Radiotherapy over but questions remain

By Erica Russell Watson Thursday, 02 July 2015 06:00 0

I HAVE now completed my radiotherapy and I should be happy. I am, on one hand, because despite the machine breaking down several times I received my treatment which is the most important thing. My skin has become a little red over the last few sessions but that was to be expected. I have also noticed a large increase in freckles in the radiated area, also normal I imagine.
I went in for a chat with my doctor and she seemed very pleased. I was told that I would have to continue applying the cream and of course stay out of the sun and she would see me in a month to check my progress.
I also had an appointment to see my surgeon as I had finished my treatment. She wanted to check me over and refer me for breast reconstruction. I was looking forward to this as you can imagine. Despite meaning more surgery at least it was something that would be a positive step towards regaining more normality and more symmetry! I have to say I am a little tired of my mastectomy bra!
I sat in front of her and she asked about the lesions or tumours in my lungs. This has not been clarified very well. At the beginning of chemotherapy I had a CAT scan and three small lesions showed up. I was told they were insignificant but would need to be monitored. After the chemotherapy had finished I had another CAT scan and upon reading the report it revealed that these ‘lesions’ had reduced significantly. That of course is a positive thing but it got me thinking. I was under the impression that tumours respond to chemo and as they had reduced then the lesions could be more sinister.
The surgeon agreed and said they would delay reconstruction until the next scan when they would know how the lesions were doing. If they increase in size then I might need another cycle of chemo which did not fill me with too much joy if I’m honest. I know the main goal is to beat cancer but I have been through 10 months of operations and non-stop treatment coupled with several other traumas and was just getting myself back on an even keel. To be told to wait another six months, when my hair will have just grown back and be faced with the possibility of starting from scratch again isn’t very pleasant.
We are of course talking about the worse-case scenario. I am hopeful things will be fine and I will be able to carry on with my operations and recovery. I do understand they are not going to cut me open, insert an expansor behind my pectoral muscle and put a further implant in later if we haven’t beaten the cancer.
So I end by saying I remain positive and also very grateful there is treatment available to me and that I have options. A very special person I have been visiting in hospital recently died because their cancer was inoperable. My thoughts are with his family and friends. I count myself lucky.

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