Nov 21, 2016

Spider bites, radiation tattoos and starting radiation

*Well that's a blog title I never thought I'd write haha*

I'll back up a little bit. Last weekend my partner threw me a lovely surprise party, with pink balloons, pizza and champagne, friends and family. It was a lovely afternoon and I was touched that everyone made the effort and Craig went to so much trouble. I had my first bit of alcohol in 11 months, I had to celebrate end of chemo with a lovely glass of champagne. Unfortunately I had to stop at one due to a nasty rash on my legs which turned out to be a spider bite.....

I've been in Australia ten years now and so far I have been lucky, never getting too close to a spider, apart from the odd huntsman in the shower which is pretty scary. My sister got bitten by a spider in her sleep in Cairns, she got a gorgeous flesh eating bite which was honestly one of the grossest things I've ever seen, she still has a bad scar to this day! It looks like I myself have been bitten in my sleep because I sure as hell don't remember it and I know I have chemo brain but the spiders round here (especially judging by the fang marks on my leg) aren't exactly small!!



I had to call a Doctor out yesterday as there are two large 'bites' on my leg? Not exactly ideal for someone who is going through the weakest stage of their immune system with a low white blood cell count after chemo. I started freaking out and called a home Doctor.

She wasn't 100% but said that one of them was most probably a spider bite and the other one which was very swollen, raised and disgusting looking looked like shingles. So off I went to the ER where they confirmed, one was a spider mark. They didn't quite know what the other one was, other than red and angry and horrible looking, so they prescribed me a bunch of anti viral medication as well as antibiotics.

I am beyond creeped out that I was just either sleeping or absent mindedly walking in the garden or something and a giant spider bit me and ran off without me noticing.

The other exciting news (ok it's not really exciting but it's significant) I had my radiation planning appointment the other day and that meant getting my radiation tattoos. Permanent dot marks tattooed onto my skin, so that they can be lined up with the machine everyday. I got a couple on my sides and one right bang in the middle of my chest, in between my boob and my scar. Which looks like a blackhead, which is pretty annoying but it's not like I have that part of me on display anymore. And hopefully people would think it was a mole, rather than a black head!

Starting Radiation

This post was sat in my drafts for a while and today was the day I started radiotherapy.
I have to say I was really impressed with the hospital, I only sat in the waiting room for a few minutes before I was called into my appointment, where the guy doing the radiation, talked me through everything and reassured me. The staff are so lovely at RBWH I swear. I had also managed to get a free parking space really close by as well.

So for those of you interested in the procedure, you basically just lie down in a machine which looks very similar to a CT scanner.The actual radiation you can't feel at all, it's just a loud whirring noise, like a washing machine. But unfortunately, the position I have to lay in is really painful, with my arms above my head. I have to hold the exact same position for the initial line up scan (lasers to tattoos) and then for the actual radiation which is 7 minutes for me. So all up I'm lying like that for about 15 minutes and I know it doesn't sound that bad, but when you've had a mastectomy and still in a lot of pain from that, combined with severe nerve pain in both hands, where they've been damaged by chemo, I can't tell you the agony I was in this afternoon. It's more panadol, hot baths and tears. It's time like these I wish I wasn't petrified of all medication and didn't have such strong side effects to better pain relief like oxycodone or even frickin panadeine.

I really wasn't expecting to be in so much pain so I felt quite miserable when I got home. I'm meeting with my oncologist today to talk about the nerve main and I'm going to try and get some physio on my arm, where I had the lymph nodes removed, so that the next 24 rounds aren't like a weird form of torture!

I'm hoping the nerve damage in my hands and feet isn't permanent, they did warn me before I started chemo that this could happen and it could be permanent but I didn't think it would be this bad.

Sorry to end this blog post on a negative note. I hate doing that.......

So I'll leave this here at the end instead...

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