Radiotherapy is OVER

It’s past nine pm here in Southampton, so I’ll keep this post short. In fact, I could let the entire thing slide, except that it’s not right and I’m willing to bet my grandmother is waiting for an update.

Today was the LAST day of radiotherapy. And on top of that, the last day of treatment.

Mastectomy: check.

Chemotherapy: check.

Radiotherapy: check.


It’s incredible. Incredible. Today I lay on the radiotherapy table and stared at the ceiling as the normal procedures went on around me. The nurses were ‘ant’ing and ‘ent’ing, shifting me here and tweaking me there, and I kept thinking ‘this is it – today it’s over’. That’s when the music (did I ever mention they play music during radiotherapy? They play music. It’s a pleasent distraction) . . . when the music switched and the entire treatment room swirled into a vortex of time travel. UB40s Red Red Wine began to play as the nurses left me alone for the radiation, and while the machine clunked and buzzed, I disappeared into a memory of my first dance.

For some reason I had thought it’d be a good idea to wear a knitted, long-sleeved sweater to a dance. A purple, knitted, long sleeve sweater. With a hair band to boot. The girls would all dance in a circle, and the guys would huddle in the corner, and whenever a slow song played people would group up in whispers till one by one it was revealed that so-and-so wanted to dance with her, and so-and-so wanted to dance with him. A kid named Steve asked me to dance, and I flat out refused. Why? Two reasons. ONE: I was wearing a knitted long sleeved sweater to a dance, and was thus sweaty, and therefore smelly. Man! I stank. And these were the early days of puberty, so I hadn’t mastered the whole ‘put on deodorant regularly’ thing.  And TWO: I was head over heels for the boy down my street and wanted my first ever slow dance to be with him.

Which goes to show, it’s good to push for what you want – because at the next dance (where I wore no sweater, but tons of deodorant) I had my very first slow dance with the boy down the street. Red red wine wasn’t playing… it was boys to men’s I Swear, but Red Red Wine played at that first dance and it is so burned into my memory that just the mention takes me back in time.  The entire thing reminds me of being giddy, and uncertain, and just so incredibly excited.

Life’s bag of experience suits me now, but I get why it’s fun to be a kid. Anyhow, that’s what I listened to on the radiotherapy table, and that’s what I thought of as the very last bit of radiation was shot into my chest.

And then it was done. Over. The nurses gave me some parting paperwork, I walked out to the waiting room to collect my husband, and we went home. Easy Peasy. This evening Zsolt and I went out for a date (dinner and dessert) to celebrate the end of treatment. That was good. This is good. Everything is good. Tomorrow I’ll have my hair trimmed to equal lengths, and very soon Zsolt will submit his thesis.

Some things are ending, while others are just getting started. There’s so much to look forward to, it’s really a great feeling. Thanks goodness – THANK GOODNESS – treatment is over. What really felt impossible not too long ago is now here, here and real and right now.

Wow. What a relief. What an experience. And here we are, on the other side.

[There’s still a ways to go, but I think the biggest hurdle has been jumped. Now it’s about recovery, change, and prevention. That’s a lot, but it’s an adventure that I look forward to. In the meantime, I’ll keep slathering cream onto my radiotherapy burn and hope it heals within the next few weeks. All I need to do is look at my skin, or my finger nails, or my hair to know that just because treatment is over, doesn’t mean that the fight is done. Plenty left to get done, plenty left to flush away, plenty left to strive toward. But – this is end of treatment, and that is very good thing. A VERY good thing.]