For the last few days I’ve been stuck in a smallish room in the Bristol Royal Infirmary being radioactive, in fact, I still am as I’ve been let out with some restrictions but lets go back to the beginning.
After my surgery to remove my cancerous lump in my neck there needed to be some mopping up done, so on Monday gone I went to the BRI to have an injection of radioactive iodine, or at least I thought that was what was going to happen. Before that though I turned up bag packed and laptop in tow at oncology where I was shown to my room in what is the Hotel Cancer ward.
That’s the room basically. Around 8-10 metres long and around 3-4 metres wide.
So once in and unpacked, up came what I thought would be an injection, but instead was a pill of radioactive iodine encased in this.
In that metal box was a lead canister which had a small but highly radioactive pill in it which I was to swallow. Then it’d get into my system and kill what cancerous bits and bobs the surgery couldn’t get it, basically it’s a mopping up exercise. Problem is that unlike when I was in hospital after my stroke or for my operation I couldn’t walk up and down the ward. I had to stay in my small room and I had warnings to ensure people kepts their space from my glowing irradiated body.
That’s a sign basically saying DANGER on the other side. On my door when it was closed I had these signs.
So I waited, and waited and waited. I was only supposed to be in one night, but I ended up staying two as my body was clinging onto the dose of radiation I’d taken, which was a great thing as it shows the treatment was working, whether it’s been effective is something I won’t find out yet, but it meant being in a small room in the BRI with a view of a car park, the toilet or the corridor from The Exorcist III.
I had to be monitored every few hours which meant lying on the bed under this.
That read my radiation which slowly dropped. The only way to make it drop quicker was to drink loads of water and take lots of showers so by last night I was almost pissing constantly while looking like a prune, so I felt a bit like the Queen Mother in her final years.
And there’s nothing exciting to report of my time receiving radio-iodine treatment. It was amazingly, stunningly, tediously boring. Few side effects bar dry eyes and touch of cystitis (which isn’t fun) but mainly endless, unending boredom that didn’t seem to ever end until this morning when finally I’d dropped to a low enough radiation level to be sent home. Though I do have restrictions. Can’t be near people on serious medication, sick or pregnant til I go back to the BRI on Friday where I have my radiation level read again, plus they take some blood and maybe other tissue samples. Then they see where I am, and then, maybe, possibly, I’m done. I may have my life back.