99. Is That An X-Ray or A Gamma in Your Pocket?

SheHulk 2Another appointment at Guys hospital. It had changed a bit since I was last there. Many people were still wearing masks but the table with the security guard handing out the mandatory masks had gone. So had the many hand sanitisers dotted around the first floor. I have to admit even after my second tussle with the dreaded Vid a couple of months back I can count on one hand the last time I used a mask.

I had my first appointment with the radiologist. I initially thought that the appointment had been rescheduled as I got sent another one for November and another for December. That had meant that I didn’t get the obligatory PSA test beforehand. No matter we shall soldier on.

The consultant went over why we were here. He showed me an x-ray, which was the linguistic equivalent of trying to read a newspaper written in Klingon. It was a difficult surgery as the cancer was quite close to the nerves. When the prostate was removed, it would only take a few cancer cells to be left over for my PSA to eventually be on the rise again. Being no stranger to thresholds the consultant explained that the threshold for radiation therapy was 0.2. Much above that and it was no longer effective. As I have previously mentioned, unfortunately my PSA has been slowly but consistently on the rise. The last reading was 0.14 so had I not made the mix up with the appointments we would be closer to a decision.

I have already readied myself. It’s not a matter of if, but when with starting the radiation therapy.

He went into the list of side effects, much like a girlfriend leaving you for your hunkier brother but trying to break it softly. It even has a name: Salvage Post-Prostatectomy IMRT.

My stools may be a little different than normal; urine may be a different colour; tiredness, skin irritation; more frequent peeing and erectile dysfunction.

Nothing too worrying then. These effects are meant to be short term but that massive rabbit paw that follows me everywhere would probably be better off in the BBQ with some sweet chilli sauce. The main consolation off all this is that no-one has mentioned that swear word with a ‘h’ – hormone therapy.

I always thought the radiation treatment was just a couple of zaps over a couple of weeks.

As per usual, I got that very wrong.

It will only take 5 minutes but it’s 5 days a week for 5 or 6 weeks.

Gamma or X Rays? Well I won’t have the likelihood of becoming Bruce Banner or more accurately with my luck SheHulk.

How do I feel about it?

Well, it’s a bit of indifference at the moment. I am not worried, it does not get more drastic than the prostatectomy and this is not on the same level, so I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. I happened to bump into one of the guys that told me about their operation, weeks before I had mine. He asked me how my health was and I said I was fine but was looking at having to do a course in radiotherapy sooner rather than later. He said that he too had to have radiotherapy and that it wasn’t too bad. Everybody has different experiences, so I am not making too much of his comments.

What has concerned me even more recently was work coming up with their office to home working ratio. After nearly three years of being deliciously anti-social, saving a ton of money on travel and cheap homemade lunches, I have to re-join the rat race and come into the office at least 3 times a week.

Bar humbug!

I also had to inform work of the possibility of the radiation therapy. Now the consultant did state that it is an outpatient appointment, and I should be able to go back to work after the treatment. To be honest I am not very good at doing nothing, so I was happy to at least consider doing half days while the treatment is going on. Work however has said they expect me to take the time off completely and you know what I am not even going to argue.

The Hulk isn’t one to argue with either.

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