Just in case (with added NWR)
So the radiotherapy signalled an end to my treatment. The nightmare which started on 12th January, finished on 18th December. Hopefully that will be the last time I have to have treatment for cancer.
As a lot of people have said, the radiotherapy was a cakewalk compared to chemo.
The biggest pain was the 4 hour round trip to St Thomas at Westminster Bridge. Err, more about that later.
The experience did involve a lot of waiting around. Often there was a delay of up to an hour. This being thanks to the state of the radiotherapy machines. The hospital has four of them and due to lack of money, they are not in the best of health and on an almost daily basis, one of them would break down. This would cause a backlog while they were mended. There was one day when I was sent home as the backlog had got too much.
The good thing was that all those of us having treatment, understood that the problems were out of the departments control so there was no moaning at the overworked staff. They really do work hard, trying to keep everyone happy.
I of course would moan to anyone that listened about the fact that the NHS was being neglected and stripped to the bone while a lot of well off people and organisations were not paying enough (or in some cases) sod all tax. Somehow, being a Molotov Cocktails throw away from the Parliament made it all the more poignant.
The treatment itself was a bit of an anti climax for me. I was expecting a massive laser beam to fire at me ala Goldfinger, but it was not to be.
ME AND THE OLE RADIOLOGIST SHARING A JOKE
The machine just makes a series of clicks as it turns around.
The side effects were minimal. Some soreness around the chest area that was zapped was about all I had to show for three weeks. I was also tired a lot, but that could have been due to the chemo, which was/is still affecting me.
I have not even set off any alarms in shops or the library. Although to be fair, that is a rare occurrence according to those in the know.
As of the time of writing this (11/01/13) I do still have side effects from the chemo. I still feel the need to sleep and suddenly feel tired as well as feeling delusional that Leyton Orient can make the Play Offs.
My hair is growing back (albeit greyer than before) and I have had to start shaving again. When the facial hair started to grow back, it was bum fluff and hard to shave off.
HANG ON!!! I have just remembered that I have picked up a side effect from the radiotherapy. That being Lymphoedema in my left arm, where I had my lymph nodes removed.
Lymphoedema is swelling that develops because of a build-up of a fluid called lymph in the body’s tissues.
Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system – a part of the body’s immune system which helps us fight infection and other illnesses. If lymph nodes or vessels become blocked, the lymph fluid is unable to pass through them. Because the extra tissue fluid can’t drain away normally, it builds up and causes swelling (oedema).
Lymphoedema can be reduced and the swelling can often be kept to a minimum, particularly when it’s diagnosed early.
But it’s a condition that never goes away because the causes can’t be reversed.
At the moment, it does not seem too bad, but I will be discussing this when I see my ‘cancer’ doc (aka the bloke who operated on me) on Monday. Hopefully he will not be giving me bad news the day before my birthday, in the way he did last year, three days before my birthday.
My fingernails seem to be slowly improving, but four of my toenails have come off (don’t worry; I will not be putting a picture up of them).
I have been told by doctors that I may well feel the effects of the last year well into the summer months of 2013. Still, it’s all in a good cause.
THE BUS RANT
As I have mentioned, the round trip to my radiotherapy, took around four hours a day. A lot of this time was spent on the 53 bus from Plumstead Common to Westminster Bridge.
TfL state on their bus stops etc that the journey takes 43 minutes. This is impossible, In fact, the quickest it ever took was 1 hour and ten minutes, But mostly it took around the same as a game of football (without the half time break or the time added on). It would have been nice if TfL told the truth on their timetables, because some people have to be at a certain place at a certain time. Even taking in the possibility of delays, I doubt if many people think that the journey stated would take double the time. Luckily for me, SJ was aware of the ‘discrepancy’ of the 45 minute journey and so I got the bus at least 90 minutes before my appointment.
There was also the lottery of where the bloody bus would terminate. If I get on a bus that states that it is going to Plumstead, I expect it to go to Plumstead. On at least four occasions out of the fifteen journeys, the destination was changed to Woolwich while I was on the damn thing, sometimes it was changed four stops before it actually got to Woolwich. Busses now have automated voices to say what the next stop is and even to tell folks to get off the stairs. It would not have hurt to have an automated voice that said ‘Sorry for pissing you about again, but because the bus is late, we are dumping you at Woolwich and not the destination we originally promised. There is a possibility that we have contravened the Trading Standards Act, by not giving you what you paid for, but tough. Oh and please get off the stairs geez.
The reason that this happens (as the automated voice mentioned) seems to be lateness. If the bus is running late, it terminates earlier to catch up with its timetable on the way back to Westminster (keep up at the back, I shall be asking questions later). This means that the passengers on that bus are punished twice. Once for the lateness of the bus AND also for having to get off the said bus at the wrong destination and having to wait for the next bus to come along.
That’s all for now. I would like to thank Snowy White for the lendation of his Ipod which made the bus journeys more bearable (it was impossible to read on the bus, what with all the noise) and to Greg Proops (Smartest Man) and Richard Herring (AIOTM) for entertaining me with their free podcasts.
Love peace and a Sack Boris Oyster Card
God bless you Wilko