Thursday, 23 July 2009

Week 21 ...... the end of treatments

Yesterday I received a 'completed treatment' summary from the radiology/oncology department confirming that I have received 28 fractionated radiosurgery therapy sessions and that I am currently taking a steroid, Dexamethasone, to combat my symptoms of headaches and nausea. It is expected that these symptoms will disappear in the next few weeks and the letter advises me who to contact should I wish to discuss any problems or have any queries. I have also been given a date for a follow-up appointment with my specialist radio-oncologist, LK, in a months' time.

That's great.

From a patient point of view I feel that it would have been more reassurring to have been given this information on my final treatment visit, in person, by one of the department nurses.

'Goodbye and good luck' just didn't quite hack it somehow.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Week 20 - end of RXT worry beads

Well today was a bit of a momentous day, I suppose, because I had my last fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT) session. I must say that it is a relief to have finished the 28 sessions and to know that there will no longer be a daily hike into the city Monday - Friday.

And yet it seemed so unsatisfactory an ending in many ways ..... I said my good-byes and my thanks to the three radiotherapy technicians on duty and wandered out of the hospital with John feeling totally FLAT.

Well, not flat exactly by sort of unsupported and quite scared. No advice sheet, no contact information, nothing. Now, I know that this is totally stupid because I have an excellent GP who I know I can turn to at any time BUT .............

What next?

Just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Week 17 .... and so it goes

Well I had a really good few days last week. It must have been the new anti-depressants kicking in ... slept better, no headaches and no pains in my face, ear or temple. Marvelous!! Actually words cannot describe how wonderful it was to feel 'normal'. I have forgotten what 'feeling normal' felt like!

Sadly though, it didn't last and the symptoms have gradually returned over the past two or three days. And how. So today I have been advised to start on the dreaded steroids (in the form of dexamethasone, and only a smallish dose) in order to reduce the brain swelling and relieve the symptoms somewhat.

As I have written here before, I have been reluctant to resort to steroid treatment but I now feel that the symptoms are becoming so unpleasant that not to do so might actually lead to more damage to my brain than not taking them!

I have been told that I may only need therapy for about 4 weeks and then I can be weaned off them gradually. This is reassuring as there can be many side effects and most of them are pretty horrible ... although happily the risk is less with shorter courses and smaller doses.

Something about a rock and a hard place springs to mind.