my entire nasal cavity, not just the side with the tumour and will be going as far up as my Pituitary Gland and down my neck to my collar bone. "Just in case" he says, because microscopic bits of the tumour may have broken off during Chemo and he wants to get them all. "I don't want you to have to go through all this again Steffi, so we're going for a curative approach right now." Yeah, that makes sense!
I liked him a lot as he was someone I could talk to as an equal rather than me being a patient and him doling out his wisdom. When he told me that I was going to be getting thirty 6Mv doses of Photons from a Linear Accelerator run by Physicists, I couldn't wait to sign the consent forms!
"Deal me in because it sounds awesome!"
It's actually not going to be awesome at all. It's going to be extremely painful after a couple of weeks and the PEG line in my tummy is testament to that. My throat may become so painful I can't swallow and may need to squirt tubes of nutrient rich mush into my stomach. No wonder they give you a gallon of Oramorph to take home!
But before I start all that, I've got a really busy week ahead. On Monday I go for blood tests, on Tuesday I'm getting my Radiotherapy mask done (to keep my head in the right position while I'm in the machine) and am getting my PEG line fitted that evening, which will require an overnight stay. Wednesday I meet with my Oncology specialist for a review then on Thursday I have another round of Chemo! Friday I'll probably sleep all day!
My Radiotherapy specialist says that because it will take a couple of weeks to properly map out the tumour and get all the machine programming done, he wants to "keep the tumour at bay" by giving me more Chemotherapy. I see his point. If I had to wait for another few weeks then the tumour 'could' grow some more, so it makes sense to keep attacking it, then hit it with Radiotherapy to kill it straight after.
The initial Chemotherapy completely mullered me. My body wasn't ready for the toxic chemicals and I tried to fight through it when I should have been resting. Chemo 2 was a lot easier as I listened to my body, rested more and by week two, after they took the 5FU pump out, I was feeling fine again.
"I really hope Chemo 3 is as easy!"
So a lot to do this week (I was going to use 'fun packed' there but just couldn't) and, as always, I'm ever so grateful for the constant assistance of Kirsty who's making sure I get to every appointment on time. I'm not sure what I'd do without her!