I’ve tried, since I started writing this #, to be as honest as I can be about the treatments which I have had for my NLB (alias Cancer of the Womb).
The final week of treatment: (brachyradiotherapy) is the most intimate procedure I have had while I awake. I thought it might be helpful to take a step by step look at it, for those who either need to know or who are just interested.
I favour skirts or dresses when I go for treatment as you know, removing trousers would just be too much for to deal with (at least for me)… It’s more important now, because the DXR room is located in the oldest part of the hospital. There are no changing rooms. They wheel out a little x-ray safe screen for modesty’s sake for you to divest your underwear & offer a green surgical towel for you to wrap around yourself if you need it.
This done, it’s time to get on the Lithotomy Chair. In the past, this piece of furniture was favoured for the delivery of babies, pretty obviously it gives an excellent view of the vagina & ensures that the woman is unable to make any extreme movements of her legs; or run away! The preparation & radiotherapy takes about 15 minutes from start to finish – so it’s important to try & get as comfortable as possible before it starts…
At the first appointment you are given an internal examination to establish the size of your vagina. The sterile packs contain different sizes & the radiographer selects the correct one for you. The obdurator (A), hereafter to be known as “Bud”, is inserted as gently as possible. It needs to be positioned with the tip at the top of the vagina. Part B remains outside the body. This can be quite painful & is certainly uncomfortable until it is in the correct position. The radiographer instructs you to take a deep breath in & then slowly release it to help.
Easy to say, difficult to do but trying to stay relaxed(hohoho) will make the placing of “Bud” easier.
OK. Bud in place, it now needs to be connected to the radio source part B is attached to part C & then you’re good to go as they say! Looking at the machine now, it resembles a cross between a wet & dry vacuum cleaner & one of those robots you would see in an old Sci-Fi B movie (or is it just me?)
All that is left to do now is to keep as still and relaxed (!) as possible & wait to be “cooked”. The sounds are quite different here to the external radiotherapy machines. There’s a very quiet whirring that reminds me of our coffee grinder (not as alarming as it might sound from the description!) & then a continuous “tinging” while the radiotherapy is being delivered. This tinging is actually quite nice & reminds me of the Christmas Angel Chimes decoration which we always had on the table for tea over the Christmas season.
Apart from that the only thing to do is to lie back & wait for it to be over. The one good thing about this treatment room is that there is a pretty picture on the ceiling for you to contemplate if you wish. And you can actually see it! unlike the pictures in LA7 & LA8 rooms which are sadly obstructed by the machinery.
I was told on my first day that there are pictures within the flowers & asked by the truly wonderful therapeutic radiographer who I will call Wished For, (because I had so hoped for someone like her) to see if I could spot Shakespeare. On subsequent days I have found an angel, a frog & a fish!
I definitely do feel this treatment, it doesn’t hurt but it is a weird feeling. I was told that I might feel a slight sensation of vibration which I do, but it isn’t intense & Bud certainly wouldn’t be marketable as a, hemhem “marital aid” !
Then it’s all over & once you are unshipped & the chair is lowered, it’s just a case of regaining your land-legs, replacing the pants & hobbling off in a slightly bow-legged cowboy style to find your chauffeur & go home.
Thank goodness there are only five of these!