my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

in which we talk radiotherapy


We have dates! Went to the Marsden yesterday, all by myself, armed with a stick so I look disabled and people steer well clear. Saw the lovely Dr Aisha Miah, who remembered me from the last visit. She is a tiny, but very reassuring, presence; someone you can ask all the nagging questions. Like the one about the hotspot in my groin lymph glands that the PET scan had picked up and I have been angsting about, knowing the cancer cells could have travelled. No need to worry, sarcoma cells do not become lymphatic cancers; if they do spread it is to the chest/lung and liver (not sure quite how reassuring THAT is!). So my next scan will be in April and then three-monthly thereafter.

Next Thursday (16th) I go to have my leg cast made; then Friday a localised CT scan of the leg so they can position the ray machine correctly. Then start properly 30 Jan, though I am hoping she can bring this forward a few days, so I can escape to Singapore for a couple of weeks before coming back for Easter and my first scan. Each session will take 30 mins. For the first 5 weeks they will irradiate the whole leg, and the last week and a half they will notch it up a bit to concentrate on the sarcoma area to zap any remaining tumour cells.

I have signed a consent paper, which is rather grim reading.

Intended benefits: improved survival; prevention of recurrence

Serious or frequently recurring risks:

Acute – skin reaction (redness, tenderness, breakdown…severe discomfort); tiredness, oedema (very likely)

Later – permanent skin discolouration; thickening of skin; impairment of joint/limb function (esp. knee joint) fracture risk; secondary cancers; lymphoedema.

She says I will need wide trousers to prevent irritation – so a visit ot Primark in Oxford Street is called for! Help! and lots of aqueous creams…

So not much to worry about then!

We had a giggle about the Prof’s views on training women doctors: I was interested to gauge her views. She said, ‘I told him he had better wear shin pads in addition to full body armour’.

*                 *                *

Meanwhile, to help me prepare and boost my immunity and general well-being,  I have started doing free weights and sit-ups in addition to the physio. I am also working my way through a lovely Chinese cookery book of recipes especially for cancer patients. Luckily we have a TCM shop (traditional Chinese medicine) just down the road for foxglove root , hyacinth bean seed and the like.

I am also walking unaided: last night went to 12 Years a Slave  – by bus! – and walked up the road to the Chinese restaurant; I can do the half-mile aller/retour to England’s Lane  to do shopping, and I have just traded in my sexy red mini Cooper for a rather less glam second-hand metallic black automatic. Arrives next week. So I intend to live as normal a life as possible during my incarceration in London for treatment.

Pickle loves to  rub her face against my legs. See how form the front my calf looks almost normal!

Pickle loves to rub her face against my legs. See how from the front my calf looks almost normal!

I was reminded of the fragility of life last week (as if I needed reminding). On the way to Geneva airport we saw the most terrible accident; a white van with all windows blown out, children’s toys, bikes and sledges scattering the road and bank, and the family dog – a beautiful red setter – being stroked by a paramedic. It was the only living thing left at the site, but not for long.  It raised its head woefully to look right at us while the vet sent him to sleep.

I am haunted by the image of that family: one minute returning from a lovely Christmas holiday, car packed with presents; the next and their lives are forever blighted.

All the more resolved to make the most of it.

Author: vickyunwin

I am a writer and traveller. Our darling daughter Louise died on 2 March 2011, aged 21 ( and I started writing as therapy. We never know how long we have on this earth, so I live for every November 2013 I was diagnosed and operated on for a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in the calf, followed by 6.5 weeks of radiotherapy, so am embarking on a different kind of journey which you can follow here. I also have another site with my blueprint for health and well-being.

2 thoughts on “in which we talk radiotherapy

  1. So sorry for your terrible loss😢 I had breast cancer 7 years ago and have developed bad pain in my leg,groin And heel,and my right calf has a small swelling! Do you think my cancer has spread?

    • I have no idea but it does sound like you need to go and see your doctor ASAP. Breast secondaries can come as bone as cancer which might give you aches and pains. The one thing I learned was listen to your body. Good luck.

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