The Melody of Radiotherapy – Epilogue

The Melody of Radiotherapy – Epilogue

This is hopefully my last entry for this chapter called The Melody Radiotherapy. So what could I possibly write here now that I am done with radiotherapy? Well I thought I would like to share with you all my playlists which have helped me get through the last 5 weeks. Thank you to all of my friends for their music suggestions!!! My favourite tunes are in bold. (Oh and a little note on the end – one of my friends made me a mix CD with some of my favourite tunes from my playlists – how AWESOME is that!!!!! Thank you!!¨)

Day Outward Journey Return Journey
1 Diane Warwick – That’s what Friends are for  Eminem feat. Lil Wayne – Not afraid
2 Kris Menace – e-love  Steve Tyrell – On the sunny side of the street  
3 Jack’s Mannequin – Swim Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Home  
4 Coldplay – Life in Technicolour II    Sanatana– Jin-Go-La-Ba
5 Tim Buckley – Goodbye and Hello     Jon Lord– Pictured Within
6 Simon and Garfunkel – The sound of silence      Juan Luis Guerra– Las Avispas  
7 Tone Damli – Butterflies Frou Frou – Let Go
8 Sirius Plan – Call me (Blondie cover) Shakira – Gypsy
9 PJ Harvey – Horses in my dream Adele – Someone like you   
10 The Jayhawks – Smile   James Morrison feat. Jessie J  – Up
11 Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait    Silbermond– Das Beste
12 Counting Crows – Mr. Jones     Christina Aguilera– Fighter
13 Joni Mitchell – The Circle Game      Rhianna– Umbrella
14 Fun – Carry on R. Kelly– I believe I can fly
15 Spirit of the West– Home for a rest Melissa Etheridge – I run for life  
16 The Script feat. will.i.am– Hall of Fame   JD Samson & MEN – Off our backs   
17 Survivor– Eye of the Tiger    Azealia Banks – 212   
18 Jet– She’s a Genius     Amanda Palmer – Map of Tasmania  
19 The Mighty Mighty Bosstones– Someday I suppose     Dizzie Rascal – Bassline Junkie    
20 They Might Be Giants– No One Knows My Plan Billy Currington – People are Crazy     
21 Destiny’s Child– Survivor Faithless – Insomnia
22 Radiohead– Nude Thais – Meditation
23 Bee Gees– More than a woman Regina Spektor– Fidelity
24 Gloria Gaynor – I will survive Regina Spektor – Ne me quitte pas
25 Celtic Woman – You raise me up Of Monsters and Men – Dirty Paws

 

Back-Up Songs

Mumford and Sons – Lover of the Light
Seasons of Love from the movie Rent
Kings of Leon – Be Somebody
Kings of Leon – My Sex is on Fire
Levellers – What a Beautiful Day
Coldplay – Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet
Sim Redmond Band – Life is Water
Israel – IZ – Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere over the Rainbow
Lenny Kravitz – Believe
The Rembrandts – I will be there for you
Kate Voegele – Sweet Silver Lining
Mozart – Divertimento no.1
Silbermond – Irgendwas bleibt
Bruno Mars – When I was your Man  
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The Melody of Radiotherapy – Day 25

After a much needed nap, a sleepy warrior, put on her pink battle shirt and, accompanied by her mum, who is her bravest solider in this battle, headed to the National Radiotherapy Centre for the last and final cycle of her radiotherapy. I was greeted by a cheerful and beaming secretary with the lovely words “This is your final session Miss Raspberry”. After having completed the paperwork, I presented her with a box of Belgian chocolates to thank her and her colleagues for the warm reception I had received every single working day for the past 5 weeks. Their smiles had made such a difference to this annoying daily hospital routine. The procedure today was like every day. Red light. Green light. Click. Clack. Red light. Green light. Click Clack. No funny ginger-lemongrass smell though. A final photograph was taken of my radiated skin for my medical folder. Then I was out again, with a reminder to go see my radiotherapist for a final consultation, and the words “Bonne Continuation”, which means as much as good luck with the remainder of my treatment. I did my silly happy dance in the changing room, and looking at myself in the mirror, all I could see was a massively big smile on my face. The doctor was pleased with how my skin looks, all normal he said, and just added that I need to come back in a year’s time for a check-up. I got that appointment from another secretary who then sent me off with the words “We really hope not to see you again. Get well soon.”  I really hope that I won’t have to see them either again, unless it is for an annual check-up. Then I was in the taxi and all I could think of was “It is OVER. Round 3 is OVER.” A sleepy warrior is back home now and is treating herself to a few Manon Blanc Café from Leonidas, her favourite Belgian chocolates with a light coffee-flavoured fresh butter cream filling topped with a roasted hazelnut and covered in white chocolate. Maybe the warrior should crack open a bottle of bubbly as well, if she does not fall asleep trying to do it….

 

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Outward Journey: Celtic Woman– You raise me up  

Return Journey: Of Monsters and Men– Dirty Paws

 

The Melody of Radiotherapy – Day 24

After a fun filled weekend, involving dinner with a friend from elementary school, wine tasting and a trip to a museum in Germany (which left no time for blogging even though my little notebook is overflowing with notes for new writing material by now), I was back to the hospital today. This was my second-last radiotherapy session, how cool is that?

In the waiting room I got chatting to a very admirable man who is his driving his partner to the radiotherapy centre every day. This is what I call true love. (I will be making a mental note of this – the bar for my future other half just got raised quite high). In our very brief conversation we realised that we both live in the same commune (or municipality), so just a stone’s throw away from each other. We both also frequent the same cocktail bar/restaurant in this particular little town, so he suggested we should all get together for a drink at some point and exchange numbers for that matter – so I happily provided my details. I guess it must be incredibly hard for him to see his beloved partner being sick and undergoing treatment. I was really glad to have been given the opportunity to talk to him today, I think that way too often we forget to ask how the army of fighters around the main warrior are doing… So dear family, friends and “lovers”… How are you doing?

In view of tomorrow I have already been practising my happy dance for my radiotherapy graduation – I looked really silly but I so did not care J Uuuh and eating ice-creams on my cab journey home in the sun is becoming my new favourite hobby…

So what has my evening got lined up for me? I have the very exciting task of filling out my evaluation questionnaire for the hospital (grin grin grin), before I intend to reading two plays for my theatre group meeting tomorrow (yes I do have a life outside of my treatment) while sipping a glass of wine on the terrace…

1 more radiotherapy session to go…. Only 24 hours left… I am happy… so many good little things have been happening the last few days… Life is wonderful

Outward Journey: Gloria Gaynor– I will survive  

Return Journey: Regina Spektor– Ne me quitte pas

 

The Melody of Radiotherpay – Day 23

Radiant. That is how one my colleagues described me today. He was completely serious, and was not playing with words nor being sarcastic; he reassured me. I felt so very happy today, for no particular reason. And I guess that happiness came from deep within and was able to shine through, bringing out my real beauty.

2 more radiotherapy sessions to go….

Outward Journey: Bee Gees– More than a woman

Return Journey: Regina Spektor– Fidelity

Additional Songs: Silbermond – Irgendwas bleibt and Bruno Mars – When I was your Man  

The Melody of Radiotherapy – Day 22

Laughter. Stupid, silly laughter, is by far the best medicine for the soul. On my way home from hospital trip 2 – I had an appointment with the breast cancer nurse today – was just utterly hilarious. The taxi driver, another fellow warrior and I laughed so much that we all turned red like tomatoes. Our conversation evolved around on how the other two could best set me up on a date with my favourite taxi driver who is incredibly good looking, cute, sexy and hot, and whom I have a very mild crush on. My poor tummy was aching from so much laughter. Absolutely wonderful

A glass, or maybe two, of Kir Royal, which is an aperitif consisting of crémant with cassis (for my non-Luxembourgish friends this is sparkling wine with red currant liqueur), is very good medicine for the mind too, trust me J Every single day has got a silver lining on the horizon, you just need to look for it. And if it is not there, then you just got to paint it in the sky.

Only 3 more sessions to go. I can see that finish line. Round 3 of my battle is coming to an end. I am nearly there, I just need one last effort…

Outward Journey: Radiohead– Nude

Return Journey: Thais – Meditation

     

The Melody of Radiotherapy – Day 21

Stupid administration and bureaucracy really got me down yesterday. But how could I be down when the sun was shining?; the receptionist at the radiotherapy centre asked me. When I explained my reasons, she was very understanding, and gave me a really good piece of advice: take this journey step by step, deal with one thing at a time, and you will see that everything will get sorted out. Compartmentalising, is what I think my friend Miss Lovely, would call it. Compartmentalising is good, I think.

I had to wait around 40 minutes for my taxi to come and pick me up from hospital, and I was beginning to get grumpy, when a little voice in my head told me “Hey, hold on a second, you need to stop being in this crappy mood. Do something to change it!” So off I went to the newspaper agent, got myself an ice-cream (applying one of my life lessons, namely the one that Ice-cream makes everything better) and listened to Mozart’s Divertimento No.1 from my backup song list. Classical music has a really soothing effect on me, so it was exactly what I needed.

The effects of radiotherapy are really starting to kick in – I was so tired last night that I fell asleep on the couch while watching an episode from a crime series. And this morning I had troubles getting out of bed, I was so sleepy. So I applied another life lesson: Listen to your body, and stayed in a bed for as long as I needed, giving my body as much sleep as it required.

Outward Journey: Destiny’s Child– Survivor

Return Journey: Faithless – Insomnia

Extra: Mozart – Divertimento no.1

     

The Melody of Radiotherapy – Day 20

Tired. Exhausted. Emotionally drained. I feel like someone has just unplugged from my energy source. I was fine all day, am working on my ever-increasing to-do-list at work, but I think the last radiotherapy session has really done me. For the first time since I have started this treatment, I had a lie down, a good long nap, upon my return from hospital. I thought I was doing so well, that I was a model radiotherapy patient. After having completed week 4 of my 5-week treatment and not having felt tired, I assumed that I would be spared the tiredness, a side effect of radiotherapy. Wrong, so very wrong; I just want to sleep, sleep a lot, for many, many hours. I just don’t understand this sudden change…. Only one more week to go. Only 5 more sessions. I need to keep hanging in there….but before I do that I will cuddle up in my duvet and have another round of sleep; that is the nice bit about this battle, I can fight while being asleep….

Outward Journey: They Might Be Giants– No One Knows My Plan

Return Journey: Billy Currington – People are Crazy     

The Melody of Radiotherapy – Day 19

Sunburn. So spring or early summer has finally decided to arrive, so I celebrated the occasion with a picnic in the park in the company of some expat friends yesterday. I packed a lovely picnic basket with boiled eggs; potato salad; green salad with mushrooms, onions and tomatoes; some chocolate, water, a blanket and towel. What did I forget? The sunscreen. So yep, so my arms and neck are lobster red, result of no sun protection and exposure to midday sun. Stupid me. Very stupid me. Very, very silly stupid me. I borrowed some sun cream from mates, but did this way too late in the afternoon…

I was getting worried that I might get told off in the hospital today, because apparently (and I only just learned this today), should people undergoing radiation therapy avoid the sun because the skin exposed to the radiation is very sensitive to the sun’s rays. My taxi driver, one of the very nice ones, also said that he had patients who had to completely avoid beach holidays while undergoing treatment. I was seriously worrying the whole journey whether or not I would now be told to avoid the sun for a while after treatment (this would be seriously horrible, especially as the sun has just started coming out)… but no such thing happened. I will ask my radiologist tomorrow and check with him, as I really want to be able to enjoy the summer months safely… which I means that I am putting my sunscreen in my handbag RIGHT NOW…..

 

Outward Journey: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones– Someday I suppose    

Return Journey: Dizzie Rascal – Bassline Junkie    

The Melody of Radiotherapy – Day 18

Sorry I am a bit late in posting this! Busy weekend meant no blogging…

Pain. In the right shoulder where the nurse gave me the cervarix vaccine, to prevent infection from certain HPV (human papillomavirus) types which can cause cervical cancer. My right shoulder is sore, it hurts when someone is trying to poke me or I am trying to shift gears when driving. On top of that I had my least favourite taxi driver today, I get the impression that he just complains a tad too much about his job, I know that everybody can have a bad day at work, it just seems that he always seems to have a bad day when it is his turn to drive me to and from the hospital (I really hope it has nothing to do with me), so my patience with him is growing a bit thin. So I tried to zoom out of it, sang along to Jet’s “She’s a genius” (That girl’s a genius/ Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh/ I think she’s serious/Who oh oh oh oh oh oh) and focused on happy thoughts and my upcoming weekend plans: Mr. MoneyPenny’s surprise birthday party, Miss Duck’s birthday dinner, and a picnic on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the park. And my mood already improved considerably….

Outward Journey: Jet– She’s a Genius

Return Journey: Amanda Palmer – Map of Tasmania   

The Melody of Radiotherapy – Day 17

I am so proud of myself for having made it through this 48 hour treatment marathon session. Even though it was not really pleasant, I am glad that there were many little things that have helped me get through the following:

  1. Needles: I never used to be afraid of needles, and could endure them pretty well (no fainting for me), but every chemo and every Herceptin IV means a new needle being stuck into one of my veins, as I don’t have a port. At the beginning this was ok, but as time went on, I have become more sensitive and every new injection becomes more painful. Having a needle stuck into your thumb hurts the most because there are so many nerves in that part of the body. It is also becoming more and more difficult for the nurses to find suitable veins on my right hand, hence why they have to look for ones further up my arm. Unfortunately they are not allowed to use my left hand or arm as during surgery a lymph node was removed from my left armpit and every new injection could lead to swelling. I don’t think it will be very long until I start crying when they stick a needle inside of me again…
  2. Headache: The rise of temperature (a difference of 10 degrees Celsius over 24 hours) caused a headache, which on top of everything else, was not nice to say the least.
  3. More appointments: so once I was out of the first hospital appointment, I had to make a couple of phone calls to arrange some more medical appointments – check-ups with my oncologist and my cardiologist. Meeehh.
  4. Hormone therapy: My oncologist told me today that once I am done with my radiotherapy, I need to start a hormone therapy, which means taking a hormone tablet every day for 5-10 YEARS. This just feels so awfully long. I have never been a fan of medications or drugs…. I am not looking forward to this.
  5. Work: as the last 48 hours were so filled up with medical appointments I have not been able to do any work, which I hate as I detest not being productive.

For the moment I am trying to not think about all those 5 points, as they lie in the future, but rather focus on the good things, which happened today:

  1. Spring: the mild temperatures enabled me to swap my winter coat for my beige trench coat which I love so much.
  2. Nap: In between two hospital appointments I was able to have a bit of a nap. It enjoyed taking some time out and chillax a bit.
  3. My outward journey song – Eye of the Tiger: it reminded me that I am a warrior and that I can do this, I can finish this battle, I can win. It made me feel like Rocky getting ready for the next boxing fight.
  4. New blog: I discovered a new blog today (The Reporter and the Girl minus the Superman) which I enjoyed reading a lot on my way to my radiotherapy.
  5. Chocolate: is back in my life. There were little Easter Eggs for the patients to help themselves to at the reception at the radiology centre in the hospital. And there has been lovely Côte d’Or Chocolate with nuts at home. Yummy.
  6. Nails: I used my lunch break today to get my nails done. They are shining in a lovely light pink, with a purple flower pattern and some glitzy-glittery stones. A moment of beauty and indulgence.
  7. Breakfast: Mum and I have developed this routine of having breakfast together whenever I had to go into the hospitals to be hooked on the IV. I usually get my creamy muesli (sold out today unfortunately) and a roll with butter and jam.
  8. Laughter: the doctors and nurses had a really good laugh today in the radiology centre, I don’t know why, but there laughter was so infectious that I had to laugh as well.
  9. Favourite Series: My favourite TV series is on tonight with a double feature –so I am writing this while watching Criminal Minds.
  10. Music: As I have 30 songs on each of my outward and return journey playlist, but only have 25 radiotherapy sessions, so I had some extra songs to listen to, which I did. I hit play for songs 26-30, and my day improved considerab

So the positives outweigh the negatives 2:1. That is really awesome 🙂 So let me finish off this blog with Kate Voegle’s lyrics from her song Sweet Silver Lining.

I am going home

Downhearted and hoping

I’m close to some new beginning

But so many people are looking to me

To be strong and to fight

But I’m just surviving

I may be weak but I’m never defeated

And I’ll keep believing

In clouds with that sweet silver lining

 

Most Days I am trying to put on a brave face

But inside my bones are cold and my heart breaks

But all the while

Something is keeping me safe and alive

 

I won’t give up like this

I will be given strength

And now that I’ve found it

Nothing can take that away

 

Outward Journey: Survivor– Eye of the Tiger  

Return Journey: Azealia Banks – 212   

 

Extra Outward Journey Songs

Kings of Leon – Be Somebody

Kings of Leon – My Sex is on Fire

Levellers – What a Beautiful Day

Coldplay – Every Teardrop is a Waterfall

Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet

 

Extra Return Journey Songs

Sim Redmond Band – Life is Water

Israel – IZ – Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere over the Rainbow

Lenny Kravitz – Believe

The Rembrandts – I will be there for you

Kate Voegele – Sweet Silver Lining