Riding the Rollercoaster: Lights, Lasers, Action Week one #54


Respite over now, this week sees the start of my five weeks radiotherapy treatment.

I slept pretty well the night before my first treatment, which might come as a bit of a surprise to some of you – did to me if I am honest! I read an excellent book years ago by a police constable by the name of Harry Cole who reckoned that innocent people in the cells would not sleep a wink the night before they went up before the Magistrates fretting about how to defend their innocence, whereas; the guilty always slept soundly because they knew it would be a long time before they managed to get a decent sleep again…

If you have followed my # regularly, you will be familiar with my need & intention to keep things as normal as possible because I don’t like handing over the keys. No different now & as planned, I have driven myself  to Springfield Cancer Centre every day, which is my choice. parking angel

I will do it for as long as I am able to do so safely as I don’t want to put anyone else at risk. Of course this potentially makes parking an issue, at least if you get a lift that becomes someone else’s problem – but so far it’s been ok.


I wasn’t certain what to expect when I got there :I couldn’t make the once monthly evening meet & greet ahead of starting treatment (but I would recommend anyone who is able to attend that they do).

The environment is lovely, spacious, light & bright, reception staff/volunteers friendly & helpful – if you aren’t constrained (as I am) to have a “comfortably filled bladder” or any other anatomical restrictions or prerequisites for your treatment, then you can take full advantage of the lovely people at the (W)RVS* coffee shop.

There are information points , you can buy little bits to help support Cancer Research, a choice of things to watch on the three tv’s dotted around the big waiting area.  the majority of people have someone with them which is lovely – unlike St Trinian’s waiting rooms, everyone seems keen to natter here!

ignoreThe not so lovely thing is that it can get very busy & it can get VERY noisy. I think it is a combination of the lofty ceiling & open space, people who may not realise that they have some hearing loss & the natural tendency for voices to raise in unconscious competition in order to be heard. Thankfully, they don’t serve alcohol here – otherwise it could become unbearable! Unfortunately there aren’t any “Quiet Carriages” & the November weather doesn’t lend itself to sitting outside…

I don’t have long to wait until I am called by a Radiographer who introduces himself – let’s call him Gabriel Hucknall & taken into a treatment room to have a chat about the treatment etc. He notes that I have a birthday coming up soon, I tell you this only because as he goes through the questions he needs to ask me a little later, he says so you are 56…

I reply that no, I am 55 for another eight days “Oh, in that case I will have to ask you (sorry) – is there any chance that you may be pregnant”? How did I respond? Well, you are wrong! I was very nice about it – after all it isn’t Gabriel’s fault that he didn’t know (because apparently it wasn’t written on the notes) that I no longer have the necessary equipment : “where’s it gonna gestate? in a box?!” But yes you are right, I did share my amusement that suddenly on one’s 56th birthday fertility skips off in to the sunset, there’s that OFF button again…

mum_1761119bOf course, rightly or wrongly much older women are now giving birth & so it seems strange to choose 56 as the cut off point, particularly as one should never assume, but rather check!

I receive yet more printed information: I must surely be on my way to be responsible for the continuing deforestation of the planet? , as well as a “Distress” questionnaire to  complete before Thursday when I will have my first “Review Meeting”…


Gabriel observes that I seem distressed, I reassure him that I am not so much distressed as apprehensive (a natural enough state given the circumstances), but he & his colleagues help quieten my anxities by respecting my choice not to put on a gown & are cool about my Happy Place CD too.

So there I will leave it for now, I am still trying to formulate the right words to describe  time “in” the machine at the moment.


Hope to catch you again!


Holly xx


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