Planning

Yesterday we had B’s radiotherapy planning session at the London Cancer Clinic.

First he had blood taken and contrast dye injected for the CT scan. The scan will be used to plan the direction of the radiation beam over the 30 treatments. The nurse had a bit of trouble inserting the cannula and had to try a few times. I asked B afterwards whether it hurt and he said ‘yes, very much’. I couldn’t tell as he had his German expression on, which is the same whether happy, sad, in mortal agony, etc.

Then he had his mask prepared for the radiotherapy. It is designed to keep his head perfectly still during the treatment. It’s made from a sheet of plastic mesh which is pliable when wet. This was stretched over his head while he was lying face up, and attached to the bed on either side. Over a few minutes it then hardended into the exact shape of his face and skull. I was watching this from the side and it was a bit upsetting, he looked so vulnerable. As you do when you’re strapped to a machine by the head.

I hope he is able to keep it afterwards, he can wear it on Halloween when opening the door to trick or treaters.

Then we had a talk with a patient liaison officer about the expected side effects (tiredness, mostly). She seemed surprised to hear that neither of us are sleeping very well at the moment. ‘Is that because you’re worried?’ Well yes, lady, that is indeed the reason.

My sleep has improved now that I’m spending my nights upstairs in our second bedroom. I find it easier to be restless when B isn’t there, as I’m not worrying about disturbing him. It’s also allowed me to assess the flat from a guest’s perspective. It’s pretty comfortable. I’m working on B to provide fresh flowers and a cooked breakfast.

I’m really glad I went to the planning session as now I know what B will be going through every day during the treatment and I’m confident that he is in the best hands at the London Clinic. It’s turned out that his private health insurance will not cover the entire cost, so he will be paying the shortfall.

Although the treatment would be the same under the NHS, there would be a wait as his tumour is not considered to be the most life-threatening type. Fair enough if others have to come first on the NHS, but at least we have the option to pay for private and have the treatment immediately (which is what The German recommends, and you don’t mess with The German).

We’ll be making the most of the extras that come with private care – bring on the tea and biscuits. B is allowed 4 complementary therapy sessions (eg. massage, reflexology) and we are entitled to 8 counselling sessions, which we will definitely be using.

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