Thursday, 6 February 2014

Day 37: The last day.  End of the road.  At about 10AM this morning, my status changed from cancer patient to cancer SURVIVOR.  I am still waiting for the results of course, but my PSA count had already reached zero from drugs alone, so I don't see how the cancer could have the resilience to survive radiation (although I should recognise that the cancer formed from my own resilient flesh).

Today's appointment was earlier than ever.  So I had to begin prep at 7:20 AM, despite the continuing tube strike.  Not a problem.  We arrived in plenty of time and, just after I'd self-administered the enema, Hopie went off to a seminar leaving me to wait for two hours.  In fact it was longer than two hours as it happens.

None of the people I'd met over the months were there apart from the bald Asian woman who never speaks, so I spent the time reading Stranger in a Strange Land, which provided some insight, particularly into my own relationship with the treatment.  I am not a passive recipient of medical techniques done to me.  Instead I grok in fullness the radiation feed I am experiencing and engage with the radiographers as people providing me a service.

For example, today they kept me waiting, for which they apologised, which meant that my nails were digging into my flesh so hard I thought I would bleed in my effort not to pee.  Once they finished, I asked "may I please have a urine bottle" and peed in front of them because I couldn't wait.  No embarrassment, no hesitation, and after that, "Thank you very much" and goodbye.

My rectum is still pretty sore, so I'll be delaying the return to a normal diet, but coffee is now okay and perhaps tomorrow, I shall also eat chocolate.  The possibilities are endless.  I have my life back.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Day 36 hit me like a bullet in the gut.  There was a tube strike, and all the buses were chocablock even before 6AM.  Everything was all the more hectic as a result of that.  Somehow we still arrived before the doors were unlocked, but it wasn't long before Edith, the cleaner came to unlock the door.

Everything went well as we waited.  I was reading Stranger in a Strange Land, even found time to write a poem while I was waiting. (Something I should never have stopped doing back in my twenties).

Once more I fell asleep on the table, so I was fairly comfortable.  But then, when I came home, the fatigue was like a brick wall, and my guts exploded time after time.  I was knocked out and slept for most of the afternoon and still feel like I'm in zombie mode.

Whew.  Like I have the Old Man of the Sea on my shoulders.  I'm glad tomorrow is my last day of radiation therapy.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Days 34 and 35 passed with little or nothing in the way of hitches.  I had a little pain today in my groin.  There were something like five or six separate moments of extreme pain, each over in a second.  I don't know what caused them but for a moment, they were horrible.

Yesterday, I met an old woman who was sitting outside, waiting to see whether she could have palliative radiotherapy to stop the constant pain from the tumor in her skull.  She'd already lost both breasts, eight years before but for a while after that she was able to begin swimming again.

Now though, she was cheerfully dying in great pain.  The radiotherapy she was seeking would not cure the cancer but might reduce the constant pain.  She still smiled as she explained that she was waiting for the doctor to see her and decide whether she could have the treatment.  She thought this unlikely though because her mouth and throat were both full of ulcers from earlier treatments.

Today, one of my fellow patients noted I would soon be finished.  He said I must be looking forward to eating Brussels sprouts again.  Actually it's cabbage, especially red cabbage I'm missing, but now I understand I'll have to wait another two weeks before I can have that.  So it goes.

Two treatments left now.  Soon it'll be over.