“Do we want more kids?”

March 5, 2016

Easter 1986

Eventually all the tests were complete and the results were in. I was told I needed radiotherapy which would require six weeks of treatment at Cookridge Hospital. Considering where I lived, it was suggested that I stay in hospital Monday to Friday each week and go home at the weekend. That way they said, I wouldn’t have to endure a seventy-mile round trip in ‘Ye Olde’ ambulance.

Easter was looming close and they wanted to start my treatment before the break. The radiotherapy planning was a slow process, involving many more x-rays and scans. I also had eight little tattoos marked on my body so they could accurately line me up on the linear accelerator each time I had my treatment.

I didn’t ask many questions in those days, I assumed they would tell me everything I needed to know. One radiotherapy technician even told me I would be having 50 Grays of radiation or in other words 50,000 sMv’s. Yeah I know,………….. I had to ask him:

Me: Is that a lot of radiation?

Radiotherapist: It’s the equivalent of about 500,000 normal chest X-rays.

Me: A lot then?!!!

Unfortunately I was soon to learn it’s a risky business taking a passive role. Finally they announced my treatment could start. Summoned from the ward, I made my way through the many corridors to the radiotherapy suite. I still remember the weird smell inside the linear accelerator room as I undressed and put on a theatre gown. Once I was positioned on the radiation machine everyone vacated the room.  I felt very alone as I wondered what this invisible treatment would be like and whether or not I would feel any pain. All of a sudden a doctor burst into the room.

Doctor: “You do have two children, right?”

Me: “Er, yes I do” Wondering if he was about to suggest they join me!

Doctor: “Do you want any more?”

Me: “Er, why?” Could he not see I was too busy for that sort of thing right now.

It was a really weird situation. I was lying on my back trying to psyche myself up for the treatment and some guy wanted to know about my five-year plan! He came close enough for me to finally see him.

Doctor: “Unfortunately the inverted-Y radiotherapy you’ve been prescribed will almost definitely leave you sterile and unable to have any more children”

After what seemed an uncomfortably long pause.

Me: “Can I discuss it with my wife?”

At that, he aborted my treatment and suggested I call my wife that day.

It could have been a really difficult call to make, however considering we’d just had our second child ten weeks earlier we both agreed having more children wasn’t high enough on our agenda right now to risk compromising my treatment. I would have my first treatment that evening.

The content in my blog is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for a health care professionals advice. Please consult your own appropriate health care provider about the applicability of any of my opinions with respect to your own symptoms or medical conditions. The information in my blog does not constitute legal or technical advice….sorry!

 


“Even more tests!”

February 29, 2016

Nearly Easter – 1986

I spent the week undergoing many tests and investigations as part of the staging process. It was a pretty traumatic time, I remember during that first week I had no fewer than twenty-four blood samples taken. I didn’t have a needle phobia but this level of intensity was causing me some serious anxiety.

Despite the needle trauma, I thought nothing would compare with the bone marrow biopsy until I had something called a lymphangiogram.

 

IMG_0639They injected die in between all my toes which made my eyes water a lot. This was apparently to expose  the lymph vessels on the top of feet so they could cut them insert cannulas which were attached to two large syringes full of blue dye!! The die was then injected into both my feet simultaneously very very slowly. I remember the weirdest sensation and pain all over my body as the dye forced it’s way into a place I am sure wasn’t designed to accommodate it. After about thirty minutes I was then taken to yet another scanning machine, which took numerous images of the lymphatic system throughout my body and seemed to take forever.

Much to everyone’s bemusement shortly after the lymphangiogram, blue dye started running down my leg. The dye they’d put in was just coming back out again!! My surgery wound was open again and required dressing every day. It did amuse me every time a new nurse changed it as I watched their reaction when they saw what looked like blue blood in my dressing and I said “Perhaps I was really royalty and you should’ve given me that general anaesthetic after all?” Not that anyone else found it amusing.

The content in my blog is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for a health care professionals advice. Please consult your own appropriate health care provider about the applicability of any of my opinions with respect to your own symptoms or medical conditions. The information in my blog does not constitute legal or technical advice….sorry!

%d bloggers like this: