My day

It’s probably not a surprise, but I’m spending a lot more time in bed these days. It’s more from the accumulation of symptoms than from one particular symptom. Combined, they wear you down. I manage to get by okay, but if I find time for proper rest at any time, I quickly succumb to it.

I’m sleeping about 10 hours a night. Before I got cancer, I was sleeping about 7.5 hours nightly. I look forward to sleep as it takes me away from everything else. I wake up quite regularly through the night, but it’s always restful.

When I wake in the morning, I get a supplement to drink, quickly check the news, and then get ready for the day. My radiotherapy appointments are always early, and the ambo transport arrives around 8am.

I’ve had 16 days of going in and out and probably had a dozen different drivers. Most of them are pretty chatty. I go along with it, but I’m just as happy to travel silently. I’m tired, weakened, and occasionally dealing with more troubling issues like light-headedness. Plus, it tires me out to talk too much. But I play along if they want to talk – they’re all friendly, as you would expect – because I’m grateful.

I know the route so well by now that I’m bored with it, though occasionally, a driver will change it slightly, tempting me to let him know that if he goes this way instead, we’ll get there sooner. I never do.

I check in at the hospital and greet the girls in reception, who know me by the first name now. I go down the back to the waiting room, collecting my ‘mask’ from the cupboard it’s kept in. Generally, I’m called in within five minutes. The routine then is simple. I greet the radiologists, who I’ve got to know. I’ll confirm my ID while I remove my mask, glasses, and clothing above my waist.

I lay down on the ‘bed’. They’ll stuff both nostrils with fabric, and I’ll fit in the mouthpiece. Then they’ll fix the mask in position – so tight I can feel it press against my eyelids.

The actual procedure takes about 6-7 minutes, as I’ve described previously. I let my mind drift in this period. I’ve got used to it by now, and before you know, they’re back removing the mask and the fabric from my nose. I’m dressed and out of there – see you tomorrow!

The ambo collects me from reception, and we make the trip home. I arrive back somewhere between 10.15 and 10.45.

Quite often, I’ll climb into bed when I get back. I’ll read or browse my iPad, but it doesn’t take long to get pretty drowsy. I’ll lay down and let it take me. On average, I’ll sleep for a couple of hours.

I’ll get up after and have lunch – generally nothing much more than a yoghurt or sustagen. Nothing tastes much good.

If any, I’ll catch up on my email and will probably sit down to watch something on TV. More recently, I’ve gone back to bed to do this. I watch The Twilight Zone and other cable TV programs. Sometimes I’ll sit on the couch and watch The Cook Up – strange how I’m drawn to cooking programs now that I can’t eat. I’m also on the last series of Breaking Bad.

(Yesterday, I actually attended a work meeting on Zoom).

Somewhere in the afternoon, I’ll have a hot bath because I find it soothes me. In the meantime, the neighbour across the road will take Rigby for a walk.

In the evening, I’ll have a light dinner, watch the news, etc., and am in bed somewhere around 8-8.30. I’ll watch an hour of TV there, then read for a little while. Lights out generally around 9.30, and quickly to sleep.

Then I do it all again. Tomorrow will be a bit different as I have my chemo session. Not something to look forward to, but needs must.

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