Yep. It's all over. 20 doses of radiation directly to the tumour that has caused excruciating pain in my left pelvic area and down the left leg to the knee. The pain has been masked for the past few weeks while the medicos worked on a combination of pain management medication. I have been pain free for quite a few weeks, still am, but there's really no way of knowing whether it's the medication or the radiotherapy - or both - that have contributed to this. I'm sure it was the medication to begin with, but now the radiotherapy treatment has finished and the results will not be known for at least another 6 weeks when I visit the radiotherapy oncologist for a follow-up meeting. The effect of the therapy continues for about that long, so there will be a gradual easing back of the medication during this time.
In fact I started the easing back on the medication myself, by accident, least weekend. On Saturday morning I got up and went straight off to my normal early Saturday social event - a cuppa with my previous walking group (with which I can't keep up any more, so I don't walk, just meet them for a cuppa and a chat). I didn't have time to take the myriad of pills before I went, so thought I would take them when I got back. Trouble is it took me most of the day before I returned home and even gave the medication a thought. By the time I realised I hadn't taken any of it, I also realised that I was still not in any pain and had been walking easily, if not robustly.
I decided then and there to continue with the evening meds, give up the morning meds, every day unless the pain returned. And it has all been fine. I have almost halved my intake of 'drugs' and might just be on my way to avoiding being put onto a methadone program permanently. The thought of it!!
Anyway, I've confessed my sins to my GP and the pain management medico, the estimable Dr. Roger Cole, and they have both forgiven me my sins and endorsed my strategy.
The other naughty thing I did without medical endorsement was, several weeks ago, to stop taking the morning steroid pills that were part of the pain management strategy - apparently it's very good for reducing swelling in the offending muscle. But it's a steroid! One morning while brushing my teeth I looked in the bathroom mirror and didn't recognise the face looking back at me. It was all puffy and fat around the jowels - not what I had been used to - at least for the past 6 years. I owned up to that to the medicos and they said it was my choice (as are they all) and to start taking them again if I went back into pain. As that didn't happen, I didn't take them again - until yesterday morning.
That was Thursday morning. On Wednesday afternoon I had a text message conversation with Dr. Cole and fessed up to my more recent sin. I related that the radiotherapy had recently taken the wind out of my sails - energy wise - fatigue had set in and all I did all day was lie on the bed or the couch and wait for whichever wonderful friend or relative had volunteered to take me to the hospital for my therapy. People were doing my shopping, bringing me nourishing food and generally pampering me. Dr. Cole suggested that if I didn't mind chipmunking through the next couple of weeks and took up the steroids again it would help me get off the couch. My text back to him was to answer that I would ponder his suggestion and let him know the outcome. So...... yesterday morning I took one of the prescribed 2 Dexamethasone tablets - just dipping my toe in the water. It seemed like a myrical, my usual one hour in the morning of energy lasted 'til about 3 in the afternoon when I finally crashed after coming back from treatment.
So this morning I took the prescribed 2 Dex, and here I am typing this post at 10pm after doing the washing, changing the bed, going to bank and PO etc and being out for most of the day - lunching with special friends, Karen and Steve by the beach and having tea at home after last treatment today with my friend and driver, Ann. She left at 5.45pm and I was still full of energy. Gosh! I hope I can sleep tonight. I guess I'll just have to make the chipmunk look the latest fashion :)
While all this couch lounging has been going on I have been devastated by all the television news reports of the massive flooding through Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The number of people who have been dislodged from their homes and businesses and whose lives and livelihoods have been decimated is very heart wrenching, not to mentoin the loss of at least 2 lives. It's a miracle and a blessing that there haven't been more. And the destructive Queensland floods were only one year ago. We must all find a way to help - in any way we can.
It's now 10.20pm on Friday 9 March and I'm off to bed to try to sleep before going to a 60th birthday lunch time celebration for a life-long family friend - well, his life anyway! Happy 60th for tomorrow, Tony xx