Most of my readers know how I feel about PMA, Positive Mental Attitude, something I have had by the lorry load since September and Humphrey’s short-lived existence, demise and subsequent treatment.
I know I can be OTT most of the time, totally in your face, loud and brash.
It’s my way of dealing with my nerves, and I’ve joked that the reason I’m seen quicker than some is because they can’t cope with me so get me over and done with asap.
Whilst Hubby has been waiting though, he has chatted amongst the other patients who have enquired as to whether I am ‘always like that’, ‘what medication am I on and can they have some,’ and even ‘she’s like a breath of fresh air’.
We have become particularly chatty with two people this week, each having radiotherapy for their cancers, as our appointments have been within half an hour of each other.
We have laughed and joked about treatments and time delays, generally making light of the situation, which in turn raises a few smiles from other patients waiting to be seen.
J has prostate cancer and opted for radiotherapy rather than surgery and chemo. He has told his family the basics, but not gone into any other details until he knows exactly what is happening. The last thing he wants is for them to worry about surgery that may not be necessary and something that may turn out not to be worrisome afterall (sound familiar?).
He’s doing OK but has been mucked about a bit with delays and so drinking the necessary amount of water before therapy throws everything out as he’s desperate for the loo before he’s seen!
He went in shortly after we arrived today and waved us goodbye with a grin and promise of ‘see you tomorrow’ a quarter of an hour later.
F has had a breast cancer like me, though her treatment is only 15 sessions, the last of which is next Wednesday. She has never been accompanied, has to rely on public transport, and from our conversation today, I learnt she has 2 cats and perhaps lives alone.
She does however have a sister and brother with whom she has regular contact.
Sounding weary, she said she is feeling tired and asked me if this was normal. I replied that everyone was different, but yes, according to the literature package we’re given, tiredness/fatigue is one of the side effects of radiotherapy.
She also confessed that she hadn’t done a single one of the recommended exercises and asked what they actually did. For me, they kept me supple, got the mobility going and thus reduced the build up of fluid in the breast tissue after surgery (though I did have some drained off the last time I saw my Consultant Surgeon at the clinic) and for the first time in my life I actually have a toned bust instead of two baggy sacks hanging about on my chest.
She laughed at that, and then I was called in.
She continued chatting to Hubby though, and apparently was curious as to how I was dealing so well with the tiredness. Hubby said that we shared the household tasks, and I got plenty of exercise by walking the dog, as walking is one of the suggested remedies for fighting fatigue in the book. She said she wanted to get home before she felt too tired to do her housework, but had to wait for her review which was running late.
I am certain there are patients out there who are afraid, shy, embarrassed and/or bewildered, as well as those who are angry that Cancer dared to invade their bodies.
Hubby and I were both angry at Humphrey’s appearance, but we faced the challenge together, and neither of us were afraid to ask questions or request clarification on things we didn’t fully understand.
I had my second review today, and have passed on my thanks to all the staff for their kindness, respect and care, apologising for being ‘Ms Brash’ and no doubt they would be glad to see the back of me.
They said it made a nice change to have someone with such a positive attitude.
I see it that if I can make someone smile every day, then it has been a good day.
Today was the end of my first treatments, and tomorrow sees the first of the booster ones.
Apparently I am down for five, not four as I thought, and I will be put under a different machine which by all accounts has blue knobs so will match my nipple perfectly.
The stencil taken when we saw Mr Hurry-up-and-wait (the only negative part of this entire thing, my feelings of which will also be passed on) will be used to concentrate the radiation on the surgery site. I have visions of a Madonna type cone being attached to the machine as I lie there on my side with my arm around my head like some failed movie icon or beached whale.