So my radiotherapy starts tomorrow at 4pm and with all the melodrama contained within my last post, you may think I’m weepy and hand-wringy but in fact, I feel completely ready and calm. It’s tempting to ascribe this sort of resilience to The Experience and How Much I’ve Grown etc but in reality, long term moodiness is unsustainable for me because it’s so, so dull.
Here’s a summary of last week’s events. I had a planning session at the radiotherapists whereby I was lined up on the machine, measured and tatooed then taken to a different machine for a CT scan. My radiotherapist (RT) called to say the scan showed my right foob was in the way of the beam that was going to the middle of my chest. So she asked my cosmetic surgeon (CS) if she would fully deflate it. The CS said this would lead to a risk of a build up of painful scar tissue. I had a tantrum. Then I pulled myself together and established from the RT that the part in the way of the beam was on top, and not beneath, so I asked whether a partial deflation could work. This would hopefully move it out of the way whilst minimising the risk of both building up scar tissue and knocking down my ego. RT agreed it was worth trying so the CS removed 200ml out of the 425ml from my right implant.
And luckily, it worked.
I found this out after I took my new lopsided form back to the radiotherapist’s for another go on the machine, where three operators buzzed around me, consulting with the chief RT in very technical language about how to optimally position me so my right chest and its lower profile is out of the way AND the beam avoids my heart. “I don’t say this publicly,” the RT whispers as they confer “But these are my best people.” The atmosphere spoke of a highly engaged team attacking an enjoyable challenge – a difficult Sodoku, perhaps. The lights are dimmed, which adds to the theatre (and the general wanting to get the fuck out of there, to be fair.) Anyway in the end the solution was, as solutions often are, simple and elegant and involved inserting a shallow wedge under my left shoulder.
More good news is that although the deflated side is definitely smaller, it is not terribly noticeable when I’m clothed. The main difference I think is the texture, which is slightly squidgy versus the hard shell that was there formerly. When I look down it even, dare I say, looks normal but the mirror reveals the very abnormal sight of folds of skin on the underside. Not to worry, I’m quite good at avoiding mirrors.
Today I had a hot shower and shaved my armpits. Neither are permitted during therapy. I have bought a car charger so I can listen to Spotify via my phone which will keep me company during the long drives. I have offers of help which I will gratefully accept. I have my Miaderm cream and some new yoga clothes to wear to the sessions. There are meals in the freezer.
I am ready.