Grit My Teeth


It gets a lot more difficult from here on in. The sickness and vomiting is rampant, and my memory is hazy. The next three radiotherapy sessions take me to Christmas Eve. As a detraction from the radiation firing through my head, the operators play music. After I get dressed, I give the operators a nice bottle of wine each as a present and chat for a moment. We talk about where we’re spending Christmas and one operator asks how things are going. I had to be honest.

“That was the worst session I’ve had.”

A few faces drop and the team leader asks why.

“It’s that Christmas song you played, it was terrible!” I reply. We all smile and I turn to go on my way. Before I reach the waiting room, the team leader stops me for a quiet word.

“You’re doing really very well you know. Compared to a lot of other patients, you haven’t missed a session, despite how sick you feel. Stick in there, you’re doing great.” He patted me on the shoulder.

I’m taken aback. Dr Gavaghan is always upbeat every fortnight, but I just turn up to each radiotherapy session and go home. This is the first time someone on the radiation frontline has encouraged me and I take heart. He went out of his way to give me hope. I get a massive boost from his words.

I have a revised radiotherapy schedule over Christmas and the New Year because I’m told that, if I take a break over this period, the radiotherapy probably won’t work. Any relaxation of my daily pain may therefore kill me. So, my weekends are taken up with radiation as well now. I go through to the following Sunday without a break, right up to New Years Eve and session number twenty-two. This is less of a respite than I’m used to and the intensity is ferocious. But I will do what it takes for this to work. I need to spend each afternoon in bed, resting between the treatments.

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