The Last Treatment
Radiotherapy was the last hospital treatment I was having. It was the middle of August and I’d already told them in the Unit that I’d been feeling quite emotional about everything with it all coming to an end. Why wasn’t I jumping for joy? Friends and family told me to ‘think how pleased you’ll be when it’s all over’.
I was actually more relieved to ring the bell in the Chemotherapy unit a month beforehand, marking my last treatment of that evil stuff. I had a lot of side effects with the second type of Chemo, infections, Sepsis, so I’d been in and out of hospital, striking up quite a rapport with the nurses. Every time I went in we ended up having a laugh about something. It made the whole process much easier to bare.
But ending Radiotherapy was different. Maybe because, rather than 3-4 hours in there, it was a quick 15 minutes.
I hadn’t established good rapports with anyone, as I saw many different people, so it was different to the Chemo experience.
I went home on that final day after the Rads had finished, and I remember feeling quite sore. But I also went home that day feeling…numb. A bit low. Yes – I was pleased of course that I didn’t have to go up to have Radiotherapy every day at the hospital, because quite frankly – it was doing my frazzled brain in by the end of it!
By the end of the 4 weeks I was relieved it not to be doing that anymore.
But once I’d got home, I found myself looking in the diary for when my next appointment was! The fear of the unknown, I suppose, was part of it. I’d spoken to a professional at the hospital for 10 months, every week, some twice a week, and over the last month – every day. I’ve had a security bubble around me, if you like. And now I was unwrapped!
Immediate Aftermath (sounds dramatic!)
I decided that I would try and do some work from home when I could and get back to the office too. My employer had been so good and me making an effort too helped me mentally. We all know Hindsight is a wonderful thing and maybe at the time it was right for me to do try to do a bit of work from home, as I had been doing on and off during treatment, and it did keep the mind busy, even if the body couldn’t keep up. However, Radiotherapy had JUST finished. I was advised to give myself some time.
But I was putting the pressure on myself to get back to ‘normal’. Plus I was finding when I was at home I would sit and dwell, over-think things. Problem was – I didn’t have the energy or stamina to get myself into the office.
The hospital told me that the effects build up still, up to a month after the Radiotherapy finishes. When they said I would feel ‘fatigued’, I didn’t realise what that word was actually going to mean. It wasn’t just feeling ‘really tired’. Every day, I had a job to get enough energy to climb a set of stairs, or do a few chores about the house. Each time I did something or walked from room to room, I had to sit down. I just wanted to close my eyes all day.
The body was already struggling to recover from Chemotherapy – I couldn’t really walk very far as the bone pain and sepsis had wiped out my stamina, and as there was no break in between finishing the Chemo cycle and starting Radiotherapy, the fatigue continued to build.
Will it ever end?