This year’s zapping is surprisingly bearable. I had expected something similar to last year’s side effects, which came on fast, were quite hard going and got worse throughout the 32 sessions and carried on for months after.
Comparatively speaking, I’m getting off lightly this time with just slight irritation when I pee, a mild upset stomach and slightly increased fatigue on top of what I already have from the hormone tablets that I take, meaning I now have to sleep for a couple of hours every afternoon. The one alarm bell that started ringing on Day 10 was an increase in my peeing frequency, especially during the night, but if it gets no worse it’s nothing I can’t live with for a while. I’m hoping that my weekend break from treatment will calm things down before I go into the final week.
I live about 30 miles from where the radiotherapy takes place and after two weeks the daily journey becomes a bit tedious. I suppose that contributes to the tiredness I feel, but at least the route we take is picturesque through stereotypical English country lanes in full leaf at the height of summer. We pass through a couple of little villages that could have been plucked out of a brochure from Visit England. From the first day I’ve tried to pretend I’m on holiday and am going out for the day every day, which has involved wearing gaudy clothes whenever possible – by “whenever possible” I really mean weather permitting. That has extended even to socks and underpants. They are revealed in all their “where’s-me-sunglasses” glory when I remove my hospital gown and lay on the slab. Well, if you’ve got it, flaunt it or, in my case, if you used to have it, flaunt it.
By this time next week the radiotherapy will be over but the daily pill taking remains. With luck all my cancer will have been fried sufficiently to kill it, there won’t be any more anywhere else that’s too small to see on a scan, and I’ll be cured. I won’t know if that’s the case for quite a while, maybe 18 months or two years until I do, but I’m optimistic. I wouldn’t be in this positive and hopeful position were it not for our fantastic NHS but particularly my current medical team, all of whom have gone all out to get me to where I am. Whatever happens (!) I will always be thankful for what they’ve done.
Until I find out one way or the other, life goes on and we’re planning to get away again before the end of the summer. I might not be allowed to sit in the sun but I sure can sit under a beach umbrella and enjoy watching everybody else strutting their stuff (I thought the hormone pills were supposed to stop lustful thoughts). If prostate cancer’s effects on sexual function have had one positive consequence, it’s that no matter what’s going on in my mind I no longer have any embarrassing man-moments on the naturist beach, so I suppose it’s not all bad.