#1 Look after yourself. Now is sort of the time to be legally selfish and do only the things that you need to do. If you need to move plans, rearrange or even cancel events, just do it. No need to apologise, those who understand will understand and those who don’t won’t. No big deal. It’s all a matter of balance. If you don’t knuckle down and get through the ironing, in fact even if you can’t face setting up the ironing board in the first instance, then don’t. No one is going to die from a crumpled shirt. No one.
Use your bursts of energy to do stuff ahead of time- the boring bits, something to make tomorrow less energy zapping.
You may think (guilty M’Lord) that you’ll sail through it with no need to change your regular routine, but you’re probably slightly in the dark. Radiotherapy can be hard on the body and on the emotions. Just go with the flow and respond when your body or mind needs you to.
#2 Get yourself a good book for the waiting area, one that transports you somewhere else. That way your brain can relax and just enjoy the story and helps you focus on things you love. In my case it’s helped me zone out and away from the quite toxic Moaning Minnie’s who occasionally inhabit the area. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not the best place to be and that many people there feel poorly and worried but my goodness, can they moan? If you need to and can, move away from people and spaces that don’t help you get into the flow of the Radiotherapy regime.
When I first started going for my treatments I noticed a trend amongst some of the other patients there. Nearly everyone drinks plenty of water throughout so that your body can do all it can to help once it’s fully fuelled up with H20. I noticed that there was a link between my own growing awareness of who I thought belonged in the Moaning Minnie club and the water drinkers. When the scanners are running late one of the Therapeutic Radiographers comes out and updates the waiting board with the likely time delay. The Moaning Minnie club do a collective groan. Like a Mexican wave of low tone grumbling. I’ve realised that the Moaning Minnie Club has a sub group- the Prostate Cancer Club. Bless, a full bladder is a necessary requirement for radiotherapy for them and so when they arrive they start drinking like mad before their appointment. When the delay time suddenly changes, there’s the tricky choice to be made between popping to the loo then starting to drink again (I’m informed by one of the wives that 4 cups is typical for most men but her husband needs between 6-8. Thank you I did not need to know that) or holding on.I’m not joking when I tell you it’s all happening in my world.
#3 Look after those who are looking after you. Even when they tease you because they are able to use deodorant and anti-perspirant under both arms and not just one for the time being. I mean, it’s not as if they come out of the bathroom specifically to demonstrate the fact is it? Of course not. They need looking after because when you sneak a look in their diary and see that each of your appointments is written in there with a percentage of time completed (bless his logical brain) you know that they’ve got your back and that they are experiencing this
journey alongside you too and it affects them, even in their sweet smelling state.
#4 Burnt nipple
s (see main image for something you don’t really want to think about). Right side. Singular. 100% Aloe Vera Gel. Apply. Grit your teeth.
#5 Remember that Radiotherapy treatment is a contained amount of time. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. Keep the medical rationale, your Oncologists’ advice and guidance and your beliefs about why you’re having it at the forefront of your mind. Don’t think of it as something to ‘endure’. Create a vision of the next stage for yourself and your support network. Crack on.