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My Cancer treatment

A love letter to Flash Flashington

Today marks 5 years since this little dude came to live with us. 
5 years of the best cuddles on the planet. 
5 years of being bossed about by this grump. 
5 years of popcorn paws. 
5 years of ears you just want to make into pillows. 
5 years of incessant ball chasing, toy destroying and irrational hatred of things on TV.  
5 years of being my little spoon and hot water bottle. 
5 years of protecting us from people walking past the house and post coming through the door! 
5 years of kisses and slow dances round the kitchen. 
5 years of being waited for when we're out on a walk. 
5 years of unconditional love and dirty looks.  
Today is also, coincidentally, the day I finish my active treatment for cancer. I say coincidentally as it was Flash who first discovered my lump. This guy literally saved my life. He's my hero! I know everyone's dog is perfect but not many of them are as perfect as this little horror! 
I couldn't imagine my life without him. Or his brother. But this here is a love letter to Flash. 
Happy gotcha day little buddy! Love you as much as you love your ball!


Oh, Radiotherapy, it's easy, right?

This week sees the end of my active treatment - as 5 weeks of radiotherapy, and more importantly, 10 months of cancer treatment comes to an end, so I thought it was about time I popped something up about this stage of what's been going on! 

I've lost count of the people who've told me in the last month that I must be glad my treatment is over. Or being told how easy radiotherapy is. Mostly by people who haven't experienced it. But I guess they, like me a month or so ago, don't realise just what a pain in the bum radiotherapy, rads, is! They don't know about the side effects that mean your skin might blister and become sore and they don't realise just how draining it is. How the fatigue will wash over you and leave you on the sofa for an age unable to drag yourself up. Or how sheltered I was having chemo at the private hospital because being in the radiotherapy department every day is overwhelming and full of people much sicker than me.  
If I am honest, I went into radiotherapy knowing more about the moisturiser I should buy to get through it than the treatment itself. That might still be true. But my radiotherapy has consisted of 23 sessions, over nearly 5 weeks. 15 of them were full boob radiotherapy sessions and then 8 boosters to the site of my lump. The boosters are apparently recommended for women under 40 so I'm taking my oncologists advice and having them too. 

But from what I've learnt from my nurses is that radiotherapy is essentially controlled high energy x-rays, targeted at the area of my cancer, that mops up and destroys any rogue cancer cells that might have made it through the chemo and the lumpectomy. 
So I now have a series of tattoos to help the nurses line me up on the machines. I get to wear these beautiful gowns whilst I've waited for the treatment. I've been shifted around and lined up to be fit with the soups and the infs the nurses chat about daily - I'm 24 this way and 92 that way. I've chatted to other people having treatment. I've read hardbacks. 

As for what happens during a radiotherapy session - I thought it best not to film it for you because my boobs are out and no-one needs to see that. But I lay on the bed, my hands above my head, clamped on to two bars, whilst the machine moves round me, shooting the rays in to me. And then for my booster, because this uses a different type of ray that doesn't travel very far into your body, there's an attachment that concentrates the effects. 
And as for the side effects. Man the tiredness has floored me. And it's a strange tiredness that comes in waves. Hits you when you least expect it. And inconstantly. But until this week I thought I was doing pretty well with the skin based side effects - I had redness, what I assume it's like if you're sunbathing nekid and burn your boob, but I thought I was going to get away with missing out on the 'skin breakdown' I got warned about so much. But nope, just as I come to the end, my skin has to split. Which is so frustrating as I really don't have the time for my skin to be all gross! Plus, it's pretty painful.

But there you go, a bit about radiotherapy, well, the radiotherapy I've received anyway. I can't praise my nurses highly enough. They've been wonderful, even when it's clearly been a stressful day, but boy am I ready to not have to see them every day! 

Hello May

Oh my goodness. April was a terrible bloggy month for me wasn't it. 4 posts. 4. Thats a new low I think. But I am finding it so hard to concentrate these days and as odd as this might sound I don't have much free time to sit at my computer. 

But I am here now, and with another 1 Second Everyday video, because whilst I might not be able to concentrate to write blog posts, I have got the brain capacity to take a 1 second video every day. So, that's something. Right?

And on to the video. April has consisted of daily trips to Weston Park Hospital. Bless my parents, they are taking most every day too! There were countryside walks, visits from Jim's mum, visits to Leeds, there was jewellery to make and a garden to make over. There was snow and sunshine and a telling off from the radiotherapy nurses about catching the sun. There were some early nights to combat the radiotherapy fatigue that envelopes my body. And there were a LOT of hot flushes. There was random music during treatment. And there were many walks with the dogs.  

A post shared by Em. (@ohgoshem) on

And now on to May. So 3/4's of the month will be spent on holiday, which is amazing and I am super excited about it. Not only because it's going to be fun, but going away means that my treatment will be over! I've got some veggies to plant this week, Jim's sister is over too before we head awayand I've got some other bits in the pipeline that I can't really chat about yet. I was hoping to have a post treatment celebration with my friends but I very much doubt that will happen! 

What have you got planned for the month?