Meet my date Varian6


So Radiotherapy is going ok and I’m now 25% through. 5 sessions done, 15 more to go.

I’m beginning to look like 25% of my cooking time is also up as a gradual redness is developing and some soreness of the general area and tender to the touch. That’s all pretty typical and so whilst nothing to worry about, it is uncomfortable nonetheless. As I described to my friend this evening ‘It’s a little like bad PMS but without the urge to kill someone’.

I thought you might like to meet my date actually- this is Varian6. There are 6 Varian Scanners or Linear Accelerators to give them their proper name at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. Most of my treatment is planned for machine number 6. Each of these machines work by focusing high-energy radiation beams onto the area requiring treatment.

For some reason the set up took longer today and the team couldn’t get my tattoos lined up with the machine and so I was lead with my arms above my head for twice the usual length of time; that’s a toughie and it’s such a relief when the radiographer comes back in the room and calls from the door ‘You can bring your arms done now’. They know what a tricky position that is to hold for any length of time.

On the photo you can see the headrest on the ‘bed’ and above it the arm and hand rests, so at least there is something to settle your hands into. The wedge cushion goes under your knees. The bed moves up as soon as you are settled so that it is at eye level with the Radiographers and then backwards into the main part of the scanner. You can see that there is currently no ‘comfort rating’ for this bed!

As treatment proceeds the main bulk of the scanner rotates so that the circular area you can see at the top of the machine is over the treatment area and about 20-30cms (get me, metric!) away from you.

This 2 minute film gives you an idea of the process.

Driving to the hospital is taking about an hour due to some rudely timed roadworks which I can see may well become frustrating but for now it’s a good time to talk and reflect. Ben has chauffeured me for the past two days and that’s been a lovely bonus too. The journey has given us time to mull over stuff and talk about how things are. Car journeys are good for that.

Checking in with him about his own support network opened up a good conversation about who’s there for him/us, what format that takes and as for most people in our situation, who hasn’t necessarily turned out to be connected or (as it feels to us) bothered. It’s not that we don’t know that people have their own stuff to sort or that we want it to be ‘me, me, me’ but read through any cancer blog or talk to any family with serious illness and the trend is clear; some people just don’t align, or as Ben said ‘This really shows up the strengths and weaknesses in a support network doesn’t it?’. And the petty thing about that is that there are days when it’s harder to focus on the good, the #TeamPositive loyalty members rather than the nay sayers.

So! It’s time to focus on the good, the great and the downright gorgeous again because they/you are the ones that matter to us ‘cos you’ve made sure that we know we matter to you.

Thank you and goodnight, I have a date tomorrow (and the next day, and the next …………….)



4 thoughts on “Meet my date Varian6

  1. Hopefully you’ve have had another few sessions since your post so you should now be a third of the way through. Well done Rosemary keep going. Thanks for sharing this post, it’s useful to know what’s coming down the line! Hope you have something nice planned to celebrate completing this milestone of your treatment! Xx


    1. Thanks Allie, yes I’ve now had 8, so 12 more to go. We are thinking about what to do to celebrate the end of this aspect, but it will definately not involve driving anywhere in the direction of Oxford! I also feel slightly apprehensive about finishing too- as if that safety net will be removed. I hope that you get to radiotherapy before you know it Allie xx

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