I had my 2nd round of gamma knife treatment on Thursday 27th August 2020. 8 weeks ago – and what a bloody 8 weeks it has been! I arrived at the hospital for 7:00 a.m. – pretty standard! Because of covid I had to go on my own – which was a bit daunting – but I’m a big girl – I can do this! There was one other guy waiting as well and this was his fourth time getting the head frame on. I asked if it was painful and he asked me if this was my first time? He told me it wasnt too bad, a bit of pressure – but his eyes and face told a whole other story!! He went in first and I waited. My wee irish nurse was there which was great and she said she would be with me throughout the procedure – she knew I was very nervous.
Then it was my turn – OMG – when I went in to the cubicle there was a chair waiting in the middle with Dr Herbert, an assistant nurse, what looked like two trainees, my irish nurse and me! Fuck! It was like I was going to be on display. So I sat down and did as I was told! There was a ‘stingy’ local anaesthestic injection – bloody hell – stingy is one word for it but possibly not my choice! and it seemed to go on forever. I had to have 4 – the points that they would use to attach it to my head. Dr Herbert said that I could swear if I wanted but I couldn’t speak! I was squeezing the life out of my nurse’s hand and at one point Dr H had to remind me to breathe!! So – it didnt take too long really – 15 minutes ish. I sat with my eyes closed and I cried at the end – so one good thing to happen was at least I know I can cry!! Afterwards I waited in the waiting room to have my MRI scan before being taken to the treatment suite. I felt pressure but not pain. I was worried about letting ‘go’ of my head and let the machines and support take the weight as I thought it was going to be ‘sore’ but it was okay.
I don’t want to ‘scare’ anybody – and everybody’s experience is different, but this blog is from my prespective and to be an honest account of my journey – so I am not going to write that it was a breeze – there was no pain – because I would be lying – and that is not what I am about or what the purpose of this blog is for. Here is a picture of me in my head frame.
As I was getting ready to go in for my treatment I was told that it would take 50 minutes – I thought this was quite long when originally I had been told about 15. Anyway I was clicked in to place and they played the radio for me. I thought to myself 50 minutes is approximately 10 songs with all the chat etc so when I had counted 5 they were coming in to get me out from the machine so I must have dozed off!! So it was all done – just to get the head frame off. Whilst I waited for Dr Herbert to come and take it off I briefly saw 2 stubby what looked like screwdrivers!! So I didn’t look!! Dr Herbert then told me I had had 4 small tumours – pardon? – what? – yes – I had 4. 2 more showed on the MRI planning scan but all had been treated and he felt the treatment had gone well. So that’s why it took 50 minutes!! He said he would ring me in a couple of weeks to see how I was and my next scan has been booked in for the end of November.
My PET-CT scan results came in just the day before my gamma knife treatment – thankfully it was good news – I continue to maintain a complete metabolic response. Fan-tas-tic!! There are a couple of little spots in my liver which are not cancerous but they are going to keep an eye on them and my next scan will be the end of November.
So with all that over I had my holiday to look forward to seeing my sister any my Mummy. Some well needed rest and recuperation. However Mummy had a fall and broke her hip and was in hospital and without going into the details she passed away on Wednesday 23rd September at approximately 10:10 a.m. WHAT THE FUCK…… NO NO NO….. this was a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. As I write this and on reflection this must have been one of the hardest things my sister must have had to do – to have to tell me our Mummy was gone.
I flew over to Cyprus on the Saturday 26th September. OMG the stress of having to arrange the COVID test 72 hours beforehand, to complete the Cyprus fit to fly document no more than 24 hours beforehand… but it was all done and I was on my way to be with my sister. The following two weeks involved the funeral arrangements, lots of tears – from my sister, still no tears from me. I don’t know why I am so hung up on the fact that I can’t cry. My counsellor asked the same – but I was always a cryer – even over the stupidest things! If something was sad – I cried. But not when I was diagnosed with cancer, or being told my Mummy was dead. Anyway the day of the funeral arrived – and so did the tears! I thought I would be fine, I felt strong and was there for Shelley but as soon as I saw her coffin it was like being hit by a sledgehammer – FUCK – this was real – it was true – Mummy had gone and I would never see her or hear her voice again.
Mummy’s funeral was beautiful, I found the strength from somewhere admist the tears to read a poem, the music was ‘so Mummy’ and the support from their Cyprus friend’s was immense. Our families were one – united in our pain and memories.
Now the grieving procees begins. Is it different for my sister, Shelley? – she lived with Mummy so she was everywhere she looked. Mummy was there, a constant reminder. Because I lived in the UK is it easier to deal with. No – it wasn’t, it isn’t.
I am back in England and have returned to work this week. I am currently having my treatment – and life goes on.
I have had a bit of dizziness and I am sometimes unsteady on my feet. I also had a fall in Cyprus where I think I turned my head too quickly and ended up on the ground – beside a cliff overlooking the sea!! That could have been interesting if I had been standing any closer to the edge! But I was fine! I am fine. It could be scar tissue from the recent treatment – I must remember that it was only 2 months ago and so much has happened in that time. It could be the effects of everything – flying, upset, lack of sleep, stress etc. My next scans are at the end of November and I am not going to spend the next 5 weeks worrying – because life really is too short and none of know what is going to happen. I will of course keep an eye on things and if I am concerned I have a wonderful team of people looking after me who are only at the end of the phone – and I will phone them if I need to. But for now I am going to live – I will allow myself the time to feel sad but as my daughter said to me yesterday ‘don’t let it become all consuming’ – and she’s right. As hard as it is to say – Life goes on and I am living – and I will continue to do so!